A classic Cobb salad typically consists of greens, tomato, bacon, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, blue cheese and vinaigrette.
And it is good.
But as we are all trying to eat less meat (there’s even a thing called “Meatless Monday”), we decided to tweak this formula just a bit – without sacrificing any flavor.
We started with the bacon. As vegan and vegetarian web sites and restaurants have become more commonplace, cooks have grown more inventive with respect to swapping plant-based ingredients for their four-legged equivalent. And shiitake “bacon” is a perfect example. Roasted mushrooms are extremely flavorful, and when thinly sliced they become crispy too. These are delicious, and a nice way to ease into more vegetable-based cooking.
And tofu is no newcomer – but this tofu will convert you if you’ve been lukewarm on it in the past. The secret is making it extra-crunchy – and the secret to extra-crunchy tofu is cornstarch. You won’t believe this tofu was oven-baked and not fried.
All the other components remain the same – we used kale to ramp up the nutrients and swapped the blue cheese for feta.
Vegetarian Cobb Salad:
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced 1/4″ thick
- 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
- 14 ounces firm tofu, weighted and drained
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups of kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 avocadoes
- 4 ounces feta, cubed
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, flipping occasionally, till crispy and golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet.
Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Slice the tofu through the center, then lengthwise in half and crosswise in thirds (for a total of 12 pieces). Whisk 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the soy sauce and paprika in a large bowl. Add the tofu and turn to coat. Sprinkle the cornstarch over and turn to coat again. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, turning once.
While the tofu is baking, place the eggs in a small pan and fill with water to cover. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let sit for seven minutes. Drain under cold water and peel.
Whisk the vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil, whisking till emulsified. Place the kale in a large bowl and pour enough dressing over just to coat. Use your hands to “massage” the dressing into the leaves, coating all sides. Set aside.
To serve, cut the eggs in half, and peel and slice the avocadoes. Arrange on a large platter with the mushrooms, tofu, kale, tomatoes and feta. Drizzle with the remaining dressing.