Summer Cobb Salad with Coconut Bacon

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Summer is HERE! Wowee zowee it’s been a beautiful July filled with plenty of sunshine, swimming, fresh fruit, and family time. It’s also a very special feeling being in Canada for the whole spring-to-summer transition once again. It’s one of my favourite things, watching this little part of the world turn green and warm, for the lakes and rivers to invite us in, for the farmers’ markets to burst with local goodness, and for the long days to stretch into equally enchanted nights.

I don’t cook a whole lot this time of year – I like to keep my food really fresh, mostly raw and pretty light.  If I am turning the stove or oven on, it’s often to make staples that I can keep on hand in the fridge to amp up a salad or sandwich. Lentils, beans, and quinoa are some rotating essentials that I can add a bunch of fresh veggies to, or turn into a dip. I also love to have some coconut bacon from my second cookbook, Naturally Nourished, on hand to add awesome flavour and texture to something as basic as avocado toast.

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The inspiration for this salad came when I had just made a fresh batch of this magical stuff, and I was trying to come up with some alternative uses for it (besides the best B.L.T. ever) when I remembered another classic bacon meal: the Cobb Salad! If you live outside of North America, chances are you’re not familiar with this iconic dish, a texture-rich combination of chopped romaine, avocado, tomato, chives, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, and chicken. It’s a rich and protein-heavy “salad”, often smothered in a creamy blue cheese dressing. Whoa! Major. Needless to say, I knew that this was perfect makeover fodder, and I had everything I needed to get started.

To turn this indulgent dish into something just as delicious, but actually a salad, was relatively easy. First, I decided to turn up the green and add some spinach to the mix. This small addition delivers more iron, protein, vitamin C and folate. Instead of chicken, I pointed my garden arrow at peas, to add body and filling fiber. Cooked chickpeas, butter beans or French lentils would also work beautifully in their place. Watermelon radishes just came into season here, and it was a total no-brainer to add them to this version, since they add great crunch, delicious earthiness, and pink. Because pink! And of course I kept the avocado…duh.

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The Creamy Chive Dressing is such a win here. I created it in hopes of maintaining that rich and satisfying mouthfeel that blue cheese dressing lends to the classic Cobb, but without the cheese, cream, sour cream and mayo (I mean, holy cow). Instead I used hemp seeds, which are rich in Omega-3 fats, and protein to energize our summer bods. It’s tangy, a little garlic-y, and super fresh. And since my recipe makes more than enough for this salad, pour the rest over thickly sliced beefsteak tomatoes, grilled eggplant and zucchini, or fold it into cooked grains and greens.     

My version of Cobb Salad is more of a concept than a recipe – so feel free to play around a bit with what you have, in the amounts that you have. And if you’ve got some other salad-y things kicking around that would work here, toss them in! No rules, just a clean-out-the-fridge kinda deal. It’s summer. Let’s keep things easy and flowin’!

To say I’m obsessed with this salad is an understatement. It’s the perfect summer meal and has everything going on with its fresh, crunchy, garden-fresh veggies and greens, creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes, rich and smoky coconut bacon, smooth and tangy chive dressing, satisfying eggs, and if you don’t want to dive face first into that bowl right now I don’t think we’ll ever be friends ; )

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Show me your salad on Instagram: #mnrcobbsalad

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35 comments

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  2. Luzia

    Hi Sarah! Amazing recipe that‘ll be on the table very soon. Just out of curiosity and since I‘m slowly shifting towards a vegan diet rn.. : how come you eat eggs?
    All the best! X

  3. Caga

    Love this salad recipe, it looks delicious, gonna try it but I don’t think i’ll be getting all the the ingredients here at my location.

  4. Sarah

    What an amazing recipe, however I’ve never seen liquid smoke in the shops before. Do you think the coconut bacon would work without it?

    • Claire

      Hi Sarah,
      yes it does. It tastes incredible without the smoky flavour.

      I would like to take this oppotunity to thank Ms Britton for the great recipe that made my day.

  5. Julie

    Sarah-so excited to try this soon!

    What brand of coconut flakes do you use? When I’ve made coconut bacon in the past it’s been a bit soggy/limp, and I think it has to do with the fact that my coconut is too flimsy in the first place.

    Thanks for being awesome!
    -Julie

  6. Maegan

    Beautiful post! Word to the wise: if you make coconut bacon with finely shredded coconut it makes a fun sweet/salty finish for a creamy, Southern style banana pudding and is incredible on vanilla ice cream type desserts (maybe our blog author would suggest using it to top a super healthy date/banana smoothie with whipped coconut cream on top, LOL….

  7. Ellen Scott

    I have to tell that your cobb salad looks so beautiful, as a picture of a beautiful lake I ever seen in my trip to Asia. You inspire me and make me curious to try this recipe. Hope it would be beautiful like this

  8. Vera

    Hi Sarah!
    The salad looks just brilliant!!!! The prettiest salad I’ve ever seen!!! Wow!

    As I am from Europe, do you have some website to recommend (that delivers to EU) where I can buy watermelon radish seeds? I’ve never seen them in my country. I think it would be sacrilege to make this salad without this beauties, so hopefully next year 😉

  9. Fanny

    This salad looks amazing! I usually just use bacon since I am not vegetarian but this coconut bacon recipe intrigues me… I might just try it! Also, this might be a silly question but do you eat the pea pods as well as the peas themselves? I always threw them out! What a waste!

  10. cat

    Such a beautiful salad. What page is the coconut bacon on in your book? I can’t seem to find it and don’t know how I missed it on my first go through because it looks fantastic.

  11. Sarah

    Super yum! A little tip… my oven is generally cooler than most, but my coconut bacon burnt to a crisp at 250ºC in under 20 mins. So best to keep an eye on it, and modify according to your oven.

    • Sarah Britton

      Hey Sarah,

      Yikes! So sorry, this was my typo. I switched the C° and the F° in the directions! It’s now fixed, but apologies for burning your bacon! I hope you try again 😉

      xo, Sarah B

    • Sarah Britton

      Hey Michelle,

      That’s great! I hope it turned out well 😀
      And yes, thank you. I’ve made the correction now – appreciate you letting me know!

      Smiles,
      Sarah B

  12. Beatrice

    I am DROOLING over that coconut bacon, wow! And the part where you said you kept the avocado, that made me laugh, haha, of course you gotta have the avocado! Looks like the perfect summer dish 🙂

    Beatrice | The Bliss Bean

    • Sarah Britton

      Hi Beatrice,

      Haha, thanks 😉 Who would replace that?! I mean… 😉
      I hope you get to try the bacon! It’s AMAZING (ahem, if I do say so myself).

      xo, Sarah B

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    • Sarah Britton

      Hello Cristina!

      Mmmmm – thank you! I’m so happy to hear that 😀 I actually just made a batch for the week and really pleased with how it turned out…haha! I think it’s going to be on heavy rotation for a long time!

      Thanks for the sweet note. Happy cooking!
      xo, Sarah B

  14. Rebecca

    I’ve honestly never been into Cobb Salad, for all the heavy on protein and light on salad reasons you mentioned. But this is absolutely beautiful and a cobb salad I can get behind! LOVE the watermelon radish addition!

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