Lunch today was delicious, light, and healthy, which was perfect after going to a Zumba class this morning. This Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing is lighter than your usual Cobb salad, but it doesn’t lack in flavor or heartiness.
Unlike a traditional Cobb salad, this recipe has no bacon, eggs, or cheese. It does, however, have flavor-packed grilled, lean chicken breasts for added protein. There is no mayonnaise in the creamy ranch dressing. And it’s packed with delicious, healthy, fresh summer produce like sweet corn and cherry tomatoes.
OK… maybe it’s not technically a “Cobb salad” without the eggs, bacon, and cheese. But today, I didn’t want a salad that would weigh me down, especially for lunch after a great workout. This combination was PERFECT. The healthy fats from the avocado and the lean protein of the chicken breasts, along with tons of fresh veggies, created a hearty salad combo that was filling but not too heavy.
And the DRESSING!
For the Fourth of July, I made cold potato salad with buttermilk dill dressing. If you’ve ever purchased buttermilk before, you know that more often than not you’ll have some leftover. I needed to use it up somehow, so I made this ranch dressing. Tangy sour cream and buttermilk make up the base of the dressing- making it thick and creamy but still pourable. It’s packed with fresh dill and parsley, as well as some garlic, giving it tons of flavor. It’s simple and mayo-free, making it lower in fat than other ranch recipes.
This salad features my favorite summer produce: sweet corn fresh off the cob, and perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes. You can use frozen corn if you like, but at 25 cents an ear, I couldn’t pass up the delicious taste of fresh! To cut the kernels off, I don’t do anything fancy: I just lay it down flat on a cutting board and use a chef’s knife to slice off the edges, turning as I go.
If you’re in a more traditional (or hungrier) mood, go ahead and add some chopped fresh bacon, crumbled bleu cheese, and chopped hard boiled eggs to the salad mix.
This is a great salad to make in advance for lunches all week- just mix everything up, divide into individual containers, and pack the dressing separately to add right before you eat (otherwise it will be soggy).
One final thing: you can use any cooked chicken you want with this. I grilled up some chicken breasts the night before for dinner (marinated in a chili garlic honey lime sauce…YUM). I used the leftovers for this salad. If you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like cooking the chicken yourself, I recommend using store-bought rotisserie chicken meat.
Here’s the printable recipe for Lightened-up Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing!
Healthy Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
For the Dressing:
For the Salad:
- 4 cups lettuce such as romaine, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion diced
- 2 avocados diced
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels from about one ear, frozen can also be used
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast meat I grilled mine the day before, but rotisserie also works
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- Mix all ingredients for dressing together in a jar or small bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Layer all salad ingredients on a platter or in a large bowl.
- Add dressing on top of the salad just before serving, or serve it on the side for people to add to their own plates.
- Make ahead: The dressing can be made up to 5 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. You can mix the ingredients for the salad 24 hours in advance, and add the dressing just before serving.
- A traditional cobb salad also includes cooked crumbled bacon and hard boiled eggs. Feel free to add these to make the salad more hearty!
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.
- Salad Tongs
- Serving Platter