This Vegetarian Cobb Salad replaces the meat with smoked tofu for a super easy riff on a classic recipe. Chopped veggies, hard boiled eggs, and crumbled blue cheese are topped with a red wine vinaigrette for a delicious and nourishing chopped salad.
Hands up if you love a good meal salad 🙋🏻♀️
Meal salads make my meal prepping, batch cooking heart happy. So many elements that can be prepared in advance! Such an easy and nourishing meal!
I'm a big fan of salads that can work equally as a side or as a hearty main, like these Chickpea Mason Jar Salads or this Vegetarian Nicoise Salad. They're perfect for picnics or packed lunches or a simple weeknight dinner.
And since many of the elements can be prepared in advance, they're a cinch to pull together! (Related: Batch Cooking for Beginners)
This Vegetarian Cobb Salad is one of my favourite meal salads. Packed with protein, healthy fats, and lots of veggies - the gang's all here! This recipe is also gluten-free and nut-free, which means it's for practically everyone.
I hope you enjoy this vegetarian riff on a classic recipe as much as we do.
What is a Cobb salad?
The Cobb salad originated from the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, California and first appeared on their menu in 1937. Legend has it that restaurant owner, Robert Cobb, made himself a salad comprised of mostly leftovers late one night, including leftover chicken and hard boiled eggs, among other things.
The salad was added to the restaurant menu, and voila! Instant classic.
A classic Cobb salad includes both chicken and bacon, along with crumbled Roquefort cheese, hard boiled eggs, avocado, and chopped vegetables. Since we're making a vegetarian Cobb salad today, we're making a few important substitutions.
You'll find specific quantities in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. But here's a brief overview of the components for a Vegetarian Cobb Salad:
- Lettuce --> I used little gem lettuce, but romaine lettuce or your favourite will do just fine.
- Cucumber --> Sliced into half moons.
- Tomatoes --> Cherry tomatoes is how I roll.
- Smoked tofu --> This is replacing the chicken AND the bacon. Two for the price of one!
- Hard boiled eggs --> Four nice big ones.
- Blue cheese --> Roquefort is traditional, but whatever you have is great.
- Shallot --> We're going to quick-pickle this guy.
- Red wine vinegar --> For our vinaigrette.
- Dijon mustard --> Because we fancy.
- Honey --> For sweetness and balance.
- Salt and pepper --> As one does.
I don't like raw onions in my salads, but pickle me an onion or shallot and we're in business. For this salad I like to thinly slice the shallot and let it marinate in the red wine vinegar while I'm getting everything else ready.
This mellows out the shallot and gives the vinaigrette a pleasant flavour, so it's win-win! You can of course make a batch of my Spicy Pickled Onions instead - they're great to have on hand!
While you can easily prep and chop most of the ingredients for your Vegetarian Cobb Salad in advance, the only one that really needs advanced thought is the hard boiled eggs. I have a very ancient post on how to make perfect hard boiled eggs - the post is old, but it's still the technique I use.
Alternately you can make Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs if you're making up a big batch to have on hand.
In this Vegetarian Cobb Salad Recipe, we're using smoked tofu to replace both the chicken and the bacon in a traditional recipe. I love using smoked tofu because it's ready to use as is - all you need to do is cube it up!
If you want to create some contrast with texture or temperature, you could also pan-fry the smoked tofu to crisp it up a bit. But that's entirely up to you.
If you don't like tofu, you can always replace the chicken with chickpeas instead (these Instant Pot Chickpeas are my favourite). The bacon can also be replaced with Tempeh Bacon, or even Coconut Bacon if you want to mix things up. Smoked almonds would also be a great addition here.
Want to make a vegan cobb salad? You can leave the eggs and blue cheese out, and you're in business.
Traditionally, a Cobb salad is made on a large plate or platter, and the ingredients are arranged in neat rows. You can of course use artistic licence with this and arrange your salad however you like.
If you're making the salad in advance, I recommend leaving the dressing and the avocado off until you're ready to serve it.
How to store leftover salad
Leftover Cobb Salad can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap or in an airtight container with a lid, for up to three days.
Leftovers keep best without the dressing on, so I recommend adding the dressing to individual plates once the salad has been served, rather than dressing the whole thing. The red wine vinaigrette will last a week in the fridge in a jar or other container with a lid.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Vegetarian Cobb Salad
For the dressing
- 1 small shallot thinly sliced
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey or other liquid sweetener
- salt and pepper
Vegetarian Cobb Salad ingredients
- 6 ounces little gem lettuce or your preferred salad green
- 1 cup cucumber slices I half and slice into half moons
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half before measuring
- 8 ounces smoked tofu cubed
- 2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
- 4 large hardboiled eggs peeled and quartered
- 1 large avocado quartered and thinly sliced
- Place thinly sliced shallots into a small bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, and set aside to marinate while you are preparing the other ingredients.1 small shallot, ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- Arrange the lettuce on the bottom of a large plate or platter.6 ounces little gem lettuce
- Add the cucumber slices and tomato halves in rows.1 cup cucumber slices, 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- Add rows of cubed smoked tofu, quartered hardboiled eggs, and sliced avocado.8 ounces smoked tofu, 4 large hardboiled eggs, 1 large avocado
- Scatter crumbled blue cheese over the top.2 ounces blue cheese
- Remove the shallots from the red wine vinegar, and scatter them over the top of the salad.1 small shallot
- In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot-infused vinegar with the olive oil, Dijon mustard, and honey. Season with salt and pepper.¼ cup red wine vinegar, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey, salt and pepper
- Serve the salad with the dressing on the side if you are planning to have leftovers. Otherwise, you can drizzle half of the dressing over the top, and reserve the other half for individual plates.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only, and the nutrition calculator seemed particularly wonky with this recipe.
- Hard boiled eggs can be made several days in advance.
- If you are making the salad in advance, I recommend you leave the avocado and dressing off until serving.
This recipe was first published September 24, 2011. It has been re-tested, edited, and updated with new photos on May 19, 2022.