Southwestern Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

In my opinion, salad is delicious in all it’s forms (ok, except for those crazy grated carrot/raisin salads…not so much a fan of that salad variety, sorry to say). But sometimes it’s a challenge to find a salad that is delicious and filling enough to serve as a main dish for company or for a nice-ish family dinner.

This remarkable salad absolutely fits the bill for a hearty, delicious, healthy salad that could easily be served to entertain with or to feed to your ravenous everyday dinner “guests” (a.k.a. children). My husband summed up this salad perfectly when he said it was the best salad he’d ever eaten because every bite offered something different. There is a lot going on in this salad and that is a good thing! You’ve got your crisp, fresh romaine lettuce, but it is smothered in concoctions filled with yellow peppers, tomatoes, avocados, olives, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, and tender, flavorful chicken. It is downright amazing. I’ll admit, you use about 42 bowls to throw everything together, but it is well worth it, I promise.

And don’t even get me started on the dressing. The name alone is worth making it. It is divine. Creamy, bright, fresh, full of fantastic herbs and flavors, this dressing complimented the southwestern flavors of the salad perfectly.

Come to think of it, I might be willing to eat a helping of that carrot/raisin salad if I could slather this other-worldly dressing all over it.

Cobb Salad

What To ServeThis really is a complete meal on it’s own, but throw in a Fruit Smoothie or some Fresh Fruit and Honey Yogurt Dip and you have yourself a healthy weeknight meal.

Southwestern Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Yield: Serves 6-8 as a main dish

Southwestern Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing


    Chicken Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Black Bean Salsa:
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 sweet onion (I used vidalia), diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Yellow Pepper Salsa:
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded, and diced
  • 1 tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can large olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion (I used vidalia), diced
  • Avocado Salsa:
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Toppings:
  • 4-5 large eggs
  • 6-8 slices thick-cut bacon (I used turkey bacon – it was delicious)
  • 1 medium head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into 1-inch pieces
  • Green Goddess Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bunch chives, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup)
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, cut into thick chunks
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. For the chicken marinade, in a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and red pepper flakes. Place the chicken breasts in a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Close the bag and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
  2. Heat a grill to medium-high heat (an indoor grill pan or skillet could be used also). Grill the chicken until it is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per side. Cool the chicken completely then cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.
  3. Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let the eggs sit for 13 minutes then rinse them under cold water until they are completely cooled. Peel and coarsely chop the eggs. Set aside.
  4. Cook the bacon over medium heat until it is crisp. Drain on paper towels. When cool, crumble and set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the yellow pepper, tomatoe, olives, and 1/2 of the sweet onion. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  6. In another bowl, combine the black beans, 1/4 cup cilantro and onion. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  7. In another bowl (don’t worry, we are almost done with the excess of bowls), combine the avocado, 1/4 cup cilantro, juice of 2 limes, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  8. On a large platter (or large bowl), arrange the romaine lettuce. Arrange the chicken in a strip down the middle of the romaine. On either side, make piled strips of the eggs, bacon, yellow pepper mixture, black bean mixture and avocado mixture. Drizzle with dressing or serve it on the side. The easiest way to serve this on a platter is with a pair of tongs. If using a large bowl, gently toss to combine all the ingredients before serving.
  9. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients together in a blender. Process until smooth. Thin with additional buttermilk (adding it one teaspoon at a time), if desired. Store the dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Southwest Cobb Salad

Recipe Source: salad and dressing adapted slightly from Martha Stewart

45 Responses to Southwestern Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

  1. Andra says:

    This was the most delicious salad we’ve ever had! We will make this monthly for sure. Thanks for never failing me! I love everything I’ve made from your blog!

  2. Elaine says:

    This was a fabulous salad. Don’t be afraid of the long list of ingredients – each component comes together quickly. The green goddess dressing was so so good. I also added a minced clove of garlic to it and let the dressing rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. It made enough for two meals, but I wasn’t complaining. We will do this again many times. Thanks so much for an awesome dinner!

  3. Liz D. says:

    This was sooooo good. Very time consuming but good! I had to make my chicken in the skillet and I added some corn kernels to the bean salsa and used turkey bacon. I paired this with your cornbread- which I used your suggestion of coconut oil in it (I used fat free buttermilk that I had leftover from this salad dressing). Amazing!!

  4. Anna says:

    Loved loved loved this. Put all the toppings on the side so people could make their own individual Cobb salad since it was hard to evenly distribute everything from one big bowl. But I will be making it over and over! The works worth it πŸ™‚ thank you. Oh and that BBQ chicken salad recipe you have is the bomb. Another wonderful salad we all love to death.

  5. Sculatta says:

    Mel- I have been following and trying out recipes from your site and recommendjng them to my friends for the last year and my family is VERY happy about it. After making this salad with some cheesy biscuits last night my husband decided he loved not me, but YOU. πŸ˜‰ But then he spent the rest of the night praising my cooking skills and randomly kissing my cheek, so Thanks for all the great recipes- coming back for more almost every day! Or every day I feel like cooking for my three chaoses ( children), that is.

  6. Ash says:

    This looks sooooo yum!!!! Can’t wait to try!!!

  7. […] Cobb Salad w/ Green Goddess Dressing- Using this recipe loosely. Going to make a salad that is kind of like this and fits our tastes […]

  8. Kim in MD says:

    Hi Mel- I made this salad tonight for at least the 10th time since you posted it. It’s 99 degrees here as I type this comment, and you know how I feel about heating up my kitchen in this kind of heat! My family LOVES this salad! To change it up tonight, we grilled (outside) organic grass fed boneless rib eye steaks and sliced them up (all fat trimmed off) to top off the salad instead of the chicken. Also, I always add a jumbo clove of garlic to the dressing, and instead of the sugar I used a tsp. of agave nectar. Delicious! Thanks so much (again) for sharing your passion for delicious food with us! πŸ™‚

  9. Rachel says:

    we LOVED- LOVED – LOVED!! Ate it 2 days in a row – and children ate lettuce . . . on purpose . . . for the first time ever. . . .enough said. Dressing is SO great!

  10. Magin says:

    Just made this for dinner and my husband who looked suspicious in the making of it….but kept saying Mel never gets it wrong, stated this was his Favorite salad EVER! We are using leftovers for omelets in the morning and a taco buffet for dinner tomorrow! Awesome recipe Mel!

  11. Leah says:

    I just got this recipe from a friend and made it with out the chicken for thanksgiving! It was awesome!!! Alot of people just ate this for dinner with the turkey on top. After the dressing turned out so great I tripled it and we used it all week! Thanks Its now my go to for family dinners!

  12. betty says:

    I have been making the original Martha Stewart version of this salad for years. I do simplify it a bit, by omitting the chicken and using honey smoked turkey breast, cut thickly at the deli counter, and then cubed. The original recipe just has a black bean salsa salad and no corn. I use half a jar of roasted red pepper, cut into bite sized pieces, as per her recipe. The real kicker in this recipe is the dressing which pull everything together. I highly recommend to use much more cilantro and flat leaf parsley to make a really green and great dressing. You’re right it can be used on so many things, even an an accompaniment to fish. Thanks for printing this, because the original is not to be found on her website.

  13. Charisse says:

    I just made this salad the other day and WOW!!!! This was amazing!!! My husband could not stop complimenting me on the dressing!

  14. Kim F. says:

    WOW..the ultimate of salads!

  15. kira says:

    This was delicious! We loved loved loved it! And I guess I wouldn’t know what tasted different, but using miracle whip in the dressing worked great-it tasted wonderful! We will make this again and again! Thank you for this recipe, and the many many others we have loved as well!

  16. Reyna says:

    This was a perfect summer dinner. It was kind of a lot of work for a salad–but worth it in the end!

  17. Dixie says:

    Okay, I feel lucky because I got to try this without having to do the work. Lana made it and I nearly died it was so good…especially that dressing. Truly to die for! I told her she was my hero because anything over 2 steps I’m not brave enough to make. Love love LOVE this. And maybe I’ll get brave enough one day to actually try making it myself. πŸ™‚

    • Mel says:

      Dixie – Lana is one heck of a sister-in-law, that’s for sure. Glad you liked this. You know you can make it! You were the queen of multi-step meals in college (read: Cowboy Dinner). This isn’t that much harder, I promise.

  18. Mel says:

    Kira – Miracle whip will definitely make this dressing more tangy. I’m not sure all the flavors will blend quite as well, but it’s worth a try if you prefer miracle whip over mayonnaise.

  19. Cindy says:

    Had this salad for dinner tonight and it was delicious! definately worth the work.

  20. kira says:

    Just put this on our next menu rotation. Can’t wait to eat it. We love fresh salads! How different will the dressing be if I use miracle whip instead of mayonnaise? Still as good as everyone is saying it is i hope?

  21. Nicole says:

    This was the BEST salad I have ever had. I loved every bite of it and so did my family and guests.

  22. Erin says:

    So far, I’ve made the dressing, and it rocks! Its like a fancy version of Ranch dressing to me, loved it!

  23. Taryn says:

    This salad was awesome! I just happened to have some leftover grilled chicken and decided to throw this salad together for dinner. I was worried that my kids wouldn’t eat a salad for dinner but I was wrong! They loved it and so did my husband. He said it was the best salad he had ever had. I think it was the green goddess dressing. I have never had it before and it was amazing. I had no fresh herbs on hand so I had to improvise with dried but it was still great. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Taryn – that’s high praise from your husband! I’m thrilled the salad went over so well with your family. I agree, the dressing is divine.

  24. Susan says:

    Invited to a friend’s for grilled chicken last night — so I made this salad without the chicken as my dish to contribute, and it was a HUGE hit! Can’t wait to make it again….and again…and again!

  25. Tanya says:

    This was AWESOME! Made enough for me and the Mr. for two nights…eating the leftovers tonight and it will be such a blessing to not have to COOK anything!

  26. Stacie says:

    I am definitely going to make this soon, although it looks like a TON of work for a salad. Holy cow a lot of salsas! Looks amazing… right up my alley. Thanks!

  27. Cammee says:

    I made this tonight and it is incredible! It was very filling, even for the male people I have to feed. I love the different salsas and the dressing, oh the dressing! I could eat cardboard as long as it was covered in that stuff.

    Good luck on your car ride. I’m afraid if I tried to drive that far with my kids one of us might not make it there alive. I hope you have a great vacation once you get there!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Cammee – seriously, I’m not kidding about the dressing. It’s undeniably delicious. Glad it was a filling meal, even for salad! (And we survived the trip all alive and happy…well, mostly happy.)

  28. Candace says:

    I just saw a recipe for Southwest Cobb Salad and wanted to try it out, but I know this one will be good!

    The other recipe I saw topped it all with Queso Fresco. I happen to have some leftover in the fridge, so I think I will try it.

  29. Nancy J says:

    Okay so everything you make looks great, but that looks divine, can I come to dinner?

  30. grace says:

    i don’t think i’ve ever been so drawn to a cobb salad! even the mayonnaise-y dressing doesn’t deter m; in fact, i’m surprisingly tempted by it as well. you’re some sort of wizard, aren’t you–don’t lie. πŸ™‚

  31. Veronica M. says:

    Oh, this sounds mouth-watering! Bookmarked!

  32. StephenC says:

    Wow, what an ambitious concoction! I happen to love carrot/raisin salad – but, to each his/her own. One of the wonders of salad is how many different variations are possible.

  33. This looks right up my alley! It doesn’t matter how many bowls you use to make a salad for dinner–it’s out-weighed by the fact that you don’t have to turn the oven on. Especially if you use left-over grilled chicken! Thanks for sharing a new version of one of my favorite dishes! πŸ™‚

  34. Kim in MD says:

    OMG, Mel! This looks absolutely amazing, and your photos are gorgeous! I love Southwest/Tex-Mex flavors, and salads of almost any kind (I totally agree about the carrot/raisin salad), so this would be a winner in my house. Like Jessica @How Sweet, I have never made home-made green goddess dressing, but have been wanting to try it. If you (and your husband) say it is the best salad you have ever eaten, that is good enough for me!

    I will be making this salad for dinner this week…it is supposed to be over 100 degrees for most of the week here, and if I microwave the bacon and grill the chicken outside I won’t have to turn on my stove! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  35. I have never tried making my own goddess dressing – but I do love the Annie’s version! I am sure this is delicious!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *