Our light version handily beats the classic loaded salad—in both flavor and nutrition.
Credit: Photo: Randy Mayor

The traditional cobb is chock-full of so many good things: crispy bacon, seasoned chicken, and mounds of blue cheese, avocado, and hard-boiled egg—too much of those good things, in fact. What might seem at first like a virtuous dish blows up nutritionally. The classic recipe boasts 62 grams of fat and more than half a day's worth of sodium per serving.

Reducing the amount of bacon and blue cheese was a good reminder of how far a small amount of these intense ingredients goes. But the real calorie culprits were the oil-based dressing and the avocado. Yes, they offered heart-healthy fats, but they weighed the classic version down with more than 400 calories. We cut back on both, favoring the avocado because of its rich flavor. The result is a bright, creamy dressing with 65% less fat.

Our next trick involved rigging up an easy stovetop smoker, which transformed ordinary chicken breast into a lower-sodium, flavor-packed star. Spinach and basil spruce up the romaine in our crisp, green base, and a sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese adds plenty of sharp, savory goodness. Topped with a little extra avocado and fresh summer tomatoes, our salad is not just healthy; it's utterly delicious—a new classic.


  • 717 calories per serving
  • 62 grams total fat
  • 1,244 milligrams sodium


  • 333 calories per serving
  • 21.7 grams total fat
  • 487 milligrams sodium