Grilled Salmon Cobb Salad with Cilantro Buttermilk Dressing

We love a good Cobb salad and you can find one in just about every restaurant these days! This fun twist on the classic Cobb calls for grilled salmon instead of chicken. Plus, we couldn’t resist tossing is some of those gorgeous watermelon radishes, pickled red onions (which actually turn pink when pickled:), and Courtsie’s avocado roses. If you ever get a chance to try duck bacon, it’s amazing and also what we used for this salad!

The veggies for this salad are truly a rainbow of colors and they look so pretty with the salmon. It’s a fun way to treat friends to lunch or Sunday brunch. Use any bacon you like best, or no bacon at all. We actually have kind of become addicted to D’Artagnan’s Uncured Smoked Duck Bacon. It’s fantastic and also great to use in wedge salads or with eggs for breakfast!

The Cilantro-Buttermilk Dressing is basically a combination of a white wine vinaigrette and a very thin ranch dressing. We make our own ranch seasoning mix and then add it to this delicious dressing. You can see how we make that in the recipe below. When we make the seasoning mix we make a big batch that lasts for several batches of either regular ranch dressing, this cilantro-buttermilk dressing, or our creamy feta & yogurt ranch dressing. Oh, that is so good and we will post that recipe soon!

We suggest making the Ranch Seasoning Mix and the Cilantro-Buttermilk Dressing a day ahead of time. You can also grill the fish the day before and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve it. If you are super motivated, by all means, avocado roses will really impress your guests, but if you’re short on time, you can simply cut the avocado into bite-sized pieces and it will be awesome, too. Here is a really great video on how to make avocado roses!

Grilled Salmon Cobb Salad with Cilantro-Buttermilk Dressing

Grilled salmon, boiled eggs, duck bacon, watermelon radishes, tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese over a bed of greens and cilantro with cilantro-buttermilk dressing.
Servings 4 Lunch Salads


Grilled Salmon

  • 1 lb. salmon fillet with skins on
  • 1-2 tsp. your favorite cajun seasoning

Pickled Red Onions

  • 2 16-oz. glass jars or containers for pickling and storing the onions
  • 1 medium-large red onion, thinly sliced with a knife or on the mandoline
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. sea salt or pink salt
  • 2 tsp. multicolored peppercorns

Cobb Salad Fixings

  • 8 cups baby greens or torn romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 4 boiled eggs, cut into quarters
  • 1 watermelon radish, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pickled red onions (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced cooked bacon we use duck bacon, but use the bacon you like best!
  • 12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 firm, but ripe, avocados, cut into cubes or made into avocado roses.

Ranch Seasoning Mix

  • 2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tsp. dried chives
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. onion flakes (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white or black pepper

Cilantro-Buttermilk Dressing

  • 2 tbsp. ranch seasoning mix (ingredients above)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk


Grilled Salmon

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  • Cut the salmon fillet into 1 1/2-inch strips, leaving the skin on the bottom. Place the fish on a piece of foil, skin side down. Season the tops of the fish with your favorite cajun seasoning.
  • Grill for about 2-3 minutes to get some good color on the fish, then tent the fish with foil and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes or until desired doneness. Timing will vary depending up on the grill heat and the way you like your fish cooked.
  • Remove the fish from the grill and set aside while you finish assembling the salad. You can also cook the fish ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pickled Red Onions

  • Mix together both vinegars, water, salt and sugar in a small pot. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Let cool for five minutes.
  • Meanwhile distribute sliced onions and peppercorns between the two glass jars. Fill the jars with the brine and cover the jars. Cool completely and then store in the refrigerator until they are pickled and ready to serve. This can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight, depending on the thickness of the onion slices.
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Assembling the Salad

  • Arrange the lettuce leaves on four individual plates or one large serving platter. Arrange all of the other salad fixings in whatever pretty fashion you like. If you are making avocado roses, make them and then plate them. If you want to be quick, just use avocado chunks instead. Drizzle dressing over the top and serve extra dressing on the side.

Ranch Seasoning Mix

  • Mix all of the herbs and spices together and store in an airtight jar. This mix is great for making regular ranch dressing too, and our yogurt-feta ranch dressing is also delicious.

Cilantro-Buttermilk Dressing

  • Place all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor and blend well. Pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Shake well before serving.
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Course: Salad
Keyword: cobb salad, grilled salmon, salmon cobb salad

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