This Cobb salad meal prep tutorial will help you prep ingredients for a week’s worth of delicious salads in an hour or less, including homemade dressing!
What’s your lunch situation? Mine is pretty abysmal, I have to admit. And that’s really sad, because you guys, I’m a food blogger. Everything I eat is supposed to be delicious, gourmet, and totally Instagrammable, right? This is not the case.
What’s funny is that when I was a teacher, I used to think that people who worked outside of schools pretty much had it made. I mean, I always ate lunch with my kids (not required, but preschool teachers know this is best practice) so lunch usually meant scarfing whatever I was eating while simultaneously opening yogurt pouches and milk cartons, refereeing arguments, and making sure everyone stayed in their seat. Oh, wait, don’t forget the time I was told I was a terrible human being for not sharing my cheese dip with a kid from another class because he “liked cheese dip too” and “adults are supposed to share their food with kids”. Never mind that he had a full lunch in front of him and I had two tablespoons of cheese dip. Anyway…
Fast forward to today. There are many great things about my job, but the lunch arrangement is not one of them. I never thought that eating at a table would feel like a treat. Seriously. There are weeks that it doesn’t happen at all. I frequently eat in my car…it’s been a while since I’ve had to eat while driving, but there was definitely a period of time when everything had to be able to be consumed with one hand and no utensils. I have an office, but it is very rare that I’m there at lunch time (or at all). I’ve started forcing myself to frequently pack a lunch that requires utensils so I am forced to at least eat my lunch while not driving. Microwave access is definitely an issue, so it’s either got to be cold or able to go into a Thermos unless I know that I’ll be able to use a microwave, which is rare.
Plus, I’m terrible at packing my lunch. I do best when I plan ahead (big surprise there). I am not a person who can eat a PB&J every single day, but if I plan something really good I can eat it for a week without feeling like I’m gonna lose my mind. Turkey & cheese croissants, soup in a Thermos, and a really good salad are some of my faves. I’ve decided to really make an effort to spend the time prepping everything on Sundays so I don’t have to stress over it on weeknights.
One thing…I don’t really like the whole “put everything in the containers on Sunday night and just grab them as you need them” idea, at least not for salads. There’s too much danger of things getting soggy or rotty and I’m not down with that. So, I prep everything ahead like a little mini salad bar and then assemble the salad the night before so I can pick out any unsavory bits.
This Cobb salad is super simple. It took me about an hour from start to finish, including making the dressing, roasting the chickpeas, boiling the eggs, and chopping the lettuce, cheese, and cucumbers. Cobb salad usually has chicken, but I really, really dislike chicken that’s been sitting in the fridge, so I subbed in the crispy roasted chickpeas. Also, Cobb salad is traditionally served with a vinaigrette, but I made my own ranch using the recipe from the BTC Old-Fashioned Grocery cookbook (affiliate link)(and here’s my own ranch dressing recipe). Everything gets its own container and I assemble it in my Systema salad container the night before. This salad will get me through the week, and I’ll start over again next Sunday!
Recommended for this recipe:
Yield: 5 salads
30 minPrep Time:
30 minTotal Time:
- 2-3 hearts of romaine
- 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
- 1 package grape tomatoes
- 2 avocados
- 5 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed, or crumbled blue cheese
- 5 strips bacon, cooked
- 5 eggs, boiled
- your choice of dressing
- your choice of crunchy toppings - I used roasted chickpeas, sesame sticks, and roasted, salted pistachios
- Chop the romaine into bite-sized pieces. Place in a salad spinner and fill with water then drain and spin, or place in a colander and rinse thoroughly then shake the colander. Spread the lettuce down the center of a strip of 4 or 5 paper towels then roll the lettuce up. Place the lettuce in a gallon-sized zipper bag and refrigerate.
- Store the cucumbers in a covered bowl. Store the cheese in a sandwich bag or a covered bowl. Store the bacon in whole strips in a sandwich bag and the eggs in an egg carton, unpeeled.
- To assemble the salad, place a few handfuls of lettuce (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups), a couple of spoonfuls of cucumber, 3 or 4 tomatoes, 1/4 avocado (I leave it in the peel then just scoop it out before I eat), and a diced egg in a covered bowl. In a separate container (or a separate section of a salad container), place a piece of bacon, chopped, an ounce (about 1/4 cup) of cheese, your choice of crunchy toppings, and a small container of dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve or carry in a bag with ice packs.
You can add chopped chicken, turkey, or ham to this salad if you would like.
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