Hearty Cobb Salad Without Blue Cheese

Cobb Salad
A hearty Cobb Salad without blue cheese is an easy weeknight meal. It's packed with all your favorite Cobb ingredients!

There are so many polarizing flavors in food. Some people love Cilantro, others say it tastes like soap. Blue cheese is no exception and I am here to stand with those who are not a fan. This cobb salad without blue cheese recipe redefined for my family what a cobb salad could be and we aren’t looking back at the traditional way.

Cobb Salad without blue cheese

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What is a Cobb Salad and Why is it Called That?

A cobb salad consists of green leaf lettuce, red onion, avocado, grilled chicken, cheese (blue but we are substituting feta), tomatoes, bacon, and hard-boiled eggs (we like them soft-boiled). It is often served with a red wine vinaigrette, but we prefer a balsamic vinaigrette or even a balsamic glaze.

Cobb Salad ingredients

A restauranteur in Holywood California in the 1930s by the name of Bob Cobb created the salad and it is humbly reproduced in restaurants and homes across the world to this day bearing his name. Thanks, Bob!

Cooking Directions

The beauty of the cobb salad without blue cheese for me is I generally have all of the ingredients on hand, it’s seriously delicious and quite filling, and I can have this visually stunning meal ready in 40 minutes.

Let’s look at the steps to make a Cobb salad without blue cheese.

Cook the Bacon

In a pan over medium-high heat, place the slices of bacon along with a couple tablespoons of water. The water will heat up and begin to boil slowing down the cooking of the bacon, helping to facilitate the rendering of some of the bacon fat. Once the water has evaporated, the bacon will have its own fat to cook in and you will be less prone to burning, and the result will be evenly cooked and crispy!

Cobb Salad bacon cooked

Once the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve the rendered fat because we will use some of that for cooking the chicken in the next step.

Cook the Chicken for the Cobb Salad

Remove the fat from the pan used to cook the bacon but reserve 2 tablespoons of it and pour that back into the pan.

Place the chicken breasts in a sealed plastic bag and use a meat mallet or the bottom of a sturdy pan to pound the chicken. The goal is to flatten the chicken into an even thickness so that your cooking time is uniform and all chicken will be cooked evenly. By doing this important step, we are reducing our chances of having overcooked and dry chicken.

Generously season the top of the chicken with salt and pepper, then place the chicken seasoned side down in the pan with hot bacon fat over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes, you will notice that the sides of the chicken will be white and if you peek at the bottom of the chicken, you should have a nice light browned crust forming.

Flip the chicken over and let it cook for 5-7 minutes on the other side. After it has cooked for several minutes you can check the internal temperature with an instant-read probe thermometer. Once it has reached 135°F internal temperature, add a sprig of thyme, 2 smashed garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoons of butter.

Cobb Salad chicken cooked in pan

Tilt the pan toward yourself so that the butter pools near the handle of the pan and begin basting the chicken with a large spoon. Ladle the fragrant butter over the chicken breasts infusing the garlic and thyme flavors into the chicken.

Once the internal temperature of the chicken breasts reaches 155°F on an instant-read thermometer, remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest on a cutting board.

Boil the Eggs

Place a pot of water on your stove to boil. Once it is a low rolling boil, gently place your eggs into the water with a slotted spoon. Set a timer for 8 minutes which will give you soft-boiled eggs. The egg whites should be set, but the yolk will be a custard consistency. If you prefer a firmer yolk, try adding 30 seconds to the cooking time. If you prefer a hard-boiled egg, you will want to boil the eggs for 11 minutes.

Cobb Salad - Boiled Eggs

Prepare an ice bath for the eggs. Once they are done cooking, gently remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and let them rest in the ice bath for 5-10 minutes.

Prepare the Ingredients for the Cobb Salad Without Blue Cheese

Now that we have our ingredients cooked, it’s time to prepare the rest of the cold ingredients.

Lettuce

For me, Romaine lettuce is the clear choice here for its crisp texture and bright flavor. Chop the bottoms off of your head of romaine. Cut them in quarters lengthwise, then chop the salad into bite-sized pieces. I like to quarter a large head and then make cuts every inch or inch and a half.

Toss your chopped-up lettuce into a salad spinner basket and give it a rinse, or if you don’t have a salad spinner rinse it in a bowl and drain it. Then place the lettuce in a clean dish towel and like a rock into a sling go outside and spin it. Just don’t let go, we aren’t slaying Goliath, we are making a Cobb.

Red Onion

Cut the red onion in half through the root, splitting it into 2 even parts. Now take one of the halves and peel back the paper and outer layers to reveal the juicy fresh inner layers. Cut the onion into thin slices that should resemble a rainbow with its layers. You only need about 1/4 of an onion for this salad, so reserve the other parts of the onion for another meal. Feel free to rough chop the onion smaller if you like, I usually just cut each rainbow shape in half which gives you a range of pieces from 1/2 inch up to 2 inches which is perfect.

Tomatoes

Depending on the size of the tomatoes you have, you can choose to leave them whole, halve them, or even quarter them. For best results choose sweet tomatoes that are smaller and bright red. We grow tomatoes and let me tell you, it was a real pleasure to use them in this salad. Fresh-picked and homegrown tomatoes are like nature’s candy.

Avocado

Cut the avocado in half guiding your knife around the pit in the middle. Remove the pit from the side it chooses to stay with then divide each half into half again making quarters. Separate the flesh from the skin of the avocado with a spoon and cut the flesh into pieces appropriately sized for the salad.

Bacon

Crumble it with your hand or run your knife through it forming larger pieces. Is there a wrong way to do bacon?

Feta Cheese

Take the large chunk of feta out of its brine and remove a 4-ounce piece. Cut this piece of feta into 4 equal sticks then cut those sticks diagonal cut into triangles. This is the traditional way to serve feta.

Soft Boiled Eggs

Crack your soft-boiled eggs on a flat surface and peel off the shell. Cut the egg into quarters with a sharp knife. If you went for a soft-boiled egg hold the egg firmly with your off hand pinching it together while you slide your knife through it. This will help to keep the yolk from jumping out onto your cutting board.

Chicken

By this time your chicken should have had plenty of time to rest. Take one breast and slice it across the grain of the meat into thick slices. Cut those thick slices into cubes. They should be a similar size to the rest of your ingredients. With how robust this salad is, my family of 4 only eats one of the breasts. Store the other breast in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s lunch of quesadillas, or chicken tacos, or slice it real thin and make a deli sandwich from it.

Build the Salad

In your salad bowl place the romaine lettuce. In beautiful, organized, well-thought-out lines, lay all of the ingredients just so.

Cobb Salad

What is the Traditional Dressing for a Cobb Salad?

No salad is complete without dressing, and the Cobb can be found with a myriad of dressings. Traditionally it was served with a red wine vinaigrette, but today you will find it served with creamy dressings like blue cheese, ranch, or even Caesar, or more traditional vinaigrettes like balsamic or Italian dressing. Because we are making a Cobb Salad without blue cheese, let’s grab your favorite vinaigrette or creamy ranch and enjoy! Bon Appetite!

Cobb Salad

Hearty Cobb Salad Without Blue Cheese

5 from 1 vote
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 people
A hearty Cobb Salad without blue cheese is an easy weeknight meal. It's packed with all your favorite Cobb ingredients!

Ingredients
 

Chicken Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 tbsp butter

Salad Ingredients

  • 5 bacon slices
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 eggs soft or hard-boiled
  • ¼ red onion
  • 4 oz feta cheese (traditional chunk in brine)
  • 2 romaine lettuce heads
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes

Instructions

Cook the Bacon

  • In a pan, add ¼ cup of water and the bacon slices. Place the pan over medium-high heat until the water has evaporated and one side of the bacon has begun to brown. Flip the bacon and continue cooking until desired doneness.
  • Set the bacon aside on a paper towel-lined plate and keep the pan because we will use it to cook the chicken.

Cook the Chicken

  • Flatten the chicken breasts in a sealed plastic bag with a meat mallet or the bottom of a pan. You want the chicken to be an even thickness. Season the top of the chicken with salt and pepper generously.
  • Drain off some of the bacon fat so that about 2 tablespoons remain in the pan. Over medium-high heat cook the chicken first on the seasoned side for 5-7 minutes then flip and cook on the other side for another 5-7 minutes. Once the internal temperature reaches 135°F, add 2 crushed garlic cloves, the sprig of thyme, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Tilt the pan and baste the chicken with a serving spoon until done. Once it has reached 155°F internal temperature, remove the chicken from the pan and rest.

Boil the Eggs

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. With a slotted spoon, gently submerge the eggs in the boiling water and set a timer for 8 minutes. While they are cooking prepare an ice bath for them. After 8 minutes of cooking, promptly remove them from the hot water and place them in the ice bath for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs and quarter them.

Prepare the Salad Ingredients

  • Wash and cut the heads of romaine lettuce the way you prefer.
  • Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters
  • Cut the red onion in half, slicing through the root, then peel off the outer papery bits exposing the juicy fresh onion beneath. Cut a few onion rainbow-shaped pieces. Cut these rainbows as large or small as you like. I cut them in half.
  • Dice up the bacon into large bits.
  • Remove the traditional feta cheese chunk from its brine and cut it into small triangles.
  • Cut the avocado into quarters then separate the skin from the flesh with a spoon. Cut the quarters of avocado into small bite-sized pieces.

Build the Cobb Salad

  • In a large bowl place your washed and drained romaine lettuce.
  • On top of the romaine, place all of the ingredients we have prepared. Feel free to toss the salad, or, for presentation's sake, make neat lines of ingredients.
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Notes

Traditional Cobb Salad has blue cheese and red wine vinaigrette dressing.  The reason I make my Cobb this way is my kids and I don’t really love blue cheese.  Feta makes an excellent stand-in cheese for this robust salad but now we are left with a choice.  What kind of dressing do we use?  A simple ranch dressing would be great, but I personally like keep to tradition on this one and use a Vinaigrette.  

Nutrition

Calories: 541kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 294mg | Sodium: 755mg | Potassium: 1129mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2867IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 201mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, salad

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