Entertaining Guests with a Vegan Cobb Salad

Vegan Cobb Salad

Our dinner party took a little turn when the guests who were invited for dinner let us know they are following a vegan diet, which is also called a “plant-based diet.”

I really appreciated them letting us know, because honestly, I don’t mind changing things up a bit with my menu planning! Usually I make worry-free stand-by recipes. But this time I went to the Kathy from LunchboxBunch.com website and made her amazing Cobb Salad.

I figured salad was safe, right? Salad and pasta.

Vegan Cobb Salad

Vegan Cobb Salad

Vegan Cobb Salad

Vegan Cobb Salad

One thing I’ve learned about vegans is they don’t expect you to come up with a brand new meal for them. They are usually good with salad, maybe a hummus appetizer, and even chips and guacamole. My experience is that, just like anyone else, vegans are just grateful to be invited over.

Other ideas for last-minute guests who are eating a plant-based diet would be quick vegan standbys, like quesadillas with hummus, instead of cheese, to hold the ingredients together. There’s chickpea, beet veggie salads. I like the idea of hosting a salad bar in general – where guests with varying diets can make their own salad!

Cooking a different diet for guests might give you an initial “panic” but with the amazing Internet now, it’s so easy to find recipes! I asked on Facebook and received lots of replies and recommendations for sites/recipes from readers.

So don’t let fear stop you. Try a new recipe, and it’s okay to let your guests know that it’s a “new one.” That maybe you’re out of your “cooking zone” but you were willing to give it a shot!

I’m glad our guests said yes to our invite.

And I’m glad they let us know about their diet.

And I LOVE the new recipe I found and served, and we will make it again!

How do you handle different diets when entertaining?

Vegan Cobb Salad


Recipe: The Vegan Cobb Salad {ReluctantEntertainer.com}

Summary: Adapted from LunchboxBunch.com. Makes one giant big bowl.


  • 6 cups of chopped fresh spinach – or another salad green for the base
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/3 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion – tossed in black pepper
  • 1 avocado, chopped – tossed in the juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chilled kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup hearts of palm (diced) – tossed in 1/8 tsp turmeric + 1 tsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar + 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast


  1. Toss your spinach in a light salad dressing – only if serving immediately. If your Cobb will sit for a while, leave greens undressed.
  2. For your hearts of palm – only toss half of them in the yellow turmeric mix. This way you will have half white and half yellow. Just like an egg would look. Continue assembling salad – add all your ingredients in thin rows across the top.
  3. Serve with your favorite dressing.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4


21 comments on “Entertaining Guests with a Vegan Cobb Salad”

  1. I love this post!!!! We love meat but we have also been eating more vegan, plant-based meals and it is astonishing how any delicious and easy ideas there are when you just get away from the “meat, starch, veg” concept of what a meal should be. Great post!

  2. now THIS is my kind of salad, Sandy! having followed this style for years, I LOVE to entertain and show people how flavorful plant based can be! my “change” is often when I am cooking for meat eaters, either assigning Jason to cook/grill the meat, and or come up with creative dishes they will enjoy!

    this salad looks fantastic.

  3. Oh, you KNOW I have to love this recipe! Having been a vegan for several years now I always am so impressed by people who have us over as guests and prepare something for us well. Of course, I always offer to bring our own food – I think that should be expected of anyone with a special diet. But that said, when someone offers to fix something, it’s so nice. And if they served this salad? I would be in hog heaven! Can I say that as a vegan? You know what I mean!

  4. What a delicious salad and it is always a great idea to be so considerate of your guests.

  5. This is a great post Sandy. I did one awhile back (probably needs to be updated), but we have so many friends with dietary preferences or needs now that one can easily get intimidated. I just opted to jump in with both feet and learn new recipes. I’ve posted several on my blog. I’m so glad I did. This recipe sounds yummy. I’ve never had hearts of palm.


    • The hearts of palm actually reminded me of eggs, in a way. Yes, once you do it – it’s less intimidating. Love that you reached out to your friends and did that for them! Good hostess! :)

  6. I had this very issue come up when we invited a new couple to our church staff over for dinner! Everything I could think of had cheese or eggs or meat in it! I eventually settled on a burrito bowl type of approach and made meat as one of the toppings. I’ll add this idea to my repertoire! This post is so helpful, Sandy! Thanks for another great post and a very practical suggestion to accommodate all kinds of eaters!!

  7. this is a great idea! who wouldn’t want this, vegan or not!?

  8. What a beautiful salad. I can’t wait to make it and serve it.

  9. beautiful salad. I’d go vegan for this. :)

  10. We are not vegan but eat a handful of vegetarian & vegan meals ever week. I love exploring things in the kitchen these ways!

  11. It’s always great to have a few vegetarian, vegan and gluten free recipes at the ready for entertaining. Great salad : )

  12. Mmmmm…I could eat this salad most any day of the week!

  13. Love all of these colors! So many of my friends are vegan, so I’m always looking for recipes that work for everyone! :)

  14. The hearts of palm are perfect in this. Love.

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