This salad is the heathyish version of a California cobb salad. It’s got all the traditional ingredients like romaine lettuce, hardboiled eggs, tomatoes, chicken, avocado, chives, and cheese. The health-ified part is the bacon. I decided to make shiitake bacon using shiitake mushrooms, liquid smoke, toasted sesame oil, smoked paprika, and salt. It’s a crunchy, smoky, savory alternative to bacon, that has a very similar flavor and texture to the original.
If you wanted to make this salad totally vegetarian, you could omit the chicken, or substitute it for a faux-chicken that you find in the freezer section of your local grocery store. If you are going to make the chicken, I used a cast iron skillet to get a nice crispy outside, and I highly recommend you do the same. Although a nonstick pan will work if you don’t have a cast iron. OR if you’re in a pinch for time, you can just throw some rotisserie chicken on there.
The dressing I paired with the salad is a sweet mustard vinaigrette. All you need for it is olive oil, spicy brown mustard, honey, and rice vinegar. It’s super easy and the flavors pair incredibly well with the salad as a whole!
This recipe makes two incredibly large salads, or it could be broken up into four salad bowls if you aren’t as hungry. So the serving size is sorta up to you!
(Scroll past the recipe for my BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.)
Faux Bacon California Cobb Salad
This Faux Bacon California Cobb has all the usual suspects - romaine, chicken, eggs, avocado, tomatoes, herbed cheese, but uses shiitake bacon instead of regular bacon for a lighter option. Topped with a vibrant honey mustard vinaigrette, you'll love this salad for work or school lunches!
Faux Bacon Ingredients
- 5.5 oz (2 packed cups) shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, and sliced into 1/4" strips
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp Worcesershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt & pepper, to taste
- 6 large eggs
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1/4 cup herbed goat cheese (sub herbed feta)
- 1 tbsp chives, diced
Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette Ingredients
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
Faux Bacon Instructions
Preheat oven to 300.
In a medium bowl add all faux bacon ingredients. Toss gently until all mushrooms are evenly coated.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and add mushrooms, spread into an even layer. Bake for 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes. Leave to cool on the baking tray. (This will help it get crispy.)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling add eggs. Boil for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes transfer the eggs to an ice bath. Allow to cool COMPLETELY before cracking the shells and peeling. Slice into fourths, and set aside.
Crispy Skillet Chicken
Preheat oven to 350.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tbsp olive oil. (You can use a nonstick pan here if need be.) Season each side of each chicken breast with salt and pepper.
Add chicken breasts to the pan and cook on one side for 2-3 minutes, until seared and brown. Flip and cook on the second side for another 2-3 minutes.
Transfer skillet to the oven and finish cooking for another 10 minutes or so, or until the internal temperature reaches 165.
Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing each breast into 1/4" thick slices or bite sized pieces.
Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette Instructions
Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Divide romaine between 2-4 bowls. Top each bowl with an equal amount of chicken, eggs, tomatoes, avocado, faux bacon, herbed goat cheese, and chives. Serve with sweet mustard vinaigrette.
I’ve been keeping a secret from you for quite a while. And I’m so excited that I can finally fill you in on what is actually happening in my life. So here it goes…
I’M MOVING BACK TO LOS ANGELES IN JUNE.
Woof there I said it. (Did you get that the salad was a clue?) I figured a Faux Bacon California Cobb was the only appropriate meal to celebrate such a life change.
Now let me fill you in on all of the details. I know some of you may not even know that once upon a time I lived in LA, and a lot of you may be like, why the heck are you leaving NYC? WHAT HAPPENED?!? I’ll get to that, but let’s begin at the beginning.
In 2010 I moved to southern California to attend Chapman University, and study screen acting. That was what I thought I was going to do with my life. Midway through college, I moved up to LA. I was still in school, I just commuted like a crazy person. It was during this time that I started to become an adult, fell out of love with acting, started Brewing Happiness, and got lost in my disordered eating. A lot was happening for me all at once, and it was beautiful and challenging and high and extremely low.
So about a year and a half after graduating from college, I hit my wall. I was in a really dark place mentally and utterly overcome by my disordered eating. So I packed my stuff up and I moved back to Georgia. When I left California, I cried the whole cross country road trip. The west coast has and always will be a very special place to me. I became an adult there. My closest friends from school are there. I built a world there and I was tearing myself away from it. I knew it was what I had to do, but I also knew I wasn’t done with the West Coast.
In Atlanta, I lived with my sister for a while, and then finally got a place all to myself. I went to therapy. I mean, A LOT of therapy. I worked hard on myself. I learned to be alone. I worked hard on growing Brewing Happiness. I knew that Atlanta wasn’t my place long term, but it was exactly what I needed at the time. I put my life back together piece by piece here. This was when I finally started making money from Brewing Happiness. I started to become a sustainable human being in that place.
And then it was time to spread my wings again. I wasn’t ready to return to the West Coast yet, because in my mind, that’s probably a long-term move. And I needed a little bit more adventure before settling down. So my best friend, Shilo, and I decided to give Brooklyn a try.
Brooklyn has been a magical nearly two year adventure for me. It’s made me hustle harder than I ever thought possible. It’s allowed me to meet some of the most amazing humans I’ve ever encountered. It’s exhausted me. It’s made me feel alive. It was exactly the right place at the right time, but it doesn’t feel like home.
When I step off of the plane and into the California sunshine and dry heat, I feel at home. The logistical reasons for moving back are as follows…
- It’s no secret that I struggle with SAD, and the year round sunshine just makes sense for me.
- I need more space. I need a room for a studio and a kitchen with windows. I’m very tired of shooting all of my content in my bedroom, and I have ideas too big to accomplish in this space. So I am hoping to get a larger space that will allow Brewing Happiness to grow.
- The produce is better. It just is. And that matters a lot in this line of work.
- I have a lot of video clients in the LA area, and I’m hoping this will allow me to do more of that work.
- MY FRIENDS. I miss them. I have a lot of friends that feel like family in the LA area, and I’m ready to “come home” to them.
- HAVING A CAR. Wow life is easier when you can jump in the car and grab that thing at the grocery store that you forgot. NYC just makes those simple things very difficult.
So that’s it. That’s my big news. In May, I’ll be heading to LA for a few weeks to look at apartments and do some work. So follow along on social media (especially my Instagram stories) if you want that behind the scenes look. I will be packing up my life in June and moving to LA before July 1st.
If you’re in NYC – let’s find a time to hug and say goodbye. (Don’t worry I’ll be back to visit a lot.)
If you’re in LA – say hello! I’m so excited to see you soon. xo.