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Southwest Style Cobb Salad with Smoky Chipotle Dressing

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Calories: 491
southwest cobb salad with bacon, chipotle dressing, avocado, corn and beans in a bowl

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.

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!

Southwest Style Cobb Salad with Smoky Chipotle Dressing

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Calories: 491

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Chicken breast
  • 1 cup Chipotle mayonnaise, homemade or store bought
  • 10 cups Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 6 pieces Thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup Corn, cooked from a cob, warmed from frozen or drained from a can
  • 1 Ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup Pepper jack cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Green onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 Eggs, hard boiled, sliced in half

Smoky Chipotle Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Chipotle mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Honey

Method

  1. In a small bowl or jar add all ingredients for the chipotle dressing, whisk until smooth and set aside. *Can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week in the refrigerator.
  2. Heat grill on high for 10 minutes. Dredge the chicken in 1 cup chipotle mayonnaise until completely coated. Generously season with freshly ground pepper and place on hot grill.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook without turning for 5-8 minutes. Flip chicken and continue cooking, rotating frequently, until the internet temperature reads 165°F with an instant read thermometer. Remove from grill and set aside.
  4. To assemble the salad, simply layer all ingredients starting with the romaine lettuce. Thinly slice the chicken breasts and lay on top. Add dressing to the salad or serve on the side and enjoy!