Despite the snowstorms still blanketing most of the country, I feel like I’m ready to move away from comfort foods and start making more fresh summer salads. I love a ton of color in my salads and try to mix in ingredients that are fresh for the season! Cobb salad is such a classic and many of the ingredients can be found year-round. As my goal for 2021 was to eat more plant-based meals, I turned the classic Cobb into a Vegetarian Cobb Salad.
Cobb salads typically consist of lettuce, tomato, bacon, grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs, avocado and blue cheese. I wanted to recreate a vegetarian version of this salad without losing all of the flavor. My go-to protein replacement are chickpeas because they can be so versatile, and you can really transform them with different flavors using different herbs and seasonings. Removing the bacon from the salad meant that I was losing out on the smoky bacon flavor, so I decided to transform my chickpeas into a smoky-salty bacon replacement.
If you want to keep the chickpeas to a basic flavor, you can roast them with a little salt and pepper. You can also create a bacon-like substitute with the same method using coconut flakes. By drizzling coconut flakes with a mixture of soy sauce, liquid smoke and maple syrup, you can transform coconut flakes into a bacon replacement. I opted to use the same method on my chickpeas for a smoky addition to my salad.
This salad makes a great entrée or lunch-size salad because it’s loaded with filling ingredients. Finding really great avocados and crumbling Litehouse Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese on top will really complete the salad. I love to use Homestyle Ranch dressing on my Cobb salads, but if you want and extra burst of blue cheese, feel free to reach for the Chunky Blue Cheese dressing.