An Original Cobb Salad recipe with all the ingredients of the classic version, tender chicken breast, and a scrumptious homemade dressing!
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
An Original Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad Recipe
A main dish salad, and very filling I might add, the Original Cobb Salad recipe boasts all the hallmarks of the classic version while adding warm chicken breast, and the most scrumptious of homemade dressings! It’s definitely on the list of favorite salads in this house.
I’m taking the primary ingredients straight from the menu of the former Hollywood Brown Derby in Los Angeles, California! To bulk things up for my eaters, I’m adding boiled baby potatoes and chopped cucumber.
Now located inside the Disney Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World is the amazing Hollywood Brown Derby. Leave it to Disney to get this icon! My first taste of a traditional Cobb salad was here, and it was nothing short of life changing. NOT exaggerating…
Brown Derby was a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles, California started by Robert H. Cobb and Herbert K. Somborn, a former husband of film star Gloria Swanson in the 1920s.
The original Brown Derby restaurants (whimsical architecture shaped like a derby hat) had closed or had been converted to other uses by the 1980s. A Walt Disney brand-backed Brown Derby national franchising program revived the brand in the 21st century.
It is often incorrectly thought that the Brown Derby was a single restaurant rather than a chain, so there really is no ‘original’ Brown Derby Restaurant per se. Their menu, made an overnight sensation by Hollywood elites, survives today, their well-known Cobb salad ranked well above your run of the mill chef salad for starters.
Do You Have What’s Needed to Assemble the Original Cobb Salad Recipe? Check The List!
for the original Cobb salad
- crisp bacon
- hardboiled eggs
- boiled baby gold potatoes
- salted butter
- Romaine lettuce
- curly endive
- a large avocado
- cherry tomatoes
- Persian cucumber
- red onion
- Bleu cheese or Roquefort cheese
- fresh parsley
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts
for the original Cobb salad dressing
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- a fresh whole garlic clove
- olive oil
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
How This Recipe Came About…
When I said my first taste of the Cobb salad changed my life, I wasn’t joking. I was 8 years old, and at 8, salad isn’t really a ‘thing’ for a kid to count among her favorites.
My family were visiting Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. It was my mom’s turn to decide where we would go for lunch.
I remember not being terribly impressed when we were seated. A massively sized golden-hued room with caricature black and white drawings all over the walls. Not a Mickey Mouse in sight…
The place was cracking! And I mean to say cracking BUSY! By the time I raised my head from its sullen state at the lack of all-things-mouse, I realized my parents were literally already having the time of their lives.
Mom was accurately guessing all of the caricatures on the wall behind the banquet where we were seated, and dad was busy gasping at the sheer splendor of the room.
I can recount mom explaining to me that the restaurant had been scaled to be exacting of the Brown Derby’s that existed in Hollywood back in the day, and that the menu boasted original menu items to include an original recipe for a very famous salad.
SALAD! At Disney World…?
What Is the Difference Between a Chef and Cobb Salad?
According to the folks at Disney, who presumably researched before arriving at the decision to include this already famous Cobb salad on their menu, the Cobb was created using what was on hand. The “Bob Cobb” as it’s known, is a ‘little of this,’ and ‘a little of that’ including mixed lettuces and bitter greens, hard-boiled eggs, chopped cooked bacon, avocado, turkey or chicken, and Roquefort cheese crumbles.
It’s beautiful edible kitchen art that never disappoints. But why not just order a chef salad? I mean, aren’t they basically the same thing?
Nope…for the first reason stated just above in that a Cobb uses a mix of lettuces and bitter greens for its base. Also, fresh tomatoes and creamy avocado slices were never part of the original ensemble atop a chef salad, but you will find both on a Cobb.
So, slight differences but both salads by far, life changing for a child of 8 years who learned that she LOVED salad. For this reason alone, it’s okay to make it your own, or should I say, tailored to what you know your kids will eat. More on variations a bit farther below.
What Is Cobb Salad Dressing Made Of?
For real, this dressing is killer. I’m not going to tell you that it’s the original dressing off this American classic, but it’s soooo damn close.
The only thing is, make this dressing, or go with your dressing of choice. French dressing, blue cheese dressing, red wine vinegar and salad oil, or this fabulous Balsamic Dijon dressing…it’s your choice.
I say this because healthy eating means eating what works with allergies and food restrictions in mind. That said, the ingredients for this dressing do tend to work for most eaters.
It includes Balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, a single finely minced garlic clove, extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. I almost always serve bread with this just so I can mop up the remaining dressing.
Everything gets whirled up in the mini chef prep or food processor, so feel like you can pop the clove of garlic in whole without the added chore of peeling and chopping. I do like to assemble the dressing and refrigerate it and enjoy it the next day after the flavors have had a chance to mingle.
How To Make this Classic Cobb Salad Recipe?
Baby Gold Potatoes Instantly Make This an Entree Salad
You can omit these if you like, but I promise they add to the ‘fitness’ of this salad being an entree salad. Simply boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, then halve them.
I toss them in a tablespoon or so of salted butter and allow them to cool slightly. Arranged atop the platter, they offer that something extra, and I entirely look forward to the potatoes in this salad.
Begin With the Greens
Grab a large platter. Everything will be arranged on this platter, so make sure it’s what you want to serve this traditional salad on before you start.
Wash and dry a head of Romaine and half a head of curly endive, green tips and pale-yellow leaves only, stalks discarded. If you needed to in a pinch, half a head of iceberg lettuce can act as the stand-in for the Romaine.
Chop the lettuces or tear them apart by hand. This represents your mix of greens. Scatter them atop the platter.
Grill the Chicken
Sprinkle the raw chicken breast or breasts with Kosher salt and black pepper. Heat your outdoor grill to 350°F and spray a large sheet of heavy gauge aluminum foil with cooking spray.
Grill the chicken on each side for 3 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the largest part of the breast. The temperature must register 165°F internally when tested with an instant read thermometer to be fully cooked.
Use kitchen tongs to ‘wrap’ the chicken in the foil on which it just cooked and remove it from the heat. Bring the wrapped chicken indoors to rest while you chop and slice the ingredients.
Prepare The Ingredients for The Top of The Greens
Slice the hardboiled eggs in half and arrange at either end of the platter. Slice the chicken into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Arrange chicken and the halved and buttered potatoes on top of the greens. Follow with sliced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, thinly sliced onion, blue cheese crumbles, and crispy bacon in rows over salad.
Finish by sprinkling the finely chopped parsley over the salad. For the dressing, toss everything into a mini chef prep or small food processor and let it rip.
The dressing may be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use or used immediately.
What To Serve with This Classic Salad?
I’m pretty basic here because for me, the salad is an entree versus a side dish. It’s so seriously filling.
BUT…if I am preparing this with company in mind, I may offer additional.
Warm chicken cakes sprinkled with Feta cheese, warm zucchini fritters, or a good hunk of homemade bread with a compound butter. A cold tuna and olive plate would also go quite nicely and give things a Niçoise twist…
An Original Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad Recipe
- gas grill
- heavy gauge aluminum foil
- cooking spray
- Kitchen tongs
- instant-read thermometer
- chef's knife
- large platter
for the Original Cobb Salad
- 6 slices bacon cooked crisp and chopped
- 1 medium head Romaine lettuce washed, dried, and chopped
- 1/2 medium head curly endive washed, dried, torn green tips and pale-yellow leaves only; stalks discarded
- 2 large eggs hardboiled and halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes or baby gold potatoes; boiled until fork tender and halved lengthwise; combined with salted butter for flavor and cooled slightly
- 1 large avocado halved and sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 Persian cucumber halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-inch moons
- 1/2 cup red onion scored in an 'X' and very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Bleu cheese or Roquefort cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoons parsley fresh and finely chopped
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
for the Original Cobb Salad dressing
- 3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon parsley fresh, chopped
- pinch Kosher salt
- pinch black pepper
for the Original Cobb Salad
- Sprinkle the Kosher salt and black pepper all over the chicken breasts. Spray a large sheet of heavy gauge aluminum foil with cooking spray and light your gas grill. Allow the grill to heat sufficiently to at least 350°F before placing the prepared foil atop the heat, followed by the chicken breasts. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side and until an instant read thermometer registers the thickest part at 165°F. Use kitchen tongs to 'wrap' the chicken in the foil on which it just cooked and remove it from the heat. Bring the wrapped chicken indoors to rest while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Scrub the potatoes well. Do not peel. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes, then add to a large mixing bowl after halving them. Toss with the butter and allow to cool slightly.
- Wash and dry a head of Romaine and half a head of curly endive, green tips and pale-yellow leaves only, stalks discarded. Chop the lettuces or tear them apart by hand and scatter evenly atop a large platter.
- Slice the hardboiled eggs in half lengthwise and arrange at either end of the platter. Slice the chicken into 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange chicken on top of the greens. Add halves of the slightly cooled potatoes to the platter. Follow with sliced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, thinly sliced onion, blue cheese crumbles, and crispy bacon in rows over salad. Finish by sprinkling the finely chopped parsley over the salad.
for the Original Cobb Salad Dressing
- Add all ingredients to a mini chef prep or small food processor and blend for 1 minute to adequately break up the clove of garlic. The dressing may be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use or used immediately.
- Serve salad immediately with dressing passed tableside.
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