Here is an easy Vegan Cobb Salad recipe topped with scrumptious ‘bacon’ chickpeas and finished with a vegan green goddess dressing. Easy to make your own with different dressing options, with plenty of ways to serve and store for meal prep.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Creative and colorful, with the right balance of creamy, tangy, salty and crisp.
- Loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and all those super-beneficial plant phytochemicals!
- Topped with savory, umami, ‘meaty’ flavor thanks to bacon flavored chickpeas.
- Customize it with different dressings and ingredient swaps.
- Serve as you please and store the rest for meal prep throughout the week.
- Vegetarian, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free, too!
Ingredients for this Healthy Vegan Salad
Nothing says healthy to me more than a giant bowl of leafy greens, fresh veggies and plant-based protein – and who doesn’t love a classic Cobb salad. I gave this one a vegan twist to satisfy all the plant-based devotees out there.
The ingredients come in two parts (well, technically, three, with the dressing). Let’s take a look at what we need:
- chickpeas – use one (14-15 ounce) can of low sodium chickpeas that have been rinsed and drained.
- coconut aminos – look for plain coconut aminos or coconut aminos with apple cider vinegar.
- maple syrup – go for the good stuff and get Grade A real maple syrup.
- olive oil – a light olive oil or avocado oil will both work.
- liquid smoke – this is a unique ingredient and adds that special “smoke” essence that makes it taste like bacon. Look for it in the spice aisle or specialty seasoning section. If unavailable, add some extra smoked paprika.
- smoked paprika – adds another level of smoke and slightly sweet pepper flavor.
- sea salt & pepper – to enhance and highlight the rest of the marinade.
Looking for even more bacon flavor? Top the salad with homemade coconut bacon or tempeh bacon.
- romaine – crunchy iceberg or endive works great, too.
- spinach – any tender baby greens will do – spinach, kale, mixed, romaine – go for your favorite clamshell package.
- avocado – for richness and fat.
- cherry tomatoes – fresh and juicy cherry, grape or super sweet yellow tomatoes all work wonders. Frozen and thawed corn would add subtle pops of sweetness, too.
- red onion – for savory bite. Soak the red onion in water for 10 minutes if you are not a fan of the harsh, raw red onion flavor. Radishes would add a special, spicy kick – and you could even throw in some cucumbers or carrots, too.
- sunflower seeds – for crunch and nuttiness. Pumpkin seeds would be a great sub.
- Vegan green goddess dressing – I like to make my own dressing from scratch (recipe listed below for ease), but you can use your favorite store-bought vegan dressing instead.
Scroll below for the recipe card and measurements.
How to Make Bacon Chickpeas
In all honesty, these are the star of the show. The trick is to marinate the chickpeas in the coconut amino marinade for at least 30 minutes, but you can go as far as overnight. When I have the time, I prepare the chickpeas in the morning, that way all I have to do is toss them in the oven come dinner time.
Place drained and rinsed chickpeas on a clean tea towel and gently remove skins. Place chickpeas in a shallow dish. Add coconut aminos, maple syrup, olive oil, liquid smoke, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to coat and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes (up to overnight).
Preheat the oven to 375ºF during the last 5 minutes of marinating. Drain chickpeas through a fine mesh strainer and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until chickpeas are golden. Allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
How to Make the Best Vegan Salad
Now, on to the assembly. I wash and prep all my salad ingredients while the chickpeas are roasting in the oven.
First, start with the leafy greens, both romaine and spinach, then top them with the avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion and sunflower seeds. Finish with the crispy chickpeas and homemade green goddess dressing.
The beauty of this salad, besides all those crisp, crunchy vegetables, is the versatility of the dressing. While I love green goddess here, feel free to get creative. You could try:
- Vinaigrette: Go clean and simple with an Italian, Mediterranean, lemon or red wine vinaigrette. I also have a Sweet Onion Vinaigrette here.
- Creamy: Keep it creamy with a vegan Caesar, vegan Ranch or cashew buttermilk dressing.
- Sweet: You could even go more of a sweet route with something like a maple dijon or apple cider vinaigrette.
Ways to Serve
This salad recipe will serve two as an entree meal or four as a side. A few of my favorite ways to serve include:
- Serve Immediately: For dinner, just as the chickpeas are done roasting in the oven.
- Brown Bag Lunch: Store as directed below and pack it for lunch to enjoy at work over the next few days.
- Serve it as a Side: Serve it alongside vegan white bean chili or vegan fajitas. And don’t forget the vegan cornbread recipe, too!
Meal Prep & Storage
Leftovers of the undressed salad and chickpeas will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I recommend storing the salad, chickpeas and dressing in separate containers for the longest shelf life and vibrancy.
The recipe written makes about 2 servings. Feel free to double or triple the recipe to enjoy it as a light lunch or side dish to dinner throughout the week.
Cobb Salad FAQs
The Cobb salad came about in 1938 at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant, so named after the restaurant’s owner, Robert Howard Cobb.
A traditional Cobb salad is made with salad greens (usually iceberg, romaine, watercress and/or endive), tomato, bacon, chicken breast, hard boiled eggs, avocado, chives, blue cheese and red wine vinaigrette. The ingredients are laid out in neat rows.
Both include lettuce, cheese, bacon, chicken and harb boiled eggs. However, the Cobb salad includes the addition of avocado and tomato, while a chef salad includes various deli meats, such as turkey and ham.
More Healthy Salad Recipes
If you make this Vegan Cobb Salad recipe, be sure to leave a comment and review on the blog! I love hearing from you, and it helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx Ashley
Bacon Chickpeas (marinate for 30 minutes)
- 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 medium-large avocado, pitted and sliced
- ½ cup Cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 cups Romaine, chopped
- 2 cups spinach or mixed greens
- Sunflower seeds
Vegan Green Goddess Dressing
- Place drained and rinsed chickpeas on clean tea towel and gently remove skins. Place chickpeas in a shallow dish and add coconut aminos, maple syrup, oil, liquid smoke, paprika, salt and pepper – stir to coat and marinate in fridge for 30 minutes (up to overnight).
- Preheat oven to 375ºF during last 5 minutes of marinating. Drain chickpeas through mesh strainer and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until chickpeas are golden. Allow to cool.
- Blend all ingredients for the green goddess dressing until smooth.
- Assemble the salad, top with chickpeas and dressing.
STORAGE – Store the salad, chickpeas and dressing in three separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.