How Many Calories in a Cobb Salad?

Now that it's spring, it's time for salads: fresh, crisp, cool delicious salads. Order one with a side of iced tea and you've got yourself a refreshing, light, summer meal. But the thing about salads is this: You have to be careful. Salads can pack a real calorie punch if you overdo it on the ingredients; Things like cheese and dressing can wreak havoc on the best dieting intentions.

One of my favourite salads is a Cobb salad. Mmmmmm, tasty -- and it really hits the spot on a hot summer day. So I have to wonder about the good old Cobb salad. How many calories does it have? Fat? I really have no idea -- do you?

How many calories in a Southwestern Cobb Salad from Chilis?
  1. 550 cal
  2. 654 cal
  3. 802 cal
  4. 970 cal
The answer is 970 calories and 60g of fat! Yikes - that's not quite what you'd call a 'healthy' salad, huh? The ingredients don't look so bad: corn, black bean relish, iceberg lettuce, a hard-boiled egg, chicken. But there's a few ingredients in there that won't do you any favours, namely bacon, cheese and avocado ranch dressing. Plus the chicken is listed as 'crispy,' and you know what that means -- breaded and deep fried.

My suggestion? You can order this salad without cheese, with the chicken grilled and with the dressing on the side -- those changes will save you a few calories at least. But a better suggestion? Make your own.

Cobb Salad

A Healthier Version of the Authentic Cobb Salad Recipe

Grilled chicken, garbanzo beans, bacon and tomatoes are the stars of this Cobb salad recipe.

This Cobb salad recipe is a bit lighter and healthier than the original Cobb salad recipe. But it is prepared and served the same way: Each ingredient is diced finely and laid out in a long row on top of the greens.

This method not only makes for an attractive presentation, it makes the salad easier to eat, too. You can just pick everything up with a fork -- no unwieldy greens spilling out of your mouth, no oversized vegetables to cut at the table.

The authentic Cobb salad recipe calls for avocado, celery, grilled chicken, tomatoes, bacon, hard-boiled eggs and Roquefort cheese on top of a bed of mixed greens. This Cobb salad recipe uses garbanzo beans (chick peas) in place of the avocado and eggs. And instead of putting the cheese in the salad, it is crumbled into the dressing.

Who Invented the Cobb Salad?

As food legend has it, the Cobb salad was invented at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant by its owner, Bob Cobb, in 1937 (although some say it was the Brown Derby chef who created it for Cobb).

According to the story, Cobb was hungry for a midnight snack and went rooting around the kitchen of the Brown Derby for some ingredients. He found an avocado, lettuce, celery, tomatoes and bacon. He later added the grilled chicken, hard-boiled eggs, Roquefort and watercress.

He told famed promoter Sid Grauman (of Grauman's Chinese theater) about the salad, and Grauman asked to try it. It was love at first bite, and the salad ended up on the Brown Derby menu. Today, you can order an authentic Cobb salad at the Brown Derby restaurant in Disney World's MGM Theme Park.

Cobb Salad Recipe

  • 6 cups salad greens (such as Romaine, watercress, butter lettuce)
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 slices turkey bacon, cooked
  • 2 cups grilled chicken, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup Cobb salad dressing (recipe follows)
Cut salad greens into very fine pieces (smaller than bite-size). Place in a large salad bowl. Lay garbanzo beans in a long, lengthwise strip on top of the salad greens. Crumble the bacon and lay in a long, lengthwise strip next to the garbanzo beans. Repeat with the chicken, laying it next to the bacon, and the tomatoes. Serve the salad like this, tossing the dressing into the whole salad at the table.

Cobb Salad Dressing

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced finely
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
Whisk all ingredients, except blue cheese, together. Once the mixture is emulsified, stir in the blue cheese. Serve with Cobb salad.

Serves 6.

Per serving (including dressing): 516 calories, 43 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 55 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 20 g protein, 61% vitamin A, 40% vitamin C, 6% calcium, 12% iron

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