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grilled chicken cobb salad with balsamic-mustard vinaigrette and chipotle buttermilk dressing (via Bobby Flay)

Our neighbors, Kevin and Tara, are constantly giving us things. A swing set for the kids, dinosaurs, a whole bag of Cars toys (right in the middle of our son’s obsession with the movie), clothes for all the kids, learning laptops, two giant toddler car seats that were used maybe twice, and a giant Matchbox car carnival thing. It has a Ferris wheel. Awesome.

The most recent thing they gave us? Their Weber grill. Exactly like the one I had just purchased and assembled. When I told Kevin I got a new grill, he asked if I wanted his instead. He had upgraded to The Big Green Egg, and his Weber was sitting unused. Lonely. My new, unused Weber went right back in the box.

How did we get so lucky to have such nice neighbors? It’s best not to question it, I guess. We’ll just keep taking them cakes and cookies to say thanks.

I didn’t even have to ask Karen what she wanted me to make first on the grill. I mean, I did ask, of course. Never assume. But I guessed right. This incredible grilled chicken cobb salad from Bobby Flay. It explodes with flavor. Barbecue sauce. Two dressings: one balsamic, one chipotle buttermilk.Slow-grilled onions, a lot of blue cheese, hardboiled eggs (or not). For this one, we get out our giant plates (nearly platters) and heap on the goodness.


  • The Mesa BBQ sauce is outstanding and freezes perfectly, but your favorite bottled sauce does well in a pinch. We like Trader Joe’s sauce, for what it’s worth.
  • There are some not bad refrigerated buttermilk chipotle ranch dressings in the supermarket. But they aren’t great. Try to make your own, because it tastes better.
  • We drastically cut the oil in the balsamic dressing and we never miss it. 
  • You could use Vidalia instead of red onions throughout. You need a sweet pungent onion. I like the bite of red, but whatever makes you happy.
  • The fresh avocado here is amazing, but sometimes the store doesn’t anticipate my last-minute salad cravings. You could swap in a chunky guacamole here. We like Wholly Guacamole brand.
  • Bacon will not hurt this salad, but you don’t need it. I will not judge you.

This is a salad we crave, and my guess is you will, too. Perfect for the weekend. Or anytime you get a brand new (used) grill.

recipe | grilled chicken cobb salad with balsamic-mustard vinaigrette and chipotle buttermilk dressing (via Bobby Flay)

mesa bbq sauce

  • find it here on

balsamic-mustard vinaigrette

  • 6 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (we use 1/4 cup because of all the fat in the avocado and cheese)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the vinegar, mustard, onion, and sugar in a blender or food processor and let it spin. With the motor running, slowly add the oil. Season with salt and pepper. 

chipotle buttermilk dressing

  • 1/4 cup sour cream (reduced fat works)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle purée 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine everything in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. 


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 1/4 cups Mesa bbq sauce 
  • 2 large red onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Olive oil for brushing the onions
  • 8 cups mixed greens, washed and dried
  • 8 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 4 avocados, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces creamy blue cheese, crumbled
  • Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing
  • Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium high.

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and brush with mesa barbecue sauce. Grill, basting continuously with barbecue sauce, until golden brown and cooked through, 6 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.

Brush the onion slices with olive oil and grill until golden brown and slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes on each side (or longer if you like some char, which I do). In a large bowl, lightly toss the greens with the balsamic-mustard Vinaigrette and place on a large platter. Cut the chicken breasts on the bias into 1/2-inch slices. 

Arrange the chicken in the center of the platter, resting on the greens. Arrange the tomatoes, eggs, onion slices, and avocado slices around the chicken. Sprinkle with the crumbled blue cheese and drizzle with the chipotle buttermilk dressing.

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Reader Comments (16)

have to love that dressing. brilliant

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpenny aka jeroxie

DROOOL. even after a huge birthday party feast extravaganza here tonight, i have to admit, this made me salivate.

also - please share your/their impressions of the big green egg. it is on my list of possibilities when our grill dies. or i pay a stranger to steal that piece of crap in the middle of the night.

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

@penny - I have been known to eat the leftover dressings with a spoon.

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Pêche

@Anna - He loves it. Told me it was very much worth the investment. And it made great country-style pork ribs a few weeks ago.

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Pêche

There should be a "warning: may induce salivation" clause on this post. Good lord. Guess I know what I want for lunch, now.

August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMir

Any dressing with sour cream AND buttermilk has got to be good. Yum!

August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterA Thought For Food

You got my attention with that salad! Looks scrumptious.. Thank your neighbors for me - lol..

August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

This is a perfect salad! Love the chipotle in the dressing. This will work perfectly for my husband!

August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim (Liv Life)

Looked good enough to eat. So I did. I doctored some store bought BBQ sauce cause I wanted to get rid of it but did make the chipotle dressing and it was so good I can't imagine another. I actually subbed with Greek Yogurt for the sour cream.

All that was missing was avocado. Sucker were not quite ripe enough, so into a bag with an apple they went for the 'leftovers' which in my language means? Dinner again tonight!

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara @ VinoLuciStyle

OK- so no need to buy cookbooks anymore - will just come here to get my recipes. FABULOUS!!!!

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSMITH BITES

This salad looks absolutely delicious. And, I need neighbors like yours. You definitely got super lucky!

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbaking.serendipity

Thanks, all, for the nice comments and especially to @Barbara for making it. @Smith Bites - We only share what we love, and we love Bobby Flay's cookbook, Boy Meets Grill. Never stop buying cookbooks! We love the work people put out there and only want to celebrate it! But definitely, definitely, make this salad.

August 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Pêche

Just after my niece was born, I went to Texas to care for her when my sister had to go back to work. Ah, the perks of being able to work from wherever I want to. My nephew was just 2, and I'll admit we all sort of fell into that 'let the kid watch TV, the baby needs to be fed!' trap. And we watched Cars. Cars, Cars, CARS. My husband and I can quote that movie from start of finish, and we don't even *have* kids. I can quote Ratatouille too, but that's neither here nor there!

I hope you won't judge me if I add bacon and lose the hardboiled eggs when I make this. Hardboiled eggs are from the devil.

Can't wait to hang out with you guys again.

This sounds like a wonderful summer salad! I have yet to make a cobb salad even though I love to get them when we go out, so I will definitely add this one to my list of things to make (or have my husband make) on the grill! :-)

August 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

A perfect summer salad, love all the flavors. How lucky are you to have such incredible neighbors! I'm sure you're neighbors are equally as lucky to have you as neighbors as well.

August 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfortheloveofyum

This is so my style, looks great...thanks!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSouffle Bombay

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