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Deconstructed Cobb Salad: When No One Likes Anything!

Cliched though it may be, I full subscribe to the "I am NOT a short order cook" school of dinnertime. I pretty much make one dinner for all, and all will have at least part of the meal I've prepared.

Having raised 2 picky eaters (and right on track with my 3rd), I realized long ago that preparing one meal-versus several, to appease "discerning palates" would go a long way toward making meal time much less stressful (especially for me!). Fruit, cheese and yogurt are always on-hand, and no one has starved. Yet.

That said, there are some meals that just naturally lend themselves to families where "she likes this/he likes that" is the norm. Like this "deconstructed" cobb salad:

This is a SUPER easy weeknight meal that will see you through many a summer evening. The delicious dressing serves as both marinade and vinaigrette, and there are infinite variations on the recipe I've shared here.

Best of all, everyone can have exactly what they like-and avoid what they don't. So your plate can look like this:

While (ahem) "someone else's" can look like this:

(Full disclosure: he ate all the chicken, AND more feta and bacon).

Feel free to swap out the chicken for some grilled shrimp or flank steak, and add in your favorite veggies. I've tossed in drained chickpeas, toasted cubes of bread and tiny mozzarella balls-it's all good.

Like me, I know you'll find yourself making this recipe again and again!

RECIPE: Deconstructed Cobb Salad

adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Serves 4


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 12 bacon slices, cooked till crisp, drained and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 package romaine hearts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, diced
  • 3 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced


  1. Place chicken in a large ziploc bag.
  2. In a small jar combine the vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper-close the jar and shake well. Add the olive oil and shake again. Pour 1/4 cup of the dressing into the bag with the chicken; seal and toss to coat well. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes; keep the remaining dressing in the fridge till ready to use.
  3. Grill chicken till cooked through-slice and place on a serving platter.
  4. Arrange the remaining ingredients on the platter with the chicken and serve, passing the reserved dressing.
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