Protein Cobb Salad – The REAL Jennifer Aniston Salad

This protein Cobb salad packs in over 45 grams of protein! It’s loaded with romaine lettuce, chicken, turkey bacon, chickpeas, salami, tomatoes and cheese all tossed in a simple Italian dressing.

Did you know that the Jennifer Aniston salad that went viral a few years ago wasn’t actually the salad she ate on the set of Friends every day?! Yup, that’s right! She shared that the actual salad she ate every day was basically a spruced up protein Cobb salad with grilled chicken, turkey bacon, chickpeas and salami.

Since it was a salad packed with protein I knew I had to try it, and I’m so glad I did! This salad is flavorful and delicious and it’s packed with over 45 grams of protein per serving. Now, that’s my kind of meal-sized salad!

Why You’ll Love This Salad

  • Rich in Protein – With ingredients like chicken, turkey bacon, salami and chickpeas, this salad is packed with a whopping 47 grams of protein per serving, making it a filling lunch or dinner option.
  • Customizable – I love this salad as is, but feel free to add or take away ingredients based on your taste preferences or what ingredients you have on hand.
  • Easy – Despite its complex flavors, this salad is straightforward to prepare and comes together quickly, especially once you have your chicken and turkey bacon cooked and dressing prepped.
Ingredients measured out to make Jennifer Aniston Cobb Salad: Italian dressing, salami, turkey bacon, romaine, chickpeas, grilled chicken, pecorino romano and tomatoes.

Protein Cobb Salad Ingredients

  • romaine lettuce hearts – the leafy green base of this salad adding a nice crispness and crunch! I love the romaine in this salad, but feel free to swap it with your favorite leafy green.
  • grilled chicken – a great source of lean protein, grilled chicken helps make the salad filling and satisfying while being relatively low in fat. I used my air fryer chicken cutlets recipe, but you can also follow my grilled chicken recipe or prepare the chicken however you prefer.
  • chickpeas – this adds some more protein and fiber to the salad! Feel free to swap this with another white bean like cannellini beans or great northern beans.
  • turkey bacon – a lighter alternative to traditional pork bacon, turkey bacon offers the smoky flavors of bacon but with fewer calories and less saturated fat. Follow my recipe for turkey bacon in the oven for a quick and easy way to prepare it.
  • salami – adds a bold and savory flavor and more protein.
  • diced tomatoes – these add a vibrant, juicy freshness to the salad.
  • pecorino Romano cheese – gives this salad a sharp and salty taste. Italian cheese or parmesan cheese can also be used as an alternative.
  • Italian dressing vinaigrette – I made my homemade Italian dressing, but feel free to use your favorite store-bought dressing for a shortcut. If using a store-bought dressing just be sure to read those labels! Look for clean ingredient lists without cheap, hydrogenated oils, HFCS, tons of additives, food coloring and thickeners. I love the Primal Kitchen Italian Vinaigrette for a store-bought option.
Protein cobb salad in a large salad bowl being mixed with two wooden spoons.

How to Make Protein Cobb Salad

This salad is so easy to whip up! Once your chicken and turkey bacon is cooked and veggies are cut this salad comes together in a matter of minutes!

To assemble the salad, add the shredded romaine lettuce to a large bowl and top it with diced chicken, chickpeas, turkey bacon, salami, tomatoes and cheese. Drizzle with Italian dressing, toss to combine and serve. Enjoy!

Photo of a salad topped with chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, cheese, turkey bacon and salami. Photo beside is of the same salad topped with Italian dressing and served with salad spoons.

Recipe Tip!

When adding dressing to this salad, it’s best to start with a smaller amount and toss it well to coat everything evenly. This approach allows you to add more dressing to taste without overwhelming the salad, keeping it fresh and crisp.

Protein cobb salad in a large salad bowl.

Substitutions & Notes

  • Vegetarian – The main component of this salad is all the protein. It adds so much flavor! If you’re looking for a vegetarian salad try my vegan cobb salad instead!
  • Dairy-Free – Substitute the pecorino Romano cheese with a dairy-free alternative such as nutritional yeast or dairy-free cheese or skip it all together.
  • Customize it – Feel free to customize this salad with your favorite ingredients. You can add avocado, hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, bell pepper or olives for extra flavor and nutrition or swap the Italian dressing with another dressing. It would also be delicious with this lemon vinaigrette or white balsamic dressing.
Protein cobb salad on a small plate.

How to Meal Prep Protein Cobb Salad

If you want to meal prep this salad, you can prep all of the components in advance for faster assembly. Here’s what I would prep in advance:

  • Chicken – you can easily cook the chicken 1-2 days in advance and store it in the fridge so when you’re ready to make this salad all you have to do it chop up the chicken and toss it in the salad.
  • Turkey bacon – you can also cook this 1-2 days in advance and store it separately in the fridge until you’re ready to make the salad.
  • Chickpeas – drain and rinse your chickpeas ahead of time and store in a separate container in the fridge for faster assembly.
  • Italian dressing – another simple component to prep in advance!

How to Store Leftovers

This salad stores well and is excellent for leftovers, so don’t be afraid to make a big bowl! If you plan to have leftovers I would just portion out the amount you’re going to eat right away and only add dressing to that portion so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy as it sits.

To store the leftover salad, place it in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 2-3 days. When ready to serve, toss it with the dressing and enjoy.

More Meal-Sized Salads to Try

Be sure to check out all of the meal-sized salads as well as the full collection of salad recipes on EBF!

  • Add romaine lettuce to a large mixing bowl.

  • Top with diced and cooled grilled chicken, chickpeas, turkey bacon, salami, tomatoes and cheese.

  • Drizzle with italian dressing, toss and serve!

Serving: 1/2 recipe | Calories: 475kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 1483mg | Potassium: 728mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g

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

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