Stunning presentation aside, Cobb salad has all the markers of a powerhouse meal, including eggs, avocados, tomato, and lean chicken—we just had to do something about all that bacon and cheese.
We were sad to sacrifice bacon’s smoky flavour until we tried sauteing shiitake mushrooms with smoked paprika and chili powder. Now we had smokiness and even some umami meatiness without the saturated fat and preservatives. Using kale in place of romaine upped the nutritional ante, and radicchio contributed beautiful colour.
For the dressing, just a bit of blue cheese whisked with yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice provided the tangy blue cheese flavour we expected. We tossed some with our greens and drizzled the rest over our still-classic, yet mindfully updated, Cobb salad.
SUPER COBB SALAD
Start to finish: 45 minutes
8 ounces organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons expeller-pressed canola oil
10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
8 ounces kale, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (8 cups)
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup organic plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 small head radicchio (3 ounces), cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 hard-cooked large organic eggs, quartered
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to plate and let cool.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook until mushrooms have released their liquid, 4 to 6 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium-high. Stir in paprika, chili powder, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and cook until mushrooms are golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to second plate and let cool.
Place kale in large bowl and cover with warm tap water (110 F to 115 F). Swish kale around to remove grit. Let kale sit in warm water bath for 10 minutes. Remove kale from water and spin dry in salad spinner in multiple batches. Pat leaves dry with paper towels if still wet. Toss onion with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and set aside.
Whisk yogurt, blue cheese, garlic, remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in bowl until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss kale and radicchio with 1/2 cup dressing to coat. Transfer to serving platter and mound in even layer. Arrange cooled mushrooms, onion, eggs, avocado, and tomatoes in single, even rows over greens, leaving space at either end. Arrange half of chicken in each open space at ends of platter. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad. Serve.