Asparagus Cobb Salad

By Ann Fulton

Jump to recipe
Sure, you can make a regular Cobb salad, and it will taste great. But adding asparagus ramps up the color, nutritional value, and seasonal appeal. If you don’t usually have salads for dinner, this satisfying plateful might win you over. (Bonus recipes included!)

Sure, you can make a regular Cobb salad, and it will taste great. But adding asparagus ramps up the color, nutritional value, and seasonal appeal. If you don’t usually have salads for dinner, this satisfying plateful might win you over. (Bonus recipes included!)

 

 

Did you know that there’s an acronym to remember the traditional ingredients in a Cobb Salad?

EAT COBB:
Eggs
Avocado
Tomato

Chicken
Onion
Bacon
Blue Cheese

While the above ingredients are customary and the acronym may be helpful when grocery shopping, there’s also value in a recipe that can be easily modified to individual tastebuds and what you may, or may not, have on hand.

The classic Cobb salad scores high in flexibility and lends especially well to seasonal standouts like asparagus.

When I prepared this salad for a small gathering recently, everyone marveled at the overall flavor given the simplicity of the ingredients. The salad also strikes a satisfying balance of light yet filling.

Though you could serve it with a crusty roll or piece of cornbread (Southern with a Twist Cornbread is a favorite!), the salad alone will not leave you wanting.

Of course, when I tout the inherent flexibility of a recipe, it seems appropriate to offer some specifics, right?

Sure, you can make a regular Cobb salad, and it will taste great. But adding asparagus ramps up the color, nutritional value, and seasonal appeal. If you don’t usually have salads for dinner, this satisfying plateful might win you over. (Bonus recipes included!)

How can I customize this salad?

  • Roast, grill, or sear the asparagus in a skillet. The last time I made this salad, I actually cooked the spears in the air fryer. (Details are provided in the recipe.)
  • Similarly, a variety of cooking methods may be used for the chicken. Grill, roast, or sautéslow cook, or use a rotisserie chicken. As always, leftovers are fair game.
  • Of course, you could also use shrimp instead of chicken and bacon in place of prosciutto.
  • I love how the blue cheese plays with the prosciutto or bacon, but you could use feta if preferred.
  • While the meat does add flavor and filling protein, you could skip it entirely and include white beans or a favorite plant-based protein.
  • Don’t have sunflower seeds? Use another nut or seed of choice to supply welcome crunch—or add croutons. (If you have leftover bread on hand, I recommend Homemade Parmesan Croutons, which can even be made with gluten-free bread.)
  • Additionally, you could opt for a creamy dressing like ranch or blue cheese (Better-for-You Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and Greeked-Out Gorgonzola Dressing offer homemade options), but if you try the following vinaigrette, you may be surprised by how simple yet flavorful it is.
Simple Roasted Asparagus

Whether you choose the roast, sear, grill, or air fry method, quick-cooking asparagus adds a seasonal twist to this classic salad.

Basic pantry ingredients come together with ease in this versatile vinaigrette that it sure to become a refrigerator standby. 

Easy to make with basic pantry ingredients, this versatile red wine vinaigrette will flavor the Cobb salad and a variety of other salads beautifully.

Sure, you can make a regular Cobb salad, and it will taste great. But adding asparagus ramps up the color, nutritional value, and seasonal appeal. If you don’t usually have salads for dinner, this satisfying plateful might win you over. (Bonus recipes included!)

When it comes to plating, the recipe may be scaled up and assembled on a large platter when serving a bigger group buffet style; the platter will offer colorful visual appeal on any table. Alternately, the salad may be assembled on individual dinner plates or tossed altogether in a large bowl.

My favorite approach: Because the components look so pretty and I think the taste is enhanced when the greens are lightly but evenly coated with vinaigrette, I usually take a dual approach: toss the greens in a large bowl, pile them on the plate, and then build little piles of the remaining ingredients. This method also allows for omitting (or adding more of) various ingredients to accommodate individual diners. A final drizzle of vinaigrette ensures everything is well flavored.

Sure, you can make a regular Cobb salad, and it will taste great. But adding asparagus ramps up the color, nutritional value, and seasonal appeal. If you don’t usually have salads for dinner, this satisfying plateful might win you over. (Bonus recipes included!)

Southern with a Twist Cornbread (pictured in the upper, right corner) is naturally gluten-free and offers a nice extra to a variety of soups, salads, chilis, and more.

Need a tender, juicy, and quick chicken solution to add lean protein to a variety of meals? ⇩⇩
A simple spice rub enhances flavor and a few easy tricks ensure tender, juicy chicken in quick time!Along with the vinaigrette included in the recipe notes, I added a quick and easy method for baking flavorful, juicy chicken. A simple spice rub enhances flavor (if desired, you may prep the chicken in advance and let it marinate in the fridge), high heat allows for speed, and removing the chicken from the hot oven when it’s 10 degrees below the recommended internal temperature means the carry-over cooking will get it to the desired degree of doneness rather than over. 

As mentioned, your favorite basic chicken recipe or rotisserie may be used. Other recipes that pair well with Cobb salad include the following:

 

Asparagus Cobb Salad
Yield: 4 entrée servings (easy to scale up or down)
You can absolutely make this as a regular Cobb salad, but adding asparagus adds a hint of seasonal appeal. Beyond this choice, there is much flexibility within the recipe in terms of how you can prepare the components. I like to prep some of the ingredients ahead for easy assembly at dinnertime-and make enough for a repeat meal another day!
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces (or 1 nice bunch) asparagus
  • 4-6 cups spring greens or 1 large head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped (or a mix)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered (I like this easy peel method)
  • 12-16 ounces cooked chicken (or 2 medium to large boneless, skinless breasts), sliced, diced, or shredded (may grill, sauté, roast, or use rotisserie; easy baked option included below)
  • 6 slices bacon or prosciutto, cooked until crisp and crumbled*
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
  • ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives (could substitute ~¼ cup slivered red onion)
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe in notes)
Instructions
  1. For the asparagus: wash, dry, and snap off the tough ends. There are several cooking options here. For any of them, I very lightly coat with olive oil (olive oil spray works especially well for this) and season with salt and pepper. Oven method: roast in a 425℉ until tender. (This may take 4 minutes for pencil thin asparagus or up to 15 for thicker spears; check doneness with the tip of a sharp knife.) Stovetop: alternatively, you can sear/sauté the asparagus in a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat until tender. Grill: cook over medium-high heat until tender. Air fryer: cook at 400℉ for 7 minutes, give or take a few depending on thickness of spears. Again, with any of these methods, precise time will vary based on thickness of asparagus and desired level of doneness.
  2. Assemble the salad: add the greens to a large bowl, and drizzle with enough dressing to lightly coat. Toss well. Distribute the greens among plates or over a large platter. Then add asparagus, chicken, hard-boiled egg, bacon or prosciutto, avocado, tomatoes, blue cheese, and sunflower seeds.
  3. Lightly drizzle with additional dressing, and garnish with chives.
Notes, Shortcuts & Extra Recipes

*To cook prosciutto: you can cook prosciutto in a skillet, as you would bacon, until crisp. Or you can bake it on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 400℉ until crisp, about 10 minutes, give or take a few depending on how thinly the prosciutto is sliced. (Shortcut: I recently draped the prosciutto over the asparagus while roasting at 425℉ and it worked well. If you do this check early and be prepared to remove it early if cut paper thin-or to give it a few extra minutes beyond the asparagus if the asparagus is pencil thin.) Prosciutto also grills to crisp perfection in a flash. Cooked prosciutto will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the fridge. To re-crisp, gently heat in a skillet for a few minutes over medium heat or in a 325-350℉ oven.

*When opting for bacon, I often add the strips to the side of the baking sheet when roasting the chicken according to the method below. The timing is close, but it’s easy to remove the chicken and give the bacon an extra minute or two, or vice-versa, depending on size of the breasts and desired level of crispness for the bacon.

For the Red Wine Vinaigrette (yield: ¾ cup):
¼ cup (60ml) red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (30ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon (20g) honey
1 tablespoon (15g) Dijon mustard
⅓ cup (75ml) extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced (optional)

Add everything to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well.

Easy Baked Chicken: brush 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and then sprinkle evenly with a mixture of ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and freshly ground pepper.

Bake on a sprayed or parchment-lined baking sheet in an oven preheated to 425℉ until the center of chicken breasts registers 160℉ on an instant read thermometer, about 16 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving and slicing.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *