During the 1990s, salads were more of a drab, boring side dish that was always the same: iceberg lettuce, maybe some green pepper, tomato slices, and ranch dressing. Sound familiar? Well, that could also just be skewed from all the restaurants I remember dining in as a child. Salads never seemed to stand out and if they did, it was due to some extremely unhealthy ingredient that took over the entire flavor palette.
As I’ve cooked for my adult self, I’ve constantly been working on a salad that’s both exciting and satisfying. And that’s exactly how this take on a Cobb salad came about. I don’t care if I’m cooking for myself on a weeknight or planning a celebratory dinner, I go all in on this salad.
What is a Cobb salad?
Cobb salads are a classic. Usually, they have chopped lettuce, tomato, bacon, hardboiled egg, chicken, and a type of bleu cheese. Each restaurant and region has its own take on a Cobb. To make this more of a side salad to a large meal, I omit the chicken, which can easily be added back if it’s a full meal you’re looking for.
This Cobb is all about amping up the spring flavors:
- Butter lettuce is at its best in the spring, always crispy and almost sweet.
- Fresh green beans are cooked to just crisp-tender so they retain their crunch.
- Radishes provide great color and texture.
- Spring red onions are the first onions of the season that do not have an astringent overpowering flavor.
- Instead of heavier bleu cheese, bright and briny feta is crumbled on top.
What makes a creamy dressing healthier?
Greek yogurt is the hero of this dressing and the component that makes this dressing a healthier alternative. Oftentimes, in order to gain a creamy consistency for the dressing, a lot of mayonnaise or sour cream is required. Both ingredients are heavy on fat but also overpower the bright herb flavors. Instead, this dressing is truly a hybrid vinaigrette. Yogurt is mixed with vinegar, Dijon mustard, and olive oil to create the base. This combination gives a slightly creamy, but still light dressing.
To tie in the spring season, fresh dill and parsley provide a strong herbal flavor that complements the vegetables and feta in the salad. This dressing pulls the salad together by balancing out the flavors, marrying crisp textures with a bright flavor.
Watch how to make this spring Cobb salad:
Spring Cobb Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing
- 4 slices bacon
- 3 hardboiled eggs, sliced
- 2 small spring onions, thinly sliced
- 6 oz green beans, cleaned and trimmed
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 oz butter lettuce, washed and dry
- 2 oz ruffled red lettuce, washed and dry
- 5 oz radish, sliced
- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
For the dressing
- 3 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp champagne vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ oz fresh dill
- ½ oz fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned and crisp on both sides, 4-6 minutes. Remove the bacon and add the green beans and spring onion. Sauté until the beans are just crisp tender and the onions are slightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Remove the beans and onion and set aside.
- Tear lettuce onto a large platter and season with salt and pepper. Dress the lettuce with dressing to taste and toss to combine. Add the sliced radish, hardboiled egg, green beans, onions, crumbled bacon, and feta cheese. Dizzle with more dressing and serve immediately.
For the dressing
- In a large container, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Blend together using an immersion blender or countertop blender until smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning.