California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

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California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette gives the Cobb Salad a west coast spin with the addition of crisp cucumber, sweet strawberries, and creamy avocado.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

I’m back!

A few days ago I was sipping mocktails at Mundaka and gazing at The Lone Cyprus on the iconic 17 Mile Drive along the Pacific coastline.

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Today I was stopping to smell the lilacs on a walk around the neighborhood. As always, modern travel never ceases to amaze me!

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BTW – I semi shrieked out oud when I saw these babies blooming on my favorite lilac bush near my house (what, you don’t have a favorite lilac bush in your ‘hood?) When I left for California they were just baby buds but today they were full-fledged, aromatic blooms. I could smell them from a block away – SWOON! I can’t wait for the peony bushes in the neighborhood to start flowering next!

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At any rate, you can take the girl out of California, but you can’t take the California out of the girl and despite the fact that I’m home sweet home, I seemed to have left my taste buds out west. The first thing I did today was walk to the grocery store (after having to turn around halfway there because I forgot money – d’oh!) to get the ingredients for a California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette to make for lunch.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

After three days of eating salads with the Dole folks, you’d think I would have had enough for one week, but it actually inspired me to get even more creative with my greens and give ‘em a California spin. I thought about this combination the entire way home yesterday.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

See, a Cobb Salad normally contains a fixed mix of meats, cheeses, and vegetables, which I kept some of, but to give it a west coast spin I also added cool and breezy ingredients like crisp cucumber, sweet strawberries, and creamy avocado.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Drizzled with a homemade Tarragon Vinaigrette, this was the best combo of crispy, creamy, sweet, savory – and not to mention so filling. This ain’t no side salad. This is a meal. 

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Start the Cobb Salad by preparing 4 hard boiled eggs. Want to know how to get perfect hard boiled eggs every time? Add eggs to a saucepan then fill with cool water 1″ above the tops.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Bring the water to a boil, remove the pan from the heat, then place a lid on top and let them sit for 12 minutes for large eggs (9 for medium, 15 for XL.)

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Drain then submerge in cold water and use right away, or peel then stash in the fridge. Perfect every time!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

BTW – in celebration of National Egg Month, a few weeks ago I visited Rose Acre Farms in Stuart, IA to check out how they’re contributing to the 15 billion (with a B!) eggs that Iowa produces each year – the most of any state in the country. You can read about my visit on the Join My Journey site > (Note to self: enough with the hair nets!)

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Next, get to chopping the fresh ingredients for the salad including 1 cup each tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries and 1 avocado. There was a strawberry farm right down the road from Carmel Valley Ranch, where I stayed this week, and I pressed my nose against the glass every time we passed by. The strawberries I had each morning for breakfast, and in several desserts, were indescribably sweet. Fresh from the earth. Mmm!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

When the eggs have cooled, chop ‘em up, then also cook/chop 1/2lb chicken breasts and 1/2lb bacon. Use leftovers for both, if you have ‘em!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Finally, turn to zee greens. I like Cobb Salads made with hearty lettuces that stand up to the weight of the toppings, so I bought Dole’s Italian Blend which combines crispy romaine lettuce with hearty radicchio to act as the bed for the flavorful ingredients on top.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Ready? Set. Assemble!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

And serve. :)

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
10oz Dole Salad Blend (I used Italian Blend)
1/2lb chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1/2lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 avocado, chopped

For the Tarragon Vinaigrette:
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoon raspberry blush vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
10-12 tarragon leaves, torn
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. For the Tarragon Vinaigrette: combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender. Slowly stream in olive while processing until smooth. Taste and adjust salt & pepper if necessary then place into the refrigerator.
  2. Divide lettuce between four plates then divide toppings between plates. Drizzle with Tarragon Vinaigrette then serve.
  3. Tips & Notes: Make vinaigrette up to several days ahead of time. Cook and chop proteins and other toppings ahead of time. Serve strawberries at room-temperature for the best flavor.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

You could drizzle the salad with your favorite dressing or make an easy Tarragon Vinaigrette, like I did. I’ve been seeing tarragon this, and tarragon that for weeks, and have never tried the herb, so I thought I’d give it a go in this vinaigrette. It was wonderful!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Start by plucking 10-12 tarragon leaves form the stem, then tearing them up and adding to a food processor or blender. Tarragon tastes like licorice – it’s wild. And really, really good. The dressing didn’t taste anything at all like licorice, rather, it had a nice herby flavor. Very mild.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Next add 2 Tablespoons each lemon juice and raspberry blush vinegar (could use red wine vinegar,) salt and pepper, and 1 small shallot, roughly chopped.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Place a lid on top then slowly stream in 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil when processing or blending, and then taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

Between the California avocados and sweet strawberries, and salty bacon and juicy tomatoes, each bite of this salad was a new experience. Hope you love it as much as I did!

California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette | iowagirleats.com

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Comments

  1. sue 05.16.2013

    That is so awesome that you have this new blog and just in time to stay home with the lil baby!! Congrats! I am sure it’s more fun traveling as opposed to the 10 hour work days. One request ….don’t make us wait weeks..months or even days to see a few pics of the bundle of joy when he arrives!!!

  2. Leslie 05.16.2013

    Lucky you! I looked for tarragon everywhere the other weekend and couldn’t find any! Finally substitued sage. Sauce turned out great with the sage but I will have to go looking for tarragon again.

  3. a 05.16.2013

    OMG get outta my head – I suggested cobb salad for dinner for us tonight! Last night, after dinner, clearly I think about food too much.

    Your version looks delish – I’m going the clean-out-your-fridge route ;)

    My favorite lilac bush is at my mom’s house. It burned to the ground years ago when the neighbors’ house caught fire but it came back!

  4. Cindy 05.16.2013

    Hey – this salad looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. As a California girl from the Avocado Capital of the World, I LOVE anything with avo!
    Your pictures from Monterey were incredible!

  5. Cindy 05.16.2013

    Hey – this salad looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. As a California girl from the Avocado Capital of the World, I LOVE anything with avo!
    Your pictures from Monterey were incredible – what an amazing trip!

  6. Omg this looks amazing!! I’m always looking for new salad inspiration that is filling enough to be a meal. Pinning and making ASAP! :)

  7. I cannot wait to try this dressing. It sounds awesome and SO perfect for Summertime salads!

  8. Pamela 05.16.2013

    You should visit us at Honey Creek Resort in Albia, Iowa. The Chef makes an amazing IOWA Cobb Salad!

  9. sarah 05.16.2013

    all of your salads looks so amazing. but i have to ask, HOW do you eat it? do you drizzle the dressing over the top right away? or do you mix it up first, then dressing? or do you pick at all the toppings first?
    i just look at that salad and i don’t want to even touch it because it’s so pretty!!

  10. nessa 05.16.2013

    Gorgeous lilac bushes!

  11. Candy 05.16.2013

    I’ve been craving salads this week….had a strawberry/chicken/goat cheese/candied pecan on Tuesday, tonight was a chicken/cashew w/sesame asian dressing. Your salad looks soooo yummy; thinking it will be a must have this weekend.

  12. Tieghan 05.16.2013

    so pretty!! Loving this!!

  13. Such beautiful photos! As well as another great looking recipe, thanks for sharing :)

  14. I have never even tried tarragon. I have no idea how it tastes or even smells. But that salad looks super yummy so I might just have to give it a shot!

  15. So colorful and delicious looking! This is my favorite salad and I love your tasty twist. The vinaigrette recipe looks awesome, too!

  16. This salad looks amazing! The dressing and toppings sound perfect for summertime salads.

  17. Jan Evancho 05.16.2013

    Tarragon should be a part of your kitchen herb garden along with other perennial faves like lemon thyme, chives, oregano, rosemary and parsley. The French use tarragon in their scrambled eggs. Try it! There is nothing like snipping fresh herbs from the yard. Fresh herbs help to turn a good cook into a great one. Thanks for the salad idea. I’ll give it a go this weekend.

  18. Barbara bell 05.16.2013

    This is so calling my name!!

  19. Bethany 05.16.2013

    Leftover bacon????? Left. over. bacon. What’s that?

  20. Debt girl 05.17.2013

    Glad you had a great time in my state!! I love lilacs, they remind me of my other state, home state, Oregon! That salad!!! Nomy!

  21. Jess 05.17.2013

    I love all the flavors going on in this springy salad, Kristin! Such a happy way to continue all that awesome salad-eating you did in California. I’ve been thinking about that lettuce-identification quiz since I saw your pictures. It gave me an entirely new appreciation for all the variety at the store.

  22. jodea @ chillichocolatelove 05.17.2013

    It looks too pretty to eat! Oh, alright then…

  23. […] California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette : This is a post from Iowa Girl Eats, and this blog is probably one of my favourite blogs, ever. The way she seamlessly adds in bits of her personal life (yea, you could say I’m a stalker who likes reading about other people’s life, or I guess a nosy/curious person) to all these delicous recipes is just brilliant. Don’t even get me started on her photography; it makes me wish food could actually jump out of computer screens into my mouth. Her recipes are always so simple and so easy to make, but they always have that little twist to them that stops them from being ‘boring’ and ‘mundane’. How appetising and fresh does this salad look? Bonus that cobb salads are one of my favourite salads. […]

  24. That’s a beautiful salad!!

  25. Amber 05.17.2013

    We have this cute little tree in our yard with some pretty lavender blossoms and neither one of us knew what it was until I read this today. We have a lilac tree! Thanks IGE!

    PS Salad looks delish!

  26. Erika 05.17.2013

    Holy wow, just looking at this makes me feel healthy! Beautiful photos, beautiful salad!

  27. I always love your photos but these ones are especially great!! Looks yum!

  28. the salad looks unbelievably good! Love the strawberries addition!

  29. Cat Yates 05.17.2013

    I LOVE lilacs. My absolute favorite flower. I’ve been begging the hubs to let us put a bush or two along our back fence, but not sure if they’ll survive Vegas summers. :) The salad looks delish too. I love all the colors!

  30. MaryZ 05.17.2013

    Your photos are stunning! I’ve been wanting to try using tarragon. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  31. Emma 05.18.2013

    Tarragon is lovely! It tastes really good with chicken and a little bit of creamy lemon sauce.

  32. The Cobb Salad looks delicious! I love how colorful it is too!

  33. This salad looked so good that I made it on Sunday. I just used Good Seasons Italian Dressing though!

  34. […] pork chop, chocolate-avocado sauce) Lunch/Dinner California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette (recipe) (romaine, leaf lettuce, chicken, bacon, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, […]

  35. This salad looks so fresh and delicious. I make a version of honey tarragon dressing for sandwiches, but I will have to try your recipe too.

  36. Kristin 06.15.2013

    I have been all about strawberries on my salads lately, and this combo looks delish!

  37. […] California Cobb Salad […]

  38. […] fresh flavors of the west coast shine in California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette. The fresh tarragon in the vinaigrette really makes the flavors pop. Click here for the recipe […]

  39. […] California Cobb Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette by Iowa Girl Eats. […]

  40. […] Recipe & Photo credit to: iowagirleats.com […]

  41. […] california cobb salad with tarragon vinaigrette | iowa girl eats […]

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