Here's a secret: a keto Cobb salad is basically the same thing as a classic Cobb salad. The biggest difference is in the dressing. A classic Cobb is typically served with a red wine vinaigrette. But this keto salad recipe uses my five-minute keto ranch dressing, made with healthy fats and whole ingredients. The second biggest difference is you have every excuse to load up on egg, avocado, and bacon-- no low-fat Cobbs here!
Summer is for salads and my absolute favorite is a Cobb. It has all the things a good salad should have: bacon, blue cheese (technically optional but, c'mon), fresh and crisp veggies, and grilled chicken, all smothered in a creamy ranch dressing that's full of flavor.
the ultimate keto salad recipe
In the world of salads, Cobb salads are typically known to be an unhealthy, high-calorie option. But when you're on a keto diet, those calories equate to healthy fats that your body uses for fuel! So, this Cobb recipe is naturally the ULTIMATE keto salad recipe, because it incorporates a good amount of fat, protein, and greens all in one serving.
what's in a Cobb salad?
keto Cobb salad ingredients
To make this Cobb, you'll need the following ingredients:
- chicken thighs (I prefer boneless/skinless because they cook quicker than bone-in thighs but you can choose either)
- coconut oil or avocado oil
- salt and pepper
- garlic powder
- Romaine lettuce or a Spring green mixture (for extra nutrients, you can opt for a leafy green like baby Kale or watercress)
- thick-cut bacon
- cherry tomatoes, sliced
- hard-boiled egg (did you know there are several different methods to boil an egg? I love this post by Savor the Best.)
- blue cheese crumbles (optional, omit if dairy-free)
- keto ranch dressing
- optional toppings like small sprigs of dill, dried dill, broccoli sprouts or chopped, fresh chives or scallions
let's make a keto Cobb salad!
This keto salad recipe is really simple to make! No fanciness required, despite what you might think. It's my salad go-to and I love the combination of flavors and textures. You can cook a lot of it ahead of time or have it going simultaneously while you prep the veggies. Multi-tasking will be your friend with this recipe. 🙂 I recommend making the ranch dressing in advance, but it's not necessary, and it's easy to whip together at the very end.
Here's how to make a keto Cobb salad:
- Cook the chicken and bacon. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of garlic powder, then pan-fry them for about five minutes on each side, or until they're browned. While that's going, pan-fry your bacon until it's crispy.
- Slice away. Chop the romaine lettuce, slice the tomatoes and avocado, and whatever else you're using (scallions, chives, dill, etc.)! Cut the hard-boiled eggs into wedges. Assemble it all on a large platter or in a salad bowl (see below for assembly tips!).
- Add the protein. Slice the chicken and roughly chop (or crumble) the bacon strips, then add them to your Cobb salad.
- Drizzle on the dressing goodness. If you need to make the ranch dressing, do so now. If it's already prepped, drizzle it on (or keep it on the side until you serve it). Or go with a hefty drizzle PLUS more on the side. 😉
pro tips for keto salads
- About the bacon. Go for a high-quality, thick-cut bacon. It'll crisp up nice and taste better than the thinner stuff, I promise.
- About the cheese. I love blue cheese. Swap it? Never. Gimme extra. But I realize it's a somewhat polarizing ingredient so if you're not a fan, throw in some shredded cheddar cheese or omit the cheese entirely for a dairy-free version.
- About the chicken. I'm partial to chicken thighs because they are more flavorful, contain more fat, and cook quicker than chicken breasts. But use what you like!
how to make a salad look nice
Okay, so this section isn't for everyone. If you're just ready to dig in to your keto Cobb salad, I suggest skipping ahead. But if you've ever struggled to make a salad look pretty, (and you're like me and actually care about these things), READ ON.
You know when you throw together a salad and it just sort of looks like what it is, a bowl of random, chopped ingredients? Did you know there are simple things you can do to make a salad look better than a bowl of random, chopped ingredients?
Pretty salad assembly is a true art form. I never thought I'd say that but I've never been more aware of this than now, after having to shoot appetizing photos of salads to go with my recipes. I remember reading this blog post on Cup of Jo a while back on how cutting/slicing your salad ingredients can make a world of difference. So I'm sharing a couple of tips that I hope will help, because it's always quite satisfying to place a lovely bowl of salad on the table, no matter the occasion.
- Slice, don't chop. And by that I mean slice the cherry tomatoes lengthwise, instead of chopping them in half. Cut the avocado into long slices instead of cubes. Slice the egg into wedges instead of small, messy bits.
- Slice on the bias. For thin ingredients, like scallions or even chives, slice in a diagonal direction. It gives it a more interesting shape.
- Arrange, don't toss. Please resist the urge to toss everything together in the bowl! Instead, arrange the ingredients in sections, i.e. a section of avocado slices, a section of blue cheese crumbles, a section of tomatoes. You can have more than one group of each ingredient, but this simple trick will keep your salad from looking meh and really lets each ingredient stand out.
- Herbs is where it's at. Herbs add texture and interest and an extra element of freshness to the salad. A few sprigs of fresh dill or fennel fronds or some chopped parsley or chives will go a long way and add some nice flavor. If you don't have them on hand, use a sprinkle of dried herbs, like the dried dill I used in the image below. Now imagine the photo without the flecks of dried dill. A bit boring, right?
So whether you're actually taking photos of your food or you just like pretty things, I know these tips will give your salad that extra WOW factor. You might as well make it look as amazing as it tastes. 🙂
Happy salad season!
you might also love...
- Grilled shrimp skewers with basil avocado dressing! Shrimp and vegetable kebabs are grilled and served with a light, pesto-inspired avocado sauce that also works as a dip or spread.
- Keto broccoli salad with bacon and maple dressing is a salad full of flavor and texture! Crunchy broccoli and bacon, juicy blueberries, and a sweet maple dressing (keto-friendly!) are an unbeatable combo.
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or coconut oil
- 1 to 1-½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 5 pieces of bacon, thick-cut
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped (about 5-6 cups)
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 5-minute keto ranch dressing
- chopped chives, dill, or green onions for garnish (optional)
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place them in the pan and cook each side for about 5-7 minutes, or until browned. Set aside cooked chicken on a plate lined with paper towels to cool.
- While the chicken is cooking, fry the bacon until the slices are crisp. When it's cool enough to handle, crumble the bacon (or roughly chop it) into large bits.
- In a large bowl, arrange the romaine lettuce, then sections of the sliced cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, boiled egg wedges, and bacon pieces. Slice the cooled chicken and place on top of the romaine.
- Serve with keto ranch dressing and optional chives, green onions, or dill.
If you use bone-in chicken thighs or chicken breast, the chicken will need to cook longer.
Nutritional information below includes an estimate for one serving of salad plus one serving of keto ranch dressing.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 602Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 259mgSodium: 786mgCarbohydrates: 6gNet Carbohydrates: 3gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 32g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.