Blueberries and Southwestern flavors add a fresh twist on this classic salad.
Thank you to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council for sponsoring this post! As always, all blueberry-loving opinions are 100% my own.
I love reading about interesting food history facts. Some of the greatest dishes were created in the spur of the moment. So when I was researching Cobb salads the other day, I was delighted to discover that this classic salad was actually inspired by a late night craving back in the 1930s. Legend has it that Bob Cobb, the owner of the famous Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant, created the dish one night when he was hungry. Scavenging in the kitchen, he chopped up a bunch of ingredients that he had in the fridge and pantry and combined them into an impromptu salad. The dish was so good that it ended up on the menu and it became an overnight sensation!
Although the original Cobb salad featured ingredients like lettuce, avocado, tomato, chicken, bacon, hard boiled eggs, and Roquefort cheese, countless variations of the dish have been spawned since then. The common thread among them is that the base of the salad is made up of lettuce and the remaining ingredients are chopped and arranged in strips on top.
With summer just around the corner, I wanted to make a variation of a Cobb salad using fresh summer ingredients. And let’s face it, it’s always summer here in South Florida so I’m pretty much always up for a delicious, refreshing salad! My Southwest Blueberry Cobb Salad features fresh blueberries, an ingredient that may surprise you. But actually one of the reasons that I love blueberries is that they’re extremely versatile. They can be used in a wide variety of both sweet and savory dishes for a burst of flavor and color. Just look at the colors in this dish!
I’m excited to be an ambassador for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. I actually always keep a container of blueberries in my fridge and a bag of frozen berries in my freezer. Blueberries are delicious, low calorie, and rich in vitamin C and a good source of fiber. We all know that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables for optimal health but sometimes it can be hard to reach those goals. With no slicing or peeling required, blueberries are a convenient way to help you reach your daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables even when you’re pressed for time. Just grab a handful to snack on or add them to your smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt or salad.
I decided to put a twist on my Cobb salad by adding some Southwestern flavors and ingredients. I sprinkled the chicken with some chili powder and cumin before grilling it to juicy perfection. Then I tossed some fresh corn on the grill until it was nicely charred. For the base of my salad, I used a mixture of crunchy Romaine lettuce and tender baby spinach. Then I had fun artfully arranging the toppings including the spiced chicken, sweet grilled corn, vibrant blueberries, creamy avocado, crunchy pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and salty queso fresco. Queso fresco is a mild, crumbly Mexican cheese that can be found in many groceries stores but if you can’t find it, you can substitute feta.
To tie it all together, I made a bright Blueberry Vinaigrette infused with a bit of cumin for some smoky flavor.
This salad is an explosion of flavors, colors, and textures. Plus it packs a nutritional punch to boot. How can you beat that?
Southwest Blueberry Cobb Salad
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 ears fresh corn
- 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 ounces Romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3 ounces baby spinach
- 1 medium Hass avocado, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups blueberries, rinsed
- ¼ cup queso fresco (can substitute feta)
- ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ¼ c white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the corn to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides. Remove from pan. Let cool and then cut the kernels off the cobs.
- Sprinkle the chicken with chili powder, cumin, ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and cook 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove from pan. Let chicken cool and then chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Arrange the lettuce and spinach in a large serving bowl. Arrange the chicken, corn, avocado, blueberries, queso fresco, and pepitas in rows on top of the greens.
- To make the Blueberry Vinaigrette, puree the blueberries, oil, vinegar, cumin, honey, mustard together in a mini food processor or blender. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the salad.
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