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Southwest Style Cobb Salad with Smoky Chipotle Dressing

A smoky chipotle mayo and a little time on the grill transform classic cobb salad ingredients into our new favorite summertime dinner—a hearty Southwest-style Cobb salad.

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southwest cobb salad with bacon, chipotle dressing, avocado, corn and beans in a bowl

California’s Favorite Salad Takes A Road Trip

We can’t get enough of the classic Cobb salad. Loaded with chicken, perfect 6-minute eggs, bacon, avocado and juicy cherry tomatoes, it’s the kind of meal we turn to again and again when the weather warms up. Mostly healthy, really satisfying, and easily adaptable for whatever palates happen to be gathered at our table on any given night, Cobb salad is an easy go-to. But, even our favorite meals need a little refresh now and then, and this Southwestern Cobb salad recipe is just exactly that! We utilize the classic flavors of the American Southwest—the smoky heat of chipotle peppers, sweet grilled corn and hearty black beans—to perk up the classic Los Angeles-born Cobb salad.

chipotle mayonnaise in a bowl with a spoon with lime, chipotle powder and cilantro
Chipotle dressing in a jar with cilantro, olive oil and limes

California’s Favorite Salad Takes A Road Trip

We can’t get enough of the classic Cobb salad. Loaded with chicken, perfect 6-minute eggs, bacon, avocado and juicy cherry tomatoes, it’s the kind of meal we turn to again and again when the weather warms up. Mostly healthy, really satisfying, and easily adaptable for whatever palates happen to be gathered at our table on any given night, Cobb salad is an easy go-to. But, even our favorite meals need a little refresh now and then, and this Southwestern Cobb salad recipe is just exactly that! We utilize the classic flavors of the American Southwest—the smoky heat of chipotle peppers, sweet grilled corn and hearty black beans—to perk up the classic Los Angeles-born Cobb salad.

2 chicken breasts on a baking sheet marinated with chipotle mayonnaise
three grilled chicken breasts on a cooling rack next to a bowl of grilled corn

How To Make Grilled Chipotle Chicken

Slathering the chicken breasts with smoky chipotle mayo before giving them a nice turn on the grill is one of the main things that makes this salad A) so good and B) Southwest-inspired. The combination of char from the grill and that lovely smoked chile flavor of chipotles just screams southwest. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Whip up a batch of chipotle mayo (our recipe can be found HERE), or (in a pinch) buy some.
  2. Slather it all over some chicken breasts.
  3. Fire up the grill.
  4. Grill the chipotle-coated chicken until it reaches gorgeously charred perfection!
grilled chicken breasts on a cooling rack with a serving fork
grilled chicken breast sliced on a cutting board with a knife and serving fork

The Best Cobb Salad Dressing, Ever.

Cobb salad probably only qualifies as healthy-ish because it’s kind of all about the dressing, and Cobb salad dressing just has to be rich and creamy. There’s something about a hearty, mayo-based dressing that pulls this salad all together. It sort of unifies the many (many) things that top it. For this Southwestern riff, the smoky, slightly spicy dressing is also one of the main things that plants this recipe firmly in those hot, dry, desert-y states. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Chipotle mayo
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cumin
  • Honey
a jar of homemade chipotle dressing
a jar of homemade chipotle dressing  next to limes

How To Make A Southwestern Cobb Salad:

You’ve whipped up a deliciously creamy-zingy-spicy-sweet dressing, grilled your chicken breast (and maybe some corn on the cob, too), fried some bacon and amassed a mess-o-vegetables. It’s time to make a salad! We like to serve this Cobb salad as a big platter, and let people serve themselves from there. It makes for a great, fresh, brightly-colored, summertime main dish, and seems to always illicit ‘oooohs’ and ‘aaahhhs’. Here are a few tips for the assemblage process:

  1. Rinse and dry your romaine leaves, then arrange them whole, in a single layer, on a big platter to lay a nice foundation for all of your many Cobb salad toppings.
  2. Let the chicken, bacon and corn (if you grilled it) cool at least a little before adding it to the platter. If you put them on top of the romaine too quickly, they’ll wilt the lettuce.
  3. You can easily prep this salad way ahead of time, and then all you’ll have to do day-of is assemble. Five days ahead, you can boil your eggs, and make the chipotle mayo and salad dressing. A day or two ahead, grill the chicken and corn, maybe when you’ve got the grill going for some other dinner—we love to make our grills do double-duty, especially if we go to the trouble of firing up the charcoal grill.
southwest cobb salad with corn, black beans, avocado , hard boiled eggs, romaine, cherry tomatoes, and pepper jack cheese

Tools You’ll Need:

4 More Hearty Dinner Salad Recipes

Salad for dinner does not necessarily equal deprivation. Salad for dinner can be a lush feast! These four salad recipes prove the point:

southwest cobb salad with corn, black beans, avocado , hard boiled eggs, romaine, cherry tomatoes, and pepper jack cheese
southwest cobb salad with corn, black beans, avocado , hard boiled eggs, romaine, cherry tomatoes, and pepper jack cheese

Did You Try It?

We want to know! Snap a photo of your Southwest Cobb salad and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper Happy eating!

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Southwest Style Cobb Salad with Smoky Chipotle Dressing

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 576

Ingredients

Chipotle Chicken

Smoky Chipotle Dressing

  • ½ cup Chipotle Mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice (from 3 limes)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Salad

  • 10 cups roughly chopped romaine lettuce
  • 6 pieces cooked thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup grilled, fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup cubed pepper Jack cheese
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, halved
  • ¼ cup loosely packed roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup green onions, white and green parts, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan on high heat. Add ½ cup chipotle mayonnaise to a medium bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat all over. Season the chicken all over with the pepper.

  2. Place the chicken on the grill. Reduce the heat to medium and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and continue cooking, rotating occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 10-12 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, allow to rest for 5 minutes, before thinly slicing.

  3. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the chipotle mayonnaise, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, pepper, paprika, cumin, and honey until smooth.

  4. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce with half of the dressing. Toss to coat. Arrange on a serving platter. Top with the chicken, bacon, tomatoes, corn, avocado, black beans, cheese, eggs, cilantro and green onions. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top. Season to taste with pepper.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories576
  • Protein39 g
  • Carbohydrates16 g
  • Total Fat42 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol210 mg
  • sodium585 mg
  • Total Sugars5 g

Southwest Style Cobb Salad with Smoky Chipotle Dressing

Questions & Reviews

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  • Jenn

    The dressing makes this salad. It is so creamy and just the right hint of sweetness and smokiness.

    Thank you Jenn!