This blackened chicken Cobb salad is packed with flavor and so simple to make. Plus, it’s great for meal prep, low-carb and keto-friendly.
As you know, I’m on a mission to make salads an exciting, sought-after meal.
We’ve all been in that position where we’ve ordered a salad at a restaurant because we thought it was the “healthy choice.” And then it ended up being a dressing drenched, sad salad that lacked flavor BUT still had a ton of calories, sugar and fat. UGH!
Well, this blackened chicken salad couldn’t be more different. It’s loaded with tons of delicious flavors, but they’re portioned out so the salad is still uber healthy.
This salad has a great balance of lean protein, healthy fats and veggies which makes it an awesome meal-sized salad for lunch or dinner. Plus it’s so easy to make and can easily be customized!
When following the Faster Way to Fat Loss program, which involves two low carb days a week, I meal prep this salad because it’s the most delicious low-carb meal! And it really fills me up, too.
What is Blackened Seasoning?
If you’ve never had blackened chicken, shrimp, salmon or anything really, I highly recommend it. It changes what could be a bland protein into a flavor explosion in every bite — but without a ton of added fat or calories. It’s just a simple spice mixture that takes the dish up 20+ notches.
And there’s no need to marinate in advance, so you can make this meal on the fly. More often than I would like to admit, I plan on making a lunch or dinner and realize an hour beforehand that the recipe calls for 8+ hours of marinating. Don’t have time for that on the regular!
I easily made my own blackened seasoning at home with just a few simple spices, but you can also use a store-bought mixture.
Chicken Cobb Salad Ingredients
Don’t let the long-ish ingredient list scare you. It’s basically just a bunch of veggies!
baby spinach or chopped romaine – I like using baby spinach for this salad. It’s loaded with a ton of health benefits and the leaves are smaller, more tender and more flavorful. You can also used chopped romaine for a crunchy base.
hard boiled eggs– a staple ingredient for Cobb salad! Follow my simple tutorial to make perfect hard boiled eggs.
grape tomatoes – cherry tomatoes work as well! I love the sweet flavor explosion that small tomatoes add to this salad.
cucumber – a refreshing, crisp addition to the salad.
red onion – adds a kick of flavor!
turkey bacon – I used turkey bacon, but pork bacon would work great too.
crumbled blue cheese – I love blue cheese in this salad, but it does have a very distinct flavor. If you don’t like blue cheese, crumbled feta or goat cheese would work great as a sub. Or you can omit or use a vegan cheese option to make this dairy-free!
avocados – this adds the perfect amount of creaminess to the salad. Just look for avocados that give slightly when you press down on the skin.
dressing – we’re using a simple red wine vinaigrette with Dijon mustard, maple syrup (or honey), extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper
chicken breasts – you’ll be adding the delicious seasoning and searing the chicken on the stovetop or grilling it!
blackened seasoning– a tasty blend of paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and olive oil.
Can You Prep this Chicken Salad Ahead of Time?
Yes! You can prep the different components of this salad ahead of time and then assemble right before serving. You can also combine everything (except for the avocado and dressing), portion out individual servings, store in the fridge and add the avocado and dressing right before serving.
Can You Use a Different Dressing?
Yes! The red wine vinaigrette is really light and lets the ingredients in the salad shine, but feel free to experiment with different dressings. I have a ton of different healthy salad dressing recipes to choose from.
I’m currently hooked on my turmeric tahini dressing and it’s lovely over this blackened chicken salad as well. And if you’re short on time you can always use your favorite store-bought dressing or just drizzle a little vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper over your salad. You really don’t need much dressing because the ingredients in this salad are so dang flavorful!
Prepare chicken: Take chicken out of the package and pat dry with paper towels. Add spices — paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper — in a small bowl. Coat each chicken breast with spice mixture.
Cook chicken: To cook the chicken, you can either grill it on an indoor or outdoor grill or sear it on the stovetop. To sear: add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken breasts in hot oil. Cook chicken about 6–7 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. Remove chicken from skillet and let sit for 5 minutes to cool before slicing for the salad. This step can be done a day in advance.
Make dressing: While the chicken cooks, make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl or glass jar.
Assemble salad: Divide the spinach or romaine among 4 plates (or containers if you’re making this for meal prep). Arrange equal portions of blackened chicken, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, avocado, bacon and blue cheese on top of the greens.
Add dressing: Just before serving, top salad with 1–2 Tablespoons of the red wine vinaigrette dressing or your favorite dressing.
Mushrooms: You'll notice the video has mushrooms. You can totally add these in, but after re-testing the recipe I don't feel they are necessary.
Turkey bacon: Pork bacon would work great too.
Blue cheese: Feta or goat cheese would work as well. Or you can omit or use a vegan cheese option to make this dairy-free.