I have always thought Cobb salads are so pretty. The way all the toppings line up, making it look so vibrant and colorful. I made this vegetarian Cobb salad with smoky chickpeas because I was in the mood for a beautiful Cobb salad that maintained some of the aspects of a classic Cobb salad, like hard boiled eggs and sharp cheese, but that was out of the box enough to be exciting and flavorful and vegetarian.
I wanted a vegetarian cobb salad that wouldn’t feel like it was missing the bacon. So I marinated some chickpeas in a smoky sauce and pan cooked them until roasty toasty. Not in imitation of bacon, but to fill that flavor space with something smoky. My daughter loves them and could eat the whole batch all on her own. She calls them “core memories” and pretends she is Joy from Inside Out.
I chose to top this vegetarian Cobb salad with corn and cranberries for a pop of sweetness, avocado for a little creaminess, eggs because they are classic Cobb salad, goat cheese because I’m obsessed with it, and tomatoes to add a little acidity. It all went really well with the smoky flavors of the chickpeas. You can mix up the toppings however you like and use whatever you have on hand. However I suggest definitely keeping the eggs, chickpeas, some sort of sharp cheese, and some sort of sweet element.
I love love love this salad with my Chick-fil-a Sauce Inspired Salad Dressing from my last post. Its smoky and sweet and pairs perfectly with the smoky chickpeas.
As you make this, just remember to plan enough time to boil the eggs, marinate the chickpeas, and whip up the dressing. Other than that, it comes together pretty quickly. You could boil your eggs and make the dressing up to a couple days early. And the marinade can be started 24 hours ahead of time to make dinner time even quicker. You are going to love this colorful vegetarian cobb salad!