Recipes From the Road: Healthy Vegetarian Cobb Salad - This American Girl

Recipes From the Road: Healthy Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Salad in Nosara


In the past I’ve let you all know just how much I love food. My passion for savoring each mouthful is something I was simply born with. For me, cooking is an integral component to food adoration and appreciation, and has always been a part of my life. Likely due to the incredible freedom my mother gave me as a child in experimenting in the kitchen. I recall a time when I took almost every condiment out of the refrigerator, mixed them together with raw eggs into a “soup” and begged my mother to eat my concoction.


She of course did not.


Since then I have made leaps and bounds in my culinary skills. Thankfully.


Cooking grounds me. I feel relaxed when I’m methodically mincing an onion, playful as I experiment with flavors, and nurtured when I feast on the result. In fact, it is one of the best ways I have found to take care of myself. And when traveling the world, especially as a backpacker, it can be difficult to remember to simply take the steps to take care of oneself.


To stay healthy, to save money, and to simply feel taken care of, I cook while traveling as often as possible. Those of you who followed my and Andie’s journeys last year on CanYouStayForDinner may remember my recipe for ranchero sauce, which we slathered over everything known to man.


Now, I would like to begin a new series on this blog sharing some of my travel recipes with all of you.


Before I began traveling my cooking was often elaborate. Meals took hours to complete, required a multitude of spices, and often advanced kitchen equipment. Traveling forced me to let go of that method, and adopt a new style utilizing only local fresh ingredients available to me.


I have found that my style of cooking when traveling is not only simple and delicious, but also conducive to saving money and losing weight. The recipes I will be sharing with you have all been created while traveling abroad in hostels and cabins with limited culinary tools (at times I’m lucky to even have a cutting board and a sharp knife) and come together quite quickly.


Today I would like to share a recipe I created a few days ago while in Nosara, Costa Rica. The star of this recipe is the incredibly healthy and delicious oil free dressing, which I invented in an attempt to save money by not purchasing olive oil, an expensive commodity here in Costa Rica.




Healthy Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Serves one


For salad:

½ large head of romaine or other dark green leafy lettuce, chopped

½ large red ripe tomato, chopped

or half a cup of cherry tomatoes halved

½ firm but ripe avocado, sliced

½ cucumber, peeled and seeded, or use an English cucumber, chopped

¾ cup cooked chickpeas


For dressing and toppings:

½ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt

Juice from 1/2 lime

2 tablespoons minced purple onion or shallot

1 teaspoon minced raw garlic, use a garlic press if you have one

Handful of chopped basil

Handful of chopped raw almonds

Salt and pepper to taste


Place chopped lettuce in the bottom of a large, appetizing salad bowl. Layer the tomato, cucumber, avocado, and chickpeas in separate sections atop the lettuce. Sprinkle lightly with salt.


Whisk the yogurt, lime juice, onion, and garlic together in a small mixing bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Drizzle the yogurt dressing over the salad, and scatter the basil and almonds.


And most importantly of all, ENJOY! :)



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  1. Shawna Beamish Says: March 12, 2013 at 9:49 am

    YUM!!! :)

  2. I like the fact that you became “practical” when cooking (and that you are sharing your recipes!). The thing I used to dread most about cooking, was all of the fancy equipment, condiments and ingredients I thought I needed in order to create something delicious. It wasn’t until my ex-boyfriend showed me I didn’t need any special or complicated tools and ingredients that I begun to discover the joy in creating inside the kitchen. I learned to make home-made sushi and a tuna, onion and tomato pasta. Through your friend Andy’s blog, I have learned many delicious and healthy recipes! :)

  3. Don’t forget you got to draw on your tights with bananas! Can’t wait to try this new salad. Mom

  4. This looks amazing.

    I saw this and thought of you.

    I couldn’t find your email on your blog! :)

  5. This sounds GREAT!! And I’m so glad to hear about your new series since I have recently started a new series VERY similar to yours!!! I house sit full time….going from house to house to house. So even though I do have the use of their fancy kitchen tools I don’t stay at their house long enough to buy a lot of groceries and carry a lot of left over’s around with me. AND I’m trying to be healthier and lose weight! I hope you won’t mind if I try some of your recipes and talk about them on my blog?? This one sounds great…..although I will have to think of an alternative to the tomato’s……I don’t do tomato’s LOL!!