I made this gorgeous AIP-friendly version of a Cobb salad as part of our “around-the-world” culinary adventures in 2020. I’ve learned so much during this year long project about things that I had never even thought about before. For example, I never knew that “baked beans” are called that because they are… baked! I just thought of them as coming out of a can; but in fact, if you make them from dried beans at home they get baked in the oven. And the Cobb salad is a true American invention, the state of California to be exact. Though sources disagree on what year it first debuted and who the chef was, it is indisputable that it is named after Robert Howard Cobb, who was the owner of the Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant in 1929 or within the decade after that.
Serving a Cobb Salad
The Cobb salad is typically arranged in an artistic fashion on a platter, but it truly is a chopped salad and should be tossed with dressing before you begin to eat it. You can serve it as a pre-meal salad or a heartier version can be a dinner meal. It should include chicken (my research says it can be broiled or grilled or poached, but not fried) and usually has some combination of crispy bacon, avocado, tomatoes, cheese (usually Roquefort), hard boiled eggs, and other vegetables. My AIP-friendly version omits the cheese but adds olives in order to get that salty bite, sliced grapes in place of the tomatoes, and double the avocado since we can’t have hard boiled eggs. Of course, if you have reintroduced any of these foods you could certainly use them!
What kind of bacon is AIP-compliant?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in the AIP world, I think! And the one that seems to generate the most amount of confusion and misconception.
When it comes to bacon, the two most critical things that make it safe for a person in the AIP elimination phase are:
- Can you verify it is grain free (most critically, gluten free)?
- Can you verify it is nightshade free?
The most common ingredients that would make you unable to answer yes to both of those questions are vinegar and spices. If you see either of those words and there is no additional information qualifying those ingredients, then you need to assume that one is not compliant.
Beyond that, it is up to you. Personally, I don’t care if sugar was used in the curing process and I’m not a stickler about the curing agent being natural or synthetic (for more on the myth of “uncured” bacon, read this article). I prefer to consume bacon made from pasture raised pigs, so I usually buy it from a local farmer.
AIP Reintroduction Ideas
This recipe for Cobb salad as written is compliant with the elimination phase of the autoimmune protocol (AIP), but you can easily adapt if you are ready to expand your horizons. Here are a couple ideas…
- Add black pepper (stage 1) to the poaching liquid in step 2 and/or the salad dressing in step 3.
- Add any of the following traditional Cobb salad toppings –
- Hard boiled eggs (stage 1 and 2)
- Cheese (stage 3)
- Tomatoes (stage 4)
Do you need a refresher on the reintroduction stages and the best way to test these foods? Check out this blog post by my friend and mentor Angie Alt – Reintroductions on AIP: The Definitive Guide.
Cobb Salad RecipePrint
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