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Craving a Chick-fil-A salad, but you don’t live close enough to pick one up? Make your own copycat Cobb salad! We have recreated this famous recipe and have all the textures, colors, and tastes you have grown to love in the original.
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Chick-fil-A is a popular fast food chain in the United States that prides itself on its chicken, so if you don’t want a sandwich, order one of their salads. The Cobb salad is their best selling one, and appeals to customers who want more of a savory taste. In contrast, the CFA market salad appeals to guests that crave the sweetness of fruit and candied nuts.
To make this salad a bit more healthy, we choose to use grilled chicken nuggets instead of breaded and deep fried nuggets. This restaurant also provides a separate package of charred tomato crispy red bell peppers, which we decided to leave off, as it adds 80 more calories.
- Salad Greens: romaine lettuce 80%, spring mix 20%. We used a 50-50 mix for improved texture.
- Vegetables: shredded green cabbage, roasted corn kernels, grape tomatoes
- Cheese: Monterey jack and extra sharp cheddar
- Protein: grilled chicken nuggets, crumbled bacon, sliced boiled egg
- Dressing: avocado lime ranch
Is this salad healthy?
To make our version healthier, we used grilled chicken instead of fried. A 2 1/2 cup serving size has 639 calories, 17.1g carbs, 40g fat, and 52g protein. Our calories are more than CFA’s because we added more cabbage, bacon, cheese, egg, and corn.
If you want to lower the fat, put on half an egg and leave off the cheese and dressing. If you want to lower the cholesterol, remove the yolk from the cooked egg and chop up the white part.
How much does it cost at the restaurant?
A Cobb salad with chicken is $7.99, and without the meat it’s $2.00 cheaper.
What dressings are paired with the Cobb salad?
Each CFA salad has two dressings: one indulgent and the other more healthy. The indulgent avocado lime ranch dressing is the one we choose to make, as it is the more popular choice. The other dressing is honey mustard.
How many chicken nuggets are on this recipe?
CFA usually puts 8 to 9 nuggets (140g) on each salad, so we also tried to put on 9 large grilled nuggets.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes, you certainly can. For maximum freshness, each ingredient can be stored separately and assembled just before eating. The chicken tastes best if it sits in the brine for at least 6 hours or overnight, so it’s perfect for people who like to plan ahead. This recipe is also wonderful for meal prep. Make it on a Sunday and you’ll be good for the rest of week.
How can I store this?
The salad dressing is best stored in an airtight container, like a small mason jar with a lid, and refrigerated for up to 5 days. The grilled chicken nuggets can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The other salad ingredients (crumbled bacon, hard boiled eggs, cheese, roasted corn kernels, and grape tomatoes) are best if stored separately to maintain freshness, color and texture.
Feel free to mix the romaine lettuce, spring mix and red cabbage together before storing. These salad ingredients should also keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
What I can serve with this recipe?
If you want to serve this Chick-fil-A style, enjoy it alongside a tall glass of sweet tea or freshly squeezed lemonade. For dessert, serve it with a large chunk chocolate cookie, or one of their famous milkshakes. We have copycat versions of the Frosted Sunrise and the Frozen Lemonade, which both have vanilla ice cream.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for the brine and spice rub.
Place one chicken breast in a freezer zip-top bag and pound thin with a meat mallet.
Whisk together the dill pickle juice and the whole milk for the brine.
Pour the brine into the bag and zip it shut.
Make sure the brine covers the chicken, then place on a plate and refrigerate for 6 hours to overnight.
Mix together the powdered sugar and the fresh lemon zest, then add the dried spices to make the spice rub.
Mix together with a spoon and place in a small mason jar, cover, and refrigerate.
Gather the ingredients for the avocado lime ranch dressing.
Place the avocado and mayo in a food processor.
Next, add the acids: buttermilk, distilled vinegar, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
Now add the dried spices. Put the lid on the food processor and blend until smooth.
With the top of the food processor on and the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil through the opening at the top.
Taste and adjust seasonings. You’ll want to add some water for thinning.
This recipe make almost 2 cups. (The photo shows a different amount because we ate some during our taste testing.) Cover it and store in the fridge until ready to use. For longer storage, transfer to a small mason jar and tightly screw a lid on. This should keep for up to 5 days.
Take out the chicken 30 minutes before you want to grill it so it can warm up a bit. Blot both sides with a paper towel to remove the extra moisture.
Sprinkle on the spice rub, then rub it in. Make sure to use all of the rub, and rub both sides of the chicken.
In a cast iron grill pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Carefully place the chicken in the pan and cook for one minute. Reduce the temperature to medium low and cook for another 4 minutes. Flip only once to get the best sear marks. Cook for 4 minutes on the other side.
Transfer to a plate and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Repeat the cooking and tenting process with the second chicken breast.
After the grilled chicken breasts have rested, you’ll see the juice coming out. Keep that to pour back onto the meat once it’s cut.
Cut each chicken breast into large nuggets.
Once the meat is cut, pour the juices over top to benefit from all that additional yummy flavor.
For the salad, wash, dry and remove the ribs from the romaine lettuce, then cut into strips and again into bite sized pieces.
In a large cast iron skillet, cook the bacon until golden brown, then transfer to a plate and blot the excess fat off with a paper towel.
While the bacon is sizzling, boil up 8 eggs and cook for 9 minutes, then plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Allow the eggs to cool, then peel, rinse, blot dry, and slice. Hint: eggs slice better when cold.
In a small cast iron skillet, roast fresh or frozen corn kernels over medium high heat until charred or golden brown, roughly 6 to 9 minutes.
Gather all the ingredients for the Cobb salad: a bowl of salad greens, avocado lime ranch dressing, hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken nuggets, red cabbage, cheese, crumbled bacon, roasted corn, and grape tomatoes.
Get a salad bowl and start with the base: romaine lettuce mixed with spring mix and red cabbage.
Add the Monterey jack, extra sharp cheese, and the roasted corn kernels.
Add the crumbled bacon, sliced hard boiled eggs, and the grape tomatoes, then add 8 to 9 grilled chicken nuggets in the center.
Drizzle with avocado lime ranch dressing when ready to eat, and enjoy!
- Vegan: omit the chicken and bacon. Use vegan cheese for the salad and vegan mayo in the dressing.
- Keto Friendly: leave out the white sugar, powdered sugar, and the corn.
- Can’t eat lettuce? Try kale and Swiss chard instead of romaine and spring mix.
- Take the time to taste the dressing and adjust the amount of acidity (buttermilk, vinegar and lime juice).
- Let the chicken sit in the brine at least 6 hours, or to up to 24 hours.
- Don’t skip the freshly grated lemon zest in the spice rub.
- For maximum freshness, assemble the salad just before eating.
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Copycat Chick-fil-A Cobb salad is a healthy DIY recipe that’s meal prep and keto friendly. Learn how to make CFA’s most popular salad in the convenience of your own home. This protein packed recipe includes the avocado lime ranch dressing and the brine and seasoning for the chicken.
Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing
- 2 ripe Haas avocados, mashed (220g)
- 1/2 cup mayo (110g)
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar (60 ml)
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk (45 ml)
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (45 ml)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (leave out for keto)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (30 ml)
- 1 tablespoon water, to thin (15 ml)
Grilled Chicken Nuggets
- 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
- 1/2 cup pickle juice (120 ml)
- 1/4 cup whole milk (60 ml)
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (18g; leave out for keto)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (30 ml)
- 5 cups romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped (146g)
- 5 cups spring mix (96g)
- 1 cup red or green cabbage, shredded (66g)
- 1/2 cup monterey jack, grated (40g)
- 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar, grated (40g)
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (7 ml)
- 1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels (50g; leave out for keto)
- 5 slices bacon, crumbled (45g)
- 8 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
- 16 grape tomatoes, rinsed
- 2 large chicken breasts, grilled and cut into nuggets (400g)
- 1/2 cup avocado lime dressing (120 ml)
Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing
- Place all the dressing ingredients (except the olive oil) into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- With the processor running, slowly drizzle the extra virgin olive oil into the dressing.
- Thin the dressing with a little water, then taste and adjust seasonings. Add a bit more acid (vinegar, buttermilk, or lemon juice) if necessary.
- Use a spatula to help remove the dressing from the food processor and pour into a bowl or jar. Cover and refrigerate.
Grilled Chicken Nuggets
- Place a large boneless skinless chicken breast in a gallon freezer zip-top bag. Pound the chicken thin with a meat mallet. Repeat the process with the other chicken breast, then put both of them back into the bag.
- Make the brine by whisking together the pickle juice and milk. Pour it into the zip-top bag, seal, and refrigerate the chicken for 6 hours or up to overnight.
- Make the seasoning by mixing together the dried spices and lemon zest. Transfer to a mason jar, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before grilling. Place each breast on a plate and blot off extra brine with a paper towel. Sprinkle all of the seasoning on both sides of each chicken breast.
- Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron grill pan, and set over medium high heat until it’s shimmering. Carefully add the chicken breast and cook for one minute, then lower the heat to medium low and cook for another 4 minutes. Turn the meat with a metal spatula and cook the other side for 4 to 5 minutes. It is done when the meat has an internal temperature of 165 F with a meat thermometer.
- When done, place the meat on a plate and tent with foil or wax paper for 10 minutes. Repeat the process with the other chicken breast. Allow to cool, and then cut into large nuggets. Pour any plate drippings on the nuggets.
- Cook the bacon in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. After one minute, turn the heat down to medium low and cook until brown and crispy, flipping the bacon with a fork. When it’s done, drain on a paper towel lined plate and blot the extra grease off. Allow to cool, then crumble into 1/4-inch pieces.
- While the bacon is cooking, fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Use a spoon to slowly lower 8 eggs into the water. Reduce the heat to medium low and put the lid askew. Cook for 9 minutes, drain the water out of the pot, then submerge the eggs into an ice water bath to halt the cooking process. When the eggs are cool, peel and slice. (Tip: Eggs slice better when they’re cold.)
- When the bacon and eggs are cooking, start roasting the corn kernels. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil into a small cast iron skillet set over medium high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the corn. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. The kernels are done when browned or charred to your liking.
- In a very large bowl, mix the romaine and spring mix together.
- To assemble the salad, place 2 1/4 cups of greens on each plate, then sprinkle on the red cabbage.
- Sprinkle on the two cheeses and the roasted corn kernels.
- Next add the bacon, sliced egg, and grape tomatoes, then finish it off with 8 to 9 grilled chicken nuggets.
- When ready to eat, pour on the avocado lime dressing and enjoy immediately.
- Total time does not include time for the meat to brine.
- Taste the dressing and adjust for acidity. CFA’s is really acidic.
- Brine the chicken for at least 6 hours to up to 24 hours.
- In the spice rub, don’t leave out the freshly grated lemon zest.
- Assemble the salad just before eating, for maximum freshness.
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: recipe, keto, salad dressing