Honestly, I couldn’t think of any recipe that would be harder to veganize than the Cobb salad. Key components include boiled eggs, chicken, blue cheese, and bacon. Ugh. More than any other, this Vegan Cobb / Vobb salad puts all of my favorite veganizing techniques to the test…
To break it down, our Vobb starts with spinach tossed in a smoked paprika vinaigrette for the smokey, bacon-y flavor you’d expect in a Cobb. There’s some delicious baked tofu bites which have the flavor and texture of boiled eggs, there’s sautéed oyster mushrooms that taste just like chicken, plenty of fresh tomato and avocado, and the whole thing is topped with crumbled cashew/nutritional yeast “blue cheese” bits. It’s really ridiculous, really fun to make, and it actually tastes like a Cobb salad!
Makes 2 big Salads
- 12 oz extra-firm tofu
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1/3 cup fine-ground cornmeal
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons raw cashews
- 12 oz chopped oyster mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 roma tomato
- 1/2 avocado
- 3-4 large handfuls of spinach (or other greens)
- Red wine vinaigrette (below) or other dressing
Preheat the oven to 400º F
Step One: The Tofu “boiled egg”
These little tofu bits are one of my favorite snacks. I actually posted a whole recipe on them a while back, though this one is slightly different and has a very egg-like flavor and texture.
To make, first lay out two large bowls: one with soy (non-dairy) milk and another with a mixture of 1/3 cup cornmeal, 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Then, chop up a block of extra-firm tofu into small pieces and using your left hand, dunk a handful of the tofu pieces into the soy milk then transfer to the bowl with the cornmeal mixture. Swirl around until coated, then use your right hand to place the coated bits on a baking sheet (this process prevents your hands from becoming as coated as the tofu pieces). Bake these at 400º F for about 30 minutes until the outsides are crispy but not burned. You’ll have plenty of leftovers for snacks.
Step Two: The Oyster Mushroom “Chicken”
A proper Cobb salad always has some kind of chicken… and a proper Vobb salad always has oyster mushrooms! I’ve used these mushrooms extensively, and they taste surprisingly like chicken when cooked correctly. To make that happen, chop the mushrooms into small bits and sauté over medium heat with a tablespoon of soy sauce, some garlic powder, and a pinch of black pepper. Allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes until they’ve reduced about 50% in size and taste amazing. Set these aside.
NOTE: Oysters definitely work best here, but you could use other types of mushrooms if you can’t find oysters.
Step Three: The Cashew Blue Cheese Crumbles
These might just be my favorite component of this recipe. No, they aren’t blue but they do taste quite a bit like blue cheese crumbles in this salad. To make, first combine 3 tablespoons of raw cashews in a blender with 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast and some salt. Blend until pulverized into a powder. Transfer to a small bowl and add a tiny amount of non-dairy milk – about 1/2 teaspoon. Then using a fork, quickly incorporate the liquid until you have a crumbly mixture. Cheese crumbles! 🙂
Step Four: Preparing the Salad
With the “eggs” and the “chicken” and the “blue cheese” ready to go, the hard work is done. To prepare the salad itself, grab some leafy greens (I used spinach) and toss the greens with the dressing. There’s an awesome smoked paprika vinaigrette below, but feel free to use your favorite recipe as well.
Add these dressed greens to the base of serving bowls then line with a row of each: chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, oyster mushrooms, and tofu bits. Then sprinkle the whole thing with the blue cheese bits and your Vobb salad is complete!
Smoked Paprika Red Wine Vinaigrette
You could use any dressing you like here, but this is the one I developed specifically for this recipe. It’s like a regular red wine vinaigrette with dijon mustard, but I also added smoked paprika to give this Cobb a nice smokey, bacon-y flavor.
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt, to taste
To make simply combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until mixed. This dressing could be doubled or tripled and stored, refrigerated, in a mason jar for 2+ weeks.