Every restaurant has a chicken sandwich on its menu these days, and if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably been going out of your way to try them all so you can determine for yourself who the true winner of the chicken sandwich war is. That being said, the fast-food industry’s collective quest to produce the best fried poultry between two buns has been going on for two years with no real end in sight, and to be perfectly honest, we’re a little chicken-sandwiched out. Fortunately, most places have a fairly diverse menu that includes things like burgers, wraps, and fish sandwiches alongside their chicken sandos. But if you’re grabbing a meal from Chick-fil-A, it’s a bit more difficult to find something besides chicken to munch on. The chain’s mac & cheese is a potential option, as are its best-selling waffle fries, though these might not be enough to keep you full until your next meal, nor are they exactly bursting with nutritional value. Perhaps a nice salad will do instead?
Per the Chick-fil-A website, the Georgia-based eatery offers three entrée salads, including a hearty Cobb that features all the classic elements of the veggie-centric dish with a few unique twists – intrigued yet? If you’re starting to think you might swap your usual chicken sandwich for Chick-fil-A’s Cobb Salad, here’s everything you need to know before braving the drive-thru line to order the meal.
What is Chick-fil-A’s Cobb Salad?
Just like many of today’s biggest stars, the Cobb salad got its start in Hollywood, California, though the year it was created is a little unclear. Some say that the tasty meal was born in 1929 while others claim 1937 was the year that it came to fruition (via Your Observer), and while we may never get a definite answer as to when the first Cobb salad was put together, the ingredients that go into it are fairly clear. Per Chef Billy Parisi, the traditional version of this dish has a base of mixed leafy greens (usually romaine, chicory, and cress) and is topped with bacon, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, avocado, bleu cheese, and chicken. Chick-fil-A’s version, meanwhile, doesn’t deviate too far.
Introduced to the menu in 2013 (via PR Newswire), the eatery’s take on the iconic Cobb comes with the usual bed of mixed greens, bacon, eggs, and grape tomatoes, but also adds a few "elements of surprise" (via The Chicken Wire). Instead of bleu cheese, Chick-fil-A chef Angela Wadlington opted for a less controversial blend of Cheddar and Monterey Jack when creating the chain’s Cobb salad, and also threw in roasted corn, charred tomatoes, and crispy red peppers to make the dish "a nice blend of eating better with the indulgence of the original." Top it off with some protein if you’d like and a douse of the restaurant’s avocado lime ranch dressing and there you have it! A meal certainly worthy of replacing your usual chicken sandwich.
Are there different versions of Chick-fil-A’s Cobb Salad available?
Cobb salads are a standard offering at most restaurants these days, and while each establishment will usually give it some sort of twist, like Chick-fil-A with its additions of roasted corn and crispy red peppers, the dish at its core will be the same no matter where you place an order for it. You’re more than likely never going to see S. Truett Cathy’s pride and joy serving up two different types of Cobb salad – they are a chicken sandwich joint, after all – though the chain does allow customers a few customization options to make the meal their own.
Along with your choice of dressing, the main way that you can personalize your Chick-fil-A Cobb Salad is with the protein you add to it, or if you even choose to add protein to it at all. Eggs and bacon make the dish fairly satisfying by itself, but if you still want to get a taste of the eatery’s delectable poultry, you have the option of topping your salad with any type of chicken that Chick-fil-A serves. The chain suggests getting your Cobb salad with a hearty serving of its pressure-cooked chicken nuggets, but, per the Chick-fil-A website, you also have the ability to swap them out for the grilled nuggets, Chick-n-Strips, or even an entire chicken patty. You can also request a spicy grilled or crispy chicken fillet on top of your Cobb salad to give it a bit of a kick.
How much does Chick-fil-A’s Cobb Salad cost?
Competition amongst fast-food chains is stiff, and one of the biggest ways to bring in customers is by offering delicious food at an affordable cost. Dollar menus and value meals are all the rage these days, so Chick-fil-A’s nearly $9.00 Cobb Salad may not present itself as an option that’s easy on the wallet, especially when a Chick-fil-A sandwich combo gets you two of the chain’s most popular items plus a drink for an average of $7.59 (via Fast Food Price). However, when breaking down the Cobb salad’s price tag a little further, you’ll see that it’s easy to justify purchasing the meal.
Per Fast Food Price, a Chick-fil-A Cobb Salad sans the addition of nuggets or any other type of chicken topping rings in at an average of $6.75, which isn’t terrible when considering that the chain brings in fresh veggies on almost a daily basis to make it (via Chick-fil-A’s website). That price jumps to $8.99 with the addition of one of the various protein options, but when a 5-count order of chicken nuggets runs you about $2.75, the combination of the two menu items really is a pretty good deal. Factor in the possibility of splitting this massive entrée salad into two separate meals that average $4.50 each. When many of us are spending that much on our morning coffee alone, it’s safe to say that CFA’s Cobb Salad is a steal.
Nutritional information for Chick-fil-A’s Cobb Salad
Chick-fil-A is generally regarded as being a healthier option when compared to the other fast-food establishments out there, so ordering the chain’s Cobb salad over a Spicy Deluxe sandwich and waffle fries will probably have you thinking that you’ve made an excellent choice in terms of both nutrition and taste. Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly the case. Yes, the Cobb salad is packed with fresh veggies, but topping them with chicken nuggets and avocado lime ranch dressing like the restaurant suggests contains a total of 850 calories, making it just shy of the 880 that can be found in two – yes, two – signature chicken sandwiches (via Chick-fil-A’s website). That same combination also packs 61 grams of fat, 34 grams of carbs, and a whopping 2220 milligrams of sodium, which is especially concerning since the FDA reports that adults should limit their sodium intake to 2300 milligrams a day. Yikes!
Fortunately, there are some adjustments you can make to Chick-fil-A’s Cobb Salad into less of a calorie-laden meal. Nutritionist Lisa Richards explained to TODAY that opting for grilled proteins over fried is one place to start, and in the case of the Cobb from CFA, topping it with grilled nuggets will cut out 120 calories. Swapping out the 310-calorie avocado lime ranch dressing for something else, like the chain’s 25-calorie light Italian, will make this meal a bit healthier as well.
Is Chick-fil-A’s Cobb Salad any good?
Price and nutritional value are both factors to consider when deciding whether or not you want to swap your chicken sandwich for a Cobb salad during your next trip to Chick-fil-A, but none of it matters if the taste of the meal isn’t up to par. Considering that the chain is known mostly for its chicken products, you might think that its salads, in general, could be a bit of an afterthought. However, it appears that Chick-fil-A takes just as much pride in its veggie options as it does in its poultry, and when it comes to the salads that Chick-fil-A offers, the Cobb has been favored more than others by customers in the past (via The Chicken Wire).
Fast Food Menu Prices‘ review of the meal pointed out that the CFA Cobb Salad was not only visually appealing but also packed an "exciting flavor combination" with each bite. "The crumbled bacon and chicken nugget slices offer a strong crunch that I like, and because the lettuce is cut fresh daily, it maintains its shape and crispness without being soggy or saggy," the reviewer wrote, ultimately dubbing it one of their favorite fast food options. Another fan on Reddit even said that they would pick the dish, along with one of the restaurant’s frosted lemonade drinks, as their "death row last meal." With such high praise from several sources, it’s clear that Chick-fil-A’s Cobb Salad is worth a try at least once.