This Healthy Cobb Salad is a wonderfully satisfying meal featuring fresh lettuce, tender grilled chicken, savory hard-boiled eggs and so much more! It’s easy to make from scratch with countless customization possibilities! Keto and low-carb with vegetarian, paleo, dairy-free and Whole30 options.
Updated June 2023
Easy Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad Salad Recipe
Who doesn’t love a classic Cobb salad for lunch? This Chicken Cobb Salad recipe is a flavorful twist on the classic dish and makes a satisfying and wholesome meal.
Packed with tender chicken, crisp vegetables, creamy avocado, and tangy dressing, this salad is a delightful combination of flavors and textures that will leave you wanting more. From the crispy bacon to the creamy avocado, every bite is packed with a mouthwatering medley of flavors and textures.
The chicken is soaked in a simple lemon garlic marinade that pairs perfectly with the salad’s creamy apple cider vinaigrette. We like to cut up the veggies, cook the eggs, sauté the bacon and make the dressing while the chicken marinates, but you can easily use leftover chicken and prepare some of the other components a day ahead of time. This way, the salad will come together in a matter of minutes once you’re ready to eat!
What is a Cobb Salad?
A Cobb Salad is a popular American dish that originated in the 1930s. It typically consists of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, chicken, and blue cheese, all arranged in rows on a plate. Our version of the Cobb Salad incorporates some variations and modern additions to elevate the flavors.
Are Cobb Salads Healthy?
They are indeed. Cobb salads contain a ton of protein and fiber, plenty of healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals from the various ingredients used. Many main course salads require a side dish to make you feel full, but Cobb salads are great at satisfying hungry tummies with no sidekick needed.
While these classic American salads tend to be healthy across the board, some recipes rely heavily on sodium and saturated fat. This healthy chicken Cobb salad recipe steers clear of undesirable ingredients to give you the healthiest Cobb salad you could make without sacrificing any of the elements you love.
What You’ll Need
The ingredients listed below come together to form pure Cobb salad perfection. Scroll down to the recipe card for the exact amounts associated with each item.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: This lean protein source adds substance to the salad, keeping you feeling full and satisfied. Use a mallet to pound down any breasts or specific areas that are noticeably thicker than others.
- Garlic powder: Infusing the chicken with garlic powder elevates its taste, adding a delightful hint of flavor.
- Fresh lemon juice and olive oil: The marinade for the chicken not only enhances its taste but also keeps it moist and succulent during grilling.
- Avocados: Rich and creamy avocados provide healthy fats and a buttery texture that complements the salad perfectly.
- Mixed green lettuce: A nutritious base, packed with vitamins and minerals, that adds a refreshing crunch to the salad.
- Hard-boiled eggs: Adding protein and essential nutrients, eggs contribute to the salad’s richness and heartiness. We recommend making either Instant Pot Hard-Boiled Eggs or Air Fryer Hard Boiled Eggs. You’ll never boil eggs over the stove again!
- Bacon: Crispy, savory bacon bits add a burst of smoky flavor, making each bite unforgettable. We recommend making our Air Fryer Bacon or Oven Baked Bacon for easier clean-up.
- Grape or cherry tomatoes: Bursting with sweetness, these colorful gems bring a burst of freshness to the salad.
- Cucumber: Light and hydrating, cucumber slices balance the flavors and add a cool, refreshing element.
- Crumbled dairy-free feta: This optional ingredient adds a tangy, cheesy note, perfect for those with dietary restrictions. We like this particular brand but you can leave off the cheese altogether if you’re paleo or Whole30.
For the Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This provides a tangy flavor and a truckload of vital nutrients. Feel free to swap with red wine vinegary if you prefer a red wine vinaigrette with your cobb salad.
- Dairy-Free Sour Cream: We like the one from this brand which is completely vegan, paleo, keto-friendly and Whole30 but you can also swap this out for tahini, mashed avocado or regular if not following any particular diet.
- Garlic Powder
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Or avocado oil.
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
How to Make Cobb Salad
This hearty dinner salad is incredibly easy to make. Here’s a detailed guide to walk you through the process:
- Marinate Chicken: Pat the chicken dry, then season it with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place the seasoned chicken into a large zip-top bag and drizzle it with lemon juice and olive oil. Transfer the bag to the fridge and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and cook the marinated chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until its internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Let Rest: Remove the chicken from the grill and tent it with foil. Let it rest and cool for about 10 minutes, then slice or chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- Make Vinaigrette: Whisk together all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the dressing over the sliced avocado to prevent it from browning.
- Combine Ingredients & Enjoy! Add the lettuce to a large bowl, then top it with the cooked chicken, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, cooked bacon, tomatoes, cucumber and cheese. Drizzle on the dressing just before serving.
Can I Make This in Advance?
This salad recipe calls for pre-cooked eggs and bacon, but those aren’t the only components you can prep ahead of time.
Feel free to marinate the chicken overnight or even cook it the day before you plan to make your salad. The dressing can also be made a day in advance if you refrigerate it in a separate airtight container from the chicken. Finally, the mixed green lettuce can be washed and dried a day ahead of time and refrigerated in a resealable storage bag.
Tips for Success
Check out these handy tips and tricks before you whip up your Cobb chicken salad.
- The Marinating Time is Key: Be sure to let your chicken marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. This ensures great flavor and juiciness. I don’t suggest marinating it for longer than 12 hours, as the meat could go from tender to mushy.
- Don’t Forget to Check for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your chicken. Once the thickest area of each breast reaches 165°F, remove the meat from the grill.
- Let the Chicken Rest Before You Cut It: Do not cut up your chicken until the 10 minutes of resting time are up. This important step allows the liquids inside the meat to redistribute, ensuring juiciness in every bite.
- Add the Dressing Right Before Enjoying: After a while, the apple cider vinaigrette will cause the lettuce in your salad to wilt. We recommend adding the dressing to individual portions right before you serve them, especially if you expect to have leftovers.
Don’t hesitate to make changes to this healthy Cobb salad as you see fit. It’s super versatile!
- Switch Up the Greens: Got spinach in your garden or arugula hanging around in the fridge? You can use any greens of your choice in place of the lettuce. We like to mix and match!
- Turn It Into a Pasta Salad: This Chicken Cobb Pasta Salad is just as irresistible as the classic version. It brings rotini pasta into the mix and swaps the red wine vinaigrette for ranch dressing.
- Use Another Dressing: Speaking of ranch, there are plenty of other dressings you can pair with Cobb salad. Caesar dressing, Poppy Seed Dressing, or even balsamic dressing would be absolutely scrumptious.
- Ditch the Meats: Need a vegetarian version of this salad? Simply leave out the bacon and the chicken (as well as the seasonings used to flavor the chicken). Alternatively, you could omit the bacon and substitute the chicken for tofu.
- Make Salmon Cobb Salad: If you’re in the mood for a seafood twist, this Salmon Cobb Salad is calling your name. It’s easy to make with grilled, broiled or Air-Fried salmon and a tempting lemon tahini dressing.
While it would go well with all sorts of side dishes, this salad is honestly quite filling on its own. If you’re feeling particularly hungry, we highly recommend pairing it with a warm piece of Keto Bread topped with melty grass-fed butter. If you’d like to enjoy it alongside a refreshing drink, you can’t go wrong with any of these 5 Healthy Smoothies.
It’s best to build each serving as you go if you think you might end up with extra salad. This way, you can refrigerate each component in its own airtight container. The hard-boiled eggs and the dressing will last for up to 5 days, the bacon and chicken will last for up to 3 days, and the salad veggies should be used within 1-2 days.
We personally prefer a cold and refreshing salad, but you can heat up your chicken if you’d like. Simply pop it into the microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time until it’s warmed through. The bacon can be reheated the same way.
More Hearty Salad Recipes to Try
This Healthy Cobb Salad is a wonderfully satisfying meal featuring fresh lettuce, tender grilled chicken, savory hard-boiled eggs and so much more! It's easy to make from scratch with countless customization possibilities! Keto and low-carb with vegetarian, paleo, dairy-free and Whole30 options.
- 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to even thickness
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 avocados peeled pitted and cut into slices or chopped
- 4 cups mixed green lettuce chopped
- 3 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced
- 6 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cucumber sliced in rounds or chopped
- 1/2 cup crumbled dairy-free feta , we like Violife but you can also use regular (if no dietary restrictions) or leave out entirely for paleo & Whole 30)
- 3-4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons dairy-free sour cream , we like the one from this brand which is completely vegan, paleo, keto-friendly and Whole30 but you can also swap this out for tahini, mashed avocado or regular if not following any particular diet.
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- salt and pepper to taste
In a resealable zip-top bag, add chicken, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with fresh lemon and olive oil.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Remove the chicken from the grill and tent with foil. Let it rest and cool a bit for about 10 minutes and then slice or chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Drizzle 1 teaspoon over the sliced avocado (to prevent from browning).
In a large bowl, add the lettuce, then top with cooked chicken, eggs, avocado, bacon, tomatoes, cucumber, and cheese. Drizzle with dressing right before serving.
- To Store: Refrigerate each component in its own airtight container. The hard-boiled eggs and the dressing will last for up to 5 days, the bacon and chicken will last for up to 3 days, and the salad veggies should be used within 1-2.
- To Reheat: We personally prefer a cold and refreshing salad, but you can heat up your chicken if you'd like. Simply pop it into the microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time, until it's warmed through. The bacon can be reheated the same way.
Disclaimer: This updated post was generated on June 7, 2023 by ChatGPT, an AI language model, and all info should be reviewed and validated by a human for accuracy and relevancy before implementation.