Southern Cobb Salad – A Southern take on a Cobb salad, loaded with fried chicken tenders, fresh strawberries, grapes, Granny Smith apples, candied pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Served with a homemade poppyseed dressing.
Salad? What’s this about a salad recipe???
Yeah, yeah, I know I don’t post a lot of these salad recipes, but when I do, trust me, it’s gonna be incredible. Just look at this avocado and charred corn salad I post last summer. Or this orchard harvest salad from the fall. Both are loaded with hearty ingredients and a killer homemade salad dressing.
Because we’re heading into prime season for produce, I thought I’d share another great salad recipe for you guys. But this one has a hint of indulgence that we love so much here and it comes in the form of fried chicken. Nothing makes a salad better than some fried chicken.
Along with the fried chicken, there are a few other Southern-inspired ingredients like candied pecans, crumbled goat cheese, and Granny smith apples. So I call this salad my Southern Cobb Salad. Check it out!
There are so many things I love about this salad: the combination of sweet and salty flavors, the plethora of textures going on, and, most certainly, the homemade poppyseed dressing.
I first tried this dressing on a pasta salad a while ago and feel head-over-heels for it. It was creamy and sweet and tangy. I knew it would go great with the fried chicken so I just had to use it in this recipe.
From the taste of it, you’d think the dressing would be complicated or take a lot to make. But it’s really not. It’s just Greek yogurt, apple cider, olive oil, honey, and Dijon mustard whisked together. Oh and the poppyseeds. That’s it!
The only other real work you have for this salad is making the fried chicken tenders. They’re really so simple to make. All you gotta do is marinade the chicken in a buttermilk mixture, dredge in some flour, and then fry to perfection.
The recipe for these fried chicken tenders is actually the same exact recipe as the tenders in these fried chicken tacos. In case frying is something you’re not super comfortable with, here are the tips I previously posted for making sure these tenders come out just right:
- This recipe calls for you to marinate the chicken in a buttermilk mixture before frying. Keep this in mind when prepping your meals. If eating this during the week, I recommend marinading in the morning so they’re ready for dinner that night. If you’re in a rush, 30 mins – 1 hour will be good enough, but just know that they’ll be even better when given some more time to marinade!
- Make sure the oil is hot before adding the chicken. The fried crust will get oily and soggy if it’s not fried in hot oil. This may mean that you have to let the oil back heat up in between batches. Ah, and speaking of batches…
- Make sure you are frying no more than 4 tenders at a time. If you crowd the frying pan, the oil temperature will drop and cause your chicken to get soggy. So you’ll probably need to fry the tenders in about 2 batches.
- When breading the chicken, make sure you cover completely with flour and press it into the chicken tender. This will help the breading stick on during the frying process.
- And lastly, if you’re unsure about the cooking time, test one chicken tender using the times I suggest below and then check to make sure the center is cooked. I always do this because cooking time can differ based on what kind of pan or stovetop you have.
Who knew a salad could look so good, huh?! What’s your favorite part about it? The dressing, the chicken, the fruit??? Good luck picking just one thing!
Here are all the kitchen tools and serveware that I used in today’s recipe. For each item sold below, I make a small commission. I only recommend items that I own and love so you can trust that each recommendation is tried and true. Thank you for supporting CPA!
Southern Cobb Salad
For the poppyseed dressing:
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon poppyseeds
For the fried chicken tenders:
- 3/4 pound chicken tenderloins
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder divided
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika divided
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2-3 cup canola or vegetable oil for frying
For the Southern cobb salad:
- 4-6 friend chicken tenders see recipe above
- 1/2 pound fresh strawberries
- 1 5-ounce bag romaine lettuce
- 1 cup red grapes
- 1 medium green apple
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/3 cup candied pecans
- homemade poppyseed dressing see recipe above
For the poppyseed dressing:
- Add all ingredients (except poppyseeds) to a large measuring cup. Whisk ingredients together. Add poppyseeds and stir together. Set in the refrigerator until ready to serve salad.
For the fried chicken tenders:
- First, we need to marinade the chicken tenders. Add tenders to a gallon ziplock bag. Add buttermilk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder. Seal bag and toss chicken to coat completely with spices and buttermilk. Place bag in a bowl and set in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and no more than 8 hours.
- Once chicken is done marinating, prepare the oil for frying. Place 2-3 cups of oil into a cast-iron skillet (should fill skillet halfway). heat over medium heat. The oil should take about 7-10 minutes to get hot.
- While oil gets hot, prepare the dredge. Add flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 3/8 teaspoon garlic powder, and baking powder to a shallow dish. Whisk to combine ingredients.
- Remove tenders from the refrigerator. Remove on tender from the bag and shake off excess buttermilk. Drop into flour mixture and toss with flour mixture to cover all edges of the tenderloin. Place tenderloin on a clean plate and repeat with rest of the tenderloins.
- Once oil is hot, place a tenderloin into oil. If it's sizzling, then oil is hot enough. Add 3 more tenderloins and cook all 4 tenderloins for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat with any remaining tenderloins. Let tenderloins cool.
To assemble the salads:
- Split romaine lettuce among two large plates. Chop cooked tenderloins into bite-sized pieces and split among both plates. Wash and slice strawberries and split among both plates. Wash and cut grapes in half and then split among both plates. Dice apple and split among both plates. Split pecans and goat cheese among both plates. Serve salads with prepared poppyseed dressing and enjoy!
Pin for later:
More recipes that you’ll love:
Cobb Salad Dip
Avocado and Charred Corn Chopped Salad
Orchard Harvest Salad
Fried Chicken Tacos
WOW! What a wonderful salad. Loved the combination of the fruit and chicken.
The dressing was a great touch for the salad. We will have this all the time
this summer. Thanks for sharing.
Stephanie Simmons says
This looks so incredible! I love a good salad in the summer and this one looks full of yummy ingredients!
Oh. My. Gosh, this looks awesome! I love salad especially when berries are involved!
Femi. O says
Just with a glance I knew I’d love this salad because it contains 4 of my favorite things on one plate: chicken, grapes, apples and strawberries! That is way to much goodness in one dish! I can’t wait to try this!
Now THIS is a salad my husband will actually want to eat! Fried chicken on salad sounds amazing!! What a great take on a classic salad – and perfect for summer with those gorgeous strawberries!
prasanna hede says
Oh I love this kind of salad bowl,where there is everything that I like.Delicious chicken and the poppy seed dressing is so good.
this salad looks so fresh and healthy! Perfect dish to serve this summer! Looking forward to trying this soon!
I’m SO with you on the salad recipe thing – I love that you share your favorite hearty salads only! I freaking LOVE cobb salads, but have never tried one with strawberries. I just moved to North Carolina, and I literally only see fresh strawberries everywhere I go. I feel this this is all meant to be, right? 🙂 Your photos are beautiful and your fried chicken sounds like perfection. Adding this to my list of summer salads!
My grandmother was from the south and made something really similar…. which I LOVED as a kid. I cant wait to try yours as I love the addition of the strawberries to it… 🙂
Hope this version lives up to hers!
Wow, this looks super delicious and actually, fun to eat. Love the flavor combinations you have here too!
That’s exactly what I wanted to hear!
What a beautiful salad! I haven’t had a cobb salad in years and now I want one! Thanks for the inspiration. :)I love those strawberries especially!
Yes, those are my favorite too!
Jessica Robinson says
Such a flavorful and delicious salad for the summer!! What amazing pics too!
Thanks so much!
This looks and sounds so delicious. I love making fun salads at home. Especially this time of year. I’m always wanting healthier options in the summer months. I’m definitely going to save this!
Yes me too! I had this salad 3 times this week!
This salad looks so good. I am going to have to keep it in mind for the next time I am supposed to bring a salad to my inlaws.
Thanks so much!
I love cobb salad. Such a great dinner salad. Perfect for hot weather eating. Great to take to all the BBQ parties too.
Tiffany Barry says
Looks so yummy! But that dijon dressing is to die for!
Yes! And so simple to make!
Niki at Toot's Mom is Tired says
That looks delicious! I’m obsessed with poppyseed dressing right now so I’m going to have to try this.
Isn’t that the best dressing?!
Pam Greer says
That is one gorgeous salad! I love that dressing and can’t wait to try it on this salad and others!! A great southern spin on a classic salad!
Thanks so much!
Veena Azmanov says
This would be perfect to make for a BBQ party or weekend dinner at our home. Love how simple and easy it is to make too. I love adding greek yogurt in my dressing too. Sounds so refreshing.
Yes, so refreshing, indeed!
What a salad! It looks super yum and is just what I was looking for to prepare for the upcoming party. Great ingredients, awesome mix and definitely stunning images!
Aw thanks so much!
Ugh, the sun was shining so bright today and I just WISH I was munching on this! It looks SOOOOO delish!!!
Thanks so much!
I love the Southern flair in this recipe. Sometimes salads can get boring but you have totally spiced up the traditional cobb salad.
Yes, this ain’t no boring salad, that’s for sure!
When the weather warms up, I crave nothing but salads. They are so light and delicious…this one is right up my alley. I love everything tossed in there!
BetH Eaton says
This looks amazing!! Definitely going to add this to my summer menu planning 🙂