What is a Cobb Salad?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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A Cobb salad is a salad which contains lettuce, tomatoes, chicken breast, hard boiled eggs, avocado, crisp bacon, Roquefort cheese, and chives, dressed with a special vinaigrette. This salad is viewed by many people as a classic of California cuisine, since it was invented in the Golden State in the 1930s. Many restaurants offer some version of the Cobb salad, and you may see the ingredients switched up a bit to cater to regional tastes. This salad is also very easy to make at home.

According to legend, the Cobb salad was invented at the Brown Derby, a famous Hollywood restaurant, in 1937. The restaurant's owner, Robert Cobb, threw the salad together from leftovers in the fridge to satisfy the appetite of Sid Grauman. Because Grauman complained of a toothache, Cobb kindly sliced the ingredients finely so that they would not need to be chewed, and the Cobb salad became an instant hit.

There are two ways to serve a Cobb salad. In some establishments, it will be presented as a composed salad, with the chicken, tomatoes, eggs, bacon, and avocado laid out in colorful stripes on a bed of lettuce, and then the salad will be chopped at the table; some consumers prefer to do the chopping themselves. In other instances, a Cobb salad will be minced in the back of the house, and presented in a ready to eat format.


The lettuce in the salad typically comprises a mixture, and traditionally includes bitter greens like chicory in addition to romaine and iceberg lettuce. The mixture of greens in the salad base can dramatically alter the flavor of the salad, making it complex and interesting or rather mundane. Some consumers like to ask their waiters about which greens are used in the Cobb salad to judge whether or not it is worthy of ordering, as some restaurants cheat and use only one salad varietal, typically the cheaper iceberg lettuce.

The contents of the dressing vary, depending on personal taste and establishment. Being a vinaigrette, the dressing of course contains vinegar, typically red wine vinegar, but it may also have sugar, salt, pepper, dried mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce as well. Generally the dressing is drizzled onto the salad, and the salad is not tossed, unless the consumer wishes to do so.


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