Kale and Sweet Potato Cobb Salad

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With tender, smoky sweet potato, fresh kale, and pickled red onions this Kale and Sweet Potato Cobb Salad is a delicious twist on a traditional Cobb Salad. It can be served year-round but is particularly cozy in the cooler winter months.

kale salad on a white plate

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If you need a beautiful and absolutely delicious salad to brighten up your dinner table, this Cobb Salad is it. With roasted sweet potatoes, shredded chicken, pickled red onions, tender shredded kale, and crispy bacon, this really is an entire meal on its own. Serve it with crusty no-knead bread, and it is sure to be a dinner you’ll return to again and again. And even though there are a few moving parts, you can meal prep them all up to four days ahead of time so this salad will be ready whenever you are. 

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The Best Salad Dressing for Kale Salad

Don’t forget that you’ll need a delicious salad dressing to bring any kale salad together. Kale has an earthy, subtle bitterness that goes incredibly well with the balance of vinaigrette. I love the tart-sweet balance of Balsamic Vinaigrette, but it’s also fantastic with Apple Cider Vinaigrette. If you like a creamy dressing, try it with Creamy Honey Mustard (Love and Lemons has a good one), Blue Cheese Dressing, or Creamy Herb Yogurt Dressing.

balsamic vinaigrette in a small glass jar

Ingredients for Kale and Sweet Potato Cobb Salad

This salad includes nearly all of the classic ingredients of a Cobb Salad, but with a few flavor-packed twists that make it even better! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Curly-Leaf Kale – Shredded curly-leaf kale makes for a beautiful, hearty salad base but also goes well with the cooler-weather flavors of the sweet potato and blue cheese.
  • Roasted Sweet Potato – Tender roasted sweet potato rounds or cubes add natural sweetness.
  • Crispy Bacon and Shredded Chicken – Totally classic! Crispy bacon for crunch and shredded chicken to make this salad really feel like a complete meal. Since the oven is already on, I like to cook the bacon in the oven (it means you can add a few extra slices to snack on too!).
  • Avocado – Avocado just makes every salad better. 
  • Blue Cheese – Savory, funky blue cheese fits right in with the flavors in this salad, but if blue cheese isn’t your thing, I get it. Try goat cheese instead.
  • Red Onions (pickled or not) Pickled red onions are a staple in my fridge, and only take a few minutes to make. But if you’re short on time, thinly slice red onions and add them raw, or let them bake with the sweet potatoes to remove the onion-y bite. 
  • Boiled Eggs – I like them soft-boiled if I’m serving the salad right away or hard-boiled if I’m making this salad for meal prep. See the notes in the recipe below for my tried and true method for boiling eggs. 
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette – The flavors in this classic dressing are hard to beat, but check out the list at the top of the page for other ideas. 
boiled eggs in ice water in a glass bowl
pickled red onions in glass jars on a grey countertop

How to Serve a Cobb Salad

Because Cobb Salads have so many beautiful, colorful ingredients, they are best served plated or composed. Spread a layer of lightly dressed greens out over the plate and arrange all of the other ingredients on top. Drizzle with some additional dressing and serve. 

Variations

  • Make it vegetarian – Use pepitas / pumpkin seeds in place of the bacon to give the salad texture and flavor. Skip the chicken entirely, or top it with crispy roasted chickpeas instead. 
  • Use different greens – Not a kale fan? Or do you just have some other greens you want to use up? Baby spinach or mixed greens are great options. 
  • Change the cheese – If you want to skip the blue cheese, goat cheese is a great option. It’s a natural fit with sweet potatoes, bacon, and kale.
kale in a salad spinner on a grey countertop

FAQs

Can this be made ahead?

Yes! And it’s a great salad to make for meal prep lunches. Kale is sturdy and can be stored, even after mixed with the dressing, in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. For best results, wait to add the eggs and any extra dressing until right before serving. 

What makes it a Cobb salad?

While there are many variations, a traditional American Cobb salad is a composed salad made with a bed of crisp salad greens like Romaine lettuce, topped with chopped tomato, bacon, chicken, avocado, blue cheese, and hard-boiled eggs. It’s usually served with tart vinaigrette. 

Can I use a different salad dressing?

Absolutely. Almost any salad dressing would be great. I love a Cobb salad with a creamy dressing like creamy honey mustard, blue cheese, or ranch or a lighter Italian herb would be great too. Feel free to grab bottled dressing to save yourself time. 

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kale and sweet potato cobb salad
5 from 1 vote

Kale and Sweet Potato Cobb Salad

You’re going to love the layers of flavor and texture in this cooler weather twist on a classic Cobb Salad. Smoky sweet potato, crispy bacon, fresh kale, pickled red onions, and avocados combine to make this a show-stopping salad that is hearty enough to serve as a meal.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Half Sheet Pans
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Shallow Bowls or Large Platter

Ingredients 

  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 strips uncooked bacon
  • 10 ounces curly-leaf kale (about one bunch of 6 to 8 large kale leaves)
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette, for serving
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 cups shredded chicken at room temperature (like from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 3 ounces blue cheese
  • 4 large boiled eggs (see note)

Instructions 

  • In the oven, arrange a rack in the lower position and another in the upper position and preheat it to 400°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Thinly slice the red onion. Quickly pickle the onions (see note below) or leave the onion raw to roast with the sweet potato. If the sweet potatoes are long and narrow, slice them into ½-inch rounds. If they are thick, slice them into ½ inch cubes. Toss the sweet potatoes and red onions (if using raw) with the olive oil and salt. Spread out on one of the prepared baking sheets and roast on the lower rack of the oven, without turning, until the sweet potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Line the strips of bacon up on the other baking sheet and bake on the upper rack of the oven, turning halfway through cooking, until crisp, 18 to 22 minutes. When the bacon is done, let it cool on a paper towel-lined plate and then crumble.
  • While everything is roasting, remove and discard the stems from the kale. Finely shred the leaves. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette to the kale and, with clean hands, gently massage it into the kale leaves. (This will tenderize the leaves and gently flavor them.) Slice the avocado.
  • Spread the kale out on a large platter or on four shallow bowls. Top the kale with sweet potatoes, onions, crumbled bacon, chicken, avocado slices, and crumbled blue cheese. Slice the eggs in half and serve them on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette until dressed to your liking. Enjoy!

Notes

Boiled Eggs – If you’re serving this right away, you can use soft-boiled eggs. If prepping ahead, serve the eggs hard-boiled. To boil the eggs, fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and heat it over high heat. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce the heat so that it is simmering gently with some small bubbles always rising up from the bottom of the pot. Use a slotted spoon to gently tip the eggs into the simmering water. Set a timer. For soft-boiled eggs, set the timer for 8 minutes. For hard-boiled eggs, set the timer for 12 minutes. Immediately transfer the eggs to ice water and then peel. 
Pickled Red Onions – If you want to quickly pickle the onions, use this recipe

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 558kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 271mg | Sodium: 1023mg | Potassium: 1270mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 23699IU | Vitamin C: 76mg | Calcium: 374mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $8.00
Calories: 558
Keyword: easy salad, easy salad recipe, Entree Salad, kale salad, lunch, meal prep, sweet potato recipe
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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