You all still on your New Year’s resolution kick to eat healthier? Or did the polar vortex (for my Midwest and East Coasters) or Snowpocalypse (for my west coasters) knock you off coarse with temperatures so cold that nothing besides greasy french fries and gooey pizza would warm your soul? I feel that – I was there too. But it’s slowly thawing and time to get back on track with a bowl of addictively nourishing food!
I realize it’s hard to crave a salad in the dead of winter but that’s because so many people think of salads as light and made of flimsy cold lettuce when they can be so much more than that – they can be made with sturdy greens and piled high with warm roasted vegetables and filling proteins. Don’t believe me? Well, today I’m excited to partner with OXO and California Olive Ranch to bring you the exact hearty and filling winter salad I’m talking about.
But before we jump into talking about all the components of this Vegetarian Winter Cobb Salad, let’s talk about the partners featured in today’s recipe. Deciding to work with both OXO and California Olive Ranch was a no-brainer. For one, California Olive Ranch is the only extra virgin olive oil I buy at the grocery store and use it for my everyday cooking (literally – I cook with olive oil every. single. day.) so I already had a very strong brand loyalty to them. It’s the only extra virgin olive oil I’ve been able to find on the regular at my local store that has a harvest date (which lets me know it’s fresh) and it has a smoke point well above 425 degrees so I know I can safely bake, sauté, and fry with it without having to worry about burning. This means I can lean on it for almost all cooking situations and I don’t have to worry about buying a new oil every time I want to try out a new cooking method. Although I usually use their ‘Everyday’ Destination Series, I tried out their ‘Rich and Robust’ bottle for the dressing in this salad to let the flavor really shine through, and it was delicious!
I used OXO‘s Salad Dressing Shaker and Salad Spinner to make this salad. The Salad Spinner helped to dry my greens quickly so they could absorb the dressing with ease and not water down the salad. The Salad Dressing Shaker is not something I would have ever thought to purchase, but after using it to measure, shake, and pour the dressing, I honestly wouldn’t ever use something else again. The printed measurements on the side of the shaker means I don’t have to deal with dirtying additional measuring cups. And if there is anything we can all agree on it’s that less dirty dishes is always a good thing!
And finally, let’s talk about this salad! Our local vegetarian restaurant makes a killer cobb salad that I always order when I go there. The one problem I have with the salad is that it’s just not nearly as good in the winter – the tomatoes are bland, and the lettuce lacks vibrancy (most likely because both are not as fresh as they are during peak produce season here in the Midwest). That is why I wanted to create a cobb salad that didn’t lean on those summer vegetables to make it delicious. I swapped out the tomatoes for roasted root vegetables and the lettuce for sturdy kale and cabbage.
I also swapped the meat for coconut bacon and roasted chickpeas because a little salty crunch in your salad is always a good idea. And finally, I made my salad with jammy eggs, but you are welcome to cook your eggs a little longer if you’d rather have a more traditional cobb salad egg experience (I will say that the jammy halves were delicious but a bit messy).
This Vegetarian Winter Cobb Salad is a fun seasonal twist that features heartier greens, roasted vegetables, and chickpeas in place of the meat.
- 1 cup large coconut flakes
- 1 Tbsp liquid smoke
- 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup chopped root vegetables (such as carrots, beets, radishes, etc) all chopped about the same size
- 1 15 oz can of chickpeas drained and patted dry with a paper towel
- 2 Tbsp California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
- dash of salt / pepper
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup champagne vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- dash salt / pepper
- 1 small head cabbage rinsed and chopped
- 1 bunch kale rinsed and chopped
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
- 5 soft boiled OR hard boiled eggs halved
- 1 avocado pitted sliced
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the liquid smoke, soy sauce, and maple syrup in a bowl. Fold the coconut flakes into the smoke mixture until they are completely coated with the sauce. Transfer to the baking sheet and spread out onto a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, shaking and stirring the flakes every 3-5 minutes to prevent from burning (do it more frequently towards the end as they are very prone to burning right before ready). Remove from oven and gently transfer the parchment paper with the coconut bacon on it to a cooling rack (so you can reuse the baking sheet for the veggies). Set aside to cool.
Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and re-line the baking sheet with new parchment paper. Toss the veggies and chickpeas in 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Transfer to baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the veggies are starting to brown and the chickpeas are crisped. Remove from oven and set aside.
While the veggies are roasting, transfer all the dressing ingredients into the OXO Salad Dressing Shaker and shake until emulsified and combined. Set aside.
Toss together the cabbage and kale and then place in a big salad bowl. Top with roasted veggies, chickpeas, crumbled cheese, eggs, avocado, and coconut bacon. Start by drizzling half the dressing over the salad and taste. Add more dressing as desired. Serve right away.