This Fall Cobb Salad is the perfect balance of healthy and indulgent. With kale, butternut squash, hardboiled egg, pomegranate, avocado, gorgonzola cheese, bacon, and cranberry dressing, you'll crave it all season long!
Have you ever wanted to face plant into a salad? I mean, it's probably much more likely you want to face plant into an ice cream sundae or chocolate buttercream frosted layer cake. But I just made a salad I want to face plant into. Almost more than cake (but that could also be because I ate a brownie for breakfast and am currently on sugar overload).
I know that Cobb salads aren't exactly known for being healthy... Not even necessarily because they're super unhealthy, but more because they include lots of indulgences and don't usually offer a whole lot of nutritional value. But to me, the key with salads is to balance out the extreme healthy with a little indulgence. It's not likely I'll ever be fully satisfied with an all veggie, no fun dressing, no croutons/cheese/etc. salad. But I also never want to take a healthy salad and cover it in fatty dressing and load it with all the carbs, lots of unhealthy fats, and no nutritional value. I think this fall cobb salad is a pretty fabulous balance, if I do say so myself.
FALL COBB SALAD WITH CRANBERRY DRESSING RECIPE
So, what exactly do we have in this delightful mix? I used kale as the greens, which makes way more of a nutritional impact than romaine or iceberg lettuce. I also added in butternut squash, pomegranate arils, avocado and hardboiled eggs. And some extra indulgences like crumbled bacon and gorgonzola because you only live once!
I also made a cranberry dressing that's definitely on the tart side, but heavenly when massaged into the kale and drizzled over the top of the salad. I told you I'd be cramming cranberries (say that 10 times fast!) into everything I make this fall/winter and I'm not kidding. Both the savory and sweet!
You can obviously alter the measurements to your preferences. Convinced now that all bacon is evil? Replace it with chicken or ham. Hate everything about hardboiled eggs (um, we can't be friends anymore)? Leave them out.
But I have to tell you that this exact combination is pretty much perfect.
There is no way on Earth for me to decide what my favorite part of this fall cobb salad is. I love every single bit of it. And every bite with every ingredient combination was the best ever.
But I do have to give a shoutout to butternut squash and pomegranate being back in my life. Of course, kale is a cool-weather vegetable, too, but I can be found eating that (and drinking it) year-round.
Now can you see why I want to face plant in it? I really want to do an experiment to see how many days in a row I can eat this salad before I never want to see it again. I really do think I could get through all of fall and winter.
After Thanksgiving, I might consider replacing the bacon with leftover turkey. And maybe eating with a side of stuffing... because stuffing is another food I could face plant into every day for the rest of my life. But otherwise, I'd keep this exactly as it is.
Would you face plant into this fall cobb salad? Or at least sit down and happily eat it with a fork? I mean, I guess that cranberry dressing could get a little messy in your hair. But it would be worth it.
I'm filing this one under one more reason to love fall!
What's your favorite ingredient in this salad?
If you're looking for more deliciously indulgent salad recipes, check out my Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad and my Asian Ginger Miso Salmon Salad. I'm also dying over this Honey Hot Chicken Salad from Whipped It Up!
Fall Cobb Salad with Cranberry Dressing
- 2 cups diced butternut squash
- ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 5 cups roughly chopped kale
- ¼ cup cranberry dressing, plus more for topping
- 2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
- ⅓ cup pomegranate arils
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
- ¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- 5 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Toss butternut squash cubes with olive oil, salt, and pepper on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake squash for about 25 minutes, until tender and starting to brown. Toss once halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let cool.
- In a large bowl, pour cranberry dressing over kale. Gently massage dressing into kale for a couple minutes.
- Evenly divide kale into two smaller bowls. Divide chopped hardboiled egg, pomegranate arils, diced avocado, crumbled gorgonzola, and crumbled bacon on top of kale in two bowls.
- Drizzle additional cranberry dressing on salad if desired.
- Put cranberries, orange juice, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and honey in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Slowly pour extra-virgin olive oil in and process until well blended.