Southwestern Cobb Salad (with Avocado-Cilantro Lime Dressing) Recipe

You must make this salad.  MUST!

It’s more fixings than salad, and more of a main course than a side dish. Especially if you add chopped up grilled chicken to it. Oooooh, think: tequila lime chicken…but that’s a recipe for another post.

Today we’re talking about a rainbow of chopped up veggies, shredded cheeses, avocados and, of course, lettuce.  This will be huge enough to feed a crowd.

I made this for my niece’s 1st birthday party where gluten was an issue for some of the guests and the salad and dressing were a total hit!  The cool thing about this dressing is that it is dairy free and it also works on top of grilled steak and chicken for fajitas, or any Tex-Mex menu.

First things first: cook your bacon. You only need 1 lb of thick cut bacon, but you better get 2 lbs since it’s impossible not to snack on pieces while you throw this together. Also, bacon thieves come out of the woodwork once the smell of bacon hits the air {…Joel…}.  I like to lay slices down on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 375° oven.  Once cooked, chop up and set aside.

While the bacon is baking, hard boil a few eggs. Maybe 3 or 4…or 4 or 5.  Truth be told, I have a hard time just hard boiling 2 or 3 eggs.  I like to boil at least 6 at a time, then eyeball how much looks good in the salad bowl then keep the rest in the fridge for snacks or 2nd breakfast.  There are a gazillion different ways to boil an egg. I go with the eggs in a saucepan of cold water, covering by an inch.  Set to boil on medium-high/high heat and let boil a few minutes. Cover with a lid, remove from heat and let “steep” for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and submerge in icy cold water.  Peel and chop 3-4 of them once cooled completely.

Now get your veggie chopping on.

  1. Halve a pint of grape or cherry tomatoes
  2. Seed and dice 1 red and 1 orange bell pepper
  3. Seed and dice 1-2 jalapeños
  4. Cut/remove kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn (can cheat here and use half of a can of corn, drained)
  5. Cut 2 avocados into cubes

Here’s my secret to take the flavor of this salad up a click: heat a tablespoon of butter in a cast iron pan and cook the corn and jalapeño together for about 5-6 minutes. Just to roast and char ’em up a bit.  Let cool to room temp, or cook the night before and bring to room temp before adding to the salad.

Grab some pre-shredded cheese, or finely grate your own. Use a Colby-Jack or cheddar-Jack combo. Both are mild flavored and, well, just pretty to look at!

So…This is a salad, right?  My personal favs for the greens behind these toppings are chopped romaine and handfuls of baby spinach. You could use baby romaine, pre-packaged mixed Italian blend, pretty much any greens you’d like. I would skip head lettuce though because there is zero nutritional value in it. And you need some goodness to offset this much bacon!  Throw your greens into a large bowl and toss to combine.

Now, top off with your fixings in pretty little rows and serve with Avocado Cilantro-Lime Dressing, tortilla strips (store-bought) and chopped up chicken (if using).
Enjoy!
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Southwestern Cobb Salad (with Avocado-Cilantro Lime Dressing) Recipe
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
Healthy, quick, easy LARGE salad to feed a crowd!
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of romaine, chopped
  • 2-3 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1-2 lbs thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 3-4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on how large they are
  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 1 each, red & orange bell pepper, diced
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed from the cob (or half of a can of corn, drained)
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup finely shredded cheddar-jack, colby-jack or pre-packed "Mexican Blend" cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (to cook the corn and jalapeno, if desired)
  • Store bought tortilla strips (in the salad toppings isle)
Instructions
  1. In a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet, heat a tablespoon of butter on medium-high heat. Add corn kernels and diced jalapeno and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until lightly charred.
  2. In a large bowl, toss chopped romaine and baby spinach making a bed of lettuces.
  3. Arrange toppings (corn & jalapeno mixture, bell peppers, tomatoes, egg, bacon and avocado) in neat little rows or triangular wedges atop the bed of lettuce and spinach.
  4. Line the edge with shredded cheese.
  5. Serve with Avocado Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Notes
Do your chopping and arranging while the bacon is cooking. The 25 minutes of prep time overlap the 25 minutes of 'cook' time so this recipe doesn't actually take more than 30 minutes to throw together.
Avocado Cilantro-Lime Dressing
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, larger stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • up to 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons agave, or more for a sweeter dressing (depending on how sour your limes are, or how sweet your tooth is)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Water, depending on desired consistency ~ you may not need any at all, you may need about 1-4 tablespoons.
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Throw all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor and pulse until combined.  Drizzle in olive oil slowly to emulsify.  Check the flavor and add water, olive oil and agave to consistency and sweetness desired.

~~~~~

Well, that was a ton of instructions for a very simple salad!  I’ll try to feature the chicken option in another post…

So tell me, what are your favorite variations and toppings to put on a cobb??  Doesn’t this salad feel healthy?  A great way to kick off those 2014 resolutions.  Just go easy on the bacon, my friends.

xoxo,

~p

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