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Fall Cobb Salad (Gluten Free & Paleo/Whole30 Friendly!)

Fall Cobb Salad with Rosemary Croutons and Cider Vinaigrette – This delicious autumn take on a classic Cobb is the perfect fall or winter salad! 

Pouring apple cider vinaigrette over a fall cobb salad

I am 110% here for soup and chili season, but there’s also something so nice about changing things up with a great fall salad here and there.

Cobb salad has been one of my favorite salads since I was in my teens, primarily because there are SO many goodies in it! Smoky bacon, delicious dressing, veggies, etc. So good! A waiter once taught me an acronym for what goes into a Cobb that’s always made it easy for me to remember…

EAT COBB = Eggs + Avocado + Tomatoes + Chicken + Onion + Bacon + Blue Cheese.

See? So many goodies! Since Cobb salads became popular so many years ago, there have been endless riffs on the classic Cobb salad. Some people put the blue cheese into a creamy dressing, some people swap out the chicken for ham, or add some extra veggies, like cucumber and carrots, or even things like black olives.

I’ve done lots of variations myself, but I’ve got to say, this fall Cobb salad is one of my favorite twists. I swapped out some of the summery parts (like tomatoes) for an autumn twist. I used some Honeycrisp apples (my favorite!) and some roasted squash to fill out the veggies, and instead of a classic vinaigrette, I made a cider vinaigrette which complements the flavors so nicely.

Here’s what you need to make this delicious harvest Cobb salad…

Fall cobb salad topped with apple cider dressing
Overhead view of ingredients for fall cobb salad
Apple cider dressing for fall cobb salad

Ingredients For a Great Fall Cobb Salad:

  • Homemade Croutons. We made a variation on our classic gluten-free croutons and added rosemary and garlic for a delicious spin. They’re quick and easy, but feel free to swap in store-bought croutons or use pumpkin seeds or toasted pecans instead for some crunch.
  • Our Yummy Cider Vinaigrette. Next up is an apple cider vinaigrette. This yummy apple salad dressing tastes amazing with the fall flavors going on in this cobb salad. Sweet, bright, and full of flavor!
  • Salad Greens. For the salad itself, you’ll start with a bed of lettuce. We love green leaf lettuce or romaine lettuce, but feel free to use any blend you love!
  • Cooked Chicken Or Turkey. Then, you’ll cube up some cooked chicken breast or turkey. This is a great way to use up grilled, roasted, or rotisserie chicken, or even Thanksgiving leftovers after turkey day!
  • Crumbled Bacon. A little cooked, crumbled bacon adds a smoky, salty, savory note that’s tough to beat!
  • Green Onion. I prefer the milder flavor of green onions to the bite of red onion or white onion, but feel free to use whichever your family enjoys.
  • Boiled Eggs. Another classic element of a Cobb salad we’ve kept! They add an extra boost of protein.
  • Apple Slices or Dices. Some sliced or diced apples add sweetness, crunch, and vibrance to every bite. I gravitate toward a sweet, crisp apple like Honeycrisp, but Fuji is another nice option.
  • Roasted Diced Butternut Squash. If you have it on hand, some cooked or roasted butternut squash adds a nice pop of color and sweet flavor. (We love this squash or this squash!)
  • Avocado. I love the creaminess and healthy fats!
Fall cobb salad topped with apple cider dressing

Faq + Tips And Tricks For The Best Fall Cobb Salad:

PALEO & WHOLE 30 NOTES: This salad is VERY Whole30 friendly. Simply be sure your bacon is compliant, and swap out the croutons for pumpkin seeds or pecans. The cider dressing is 100% approved, but you can also try it with this compliant ranch if you like. (It’s delicious!)

SWAPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS: There are so many ways to play with this salad:

  • Don’t like avocado? Skip it.
  • Aren’t into squash? Try sweet potatoes or some halved grapes.
  • Try tossing in seasoned roasted squash or a mix of apples and pears.
  • You can even drizzle this with a different dressing if you like, or
  • Add extra fruits or veggies, like celery, dried cherries or cranberries!

A TIP FOR HARD BOILED EGGS. I started steaming my eggs earlier this year and it’s made SUCH a difference! They’re so easy to peel and I haven’t yet had an overcooked one. I also love this little gadget for chopping them up once they’re cooked. (It’s great for potato or egg salad, too!)

Fall cobb salad topped with apple cider dressing

More Fall-Friendly Salads To Try:

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Harvest cobb salad with apple cider salad dressing

Fall Cobb Salad


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

For Paleo & Whole30 – Swap out the rosemary croutons for pumpkin seeds, toasted pecans, or almonds. They all give the perfect amount of crunch!


Ingredients

Scale

For the croutons:

  • 6 slices bread, gluten free as needed (I used Canyon Bakehouse Heritage Style Multi Grain)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (can sub butter or ghee)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the cider vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the salad:

  • 68 cups salad greens (like romaine lettuce, green leaf or butter lettuce)
  • 812 oz. cooked, cubed chicken or turkey’
  • 46 slices cooked, crumbled bacon
  • 12 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs, diced or sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced or diced
  • 12 cups roasted diced butternut squash (or sweet potatoes)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Rosemary Croutons (or pumpkin seeds, pecans, or almonds)
  • Cider Vinaigrette

Instructions

For The Rosemary Croutons:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Dice bread into small cubes & spread out over a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine,
  4. Bake at 375 degrees 15-20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so for even browning.

For The Apple Cider Vinaigrette:

  1. Place all ingredients in a small jar or small bowl.
  2. Whisk until well combined (or put a lid on your jar and shake to combine).

For The Fall Cobb Salad:

  1. Make a bed of lettuce in a large bowl.
  2. Top lettuce with chicken/turkey, bacon, green onion, eggs, apple slices, squash, avocado and croutons
  3. Drizzle the salad with half of the cider vinaigrette & toss to combine, adding extra dressing as desired. Store extra vinaigrette in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: fall cobb salad, autumn cobb salad, thanksgiving leftovers salad, fall salad, thanksgiving salad, cobb salad recipe

Originally posted November 17, 2017. Fully updated September 2022.

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