I use the term “salad” loosely here. If you’re searching for a glimpse of iceberg, romaine, kale, or even cabbage-you won’t find it. Cornbread salad traditionally contains, well, cornbread, but also a lot of veggies, a bit of bacon, and a good soak of some kind of dressing. I can tell you what I put in mine, but that’s definitely not the only way to fix it. Like potato salad, there are as many variations as there are cooks. Think of this post as a cornbread salad blueprint; I’ll give you a general outline but you feel free to modify it any way you like.
Usually this is a layered salad, although I have seen all the ingredients mixed together. I’ll say it makes a nicer presentation in the bowl when it’s layered, but there’s pretty much no way to scoop this out and have it look like anything but a hot mess. Or a cold mess. Anyway, it’s not designed to be cohesive-looking at all-more like a cold casserole in salad form. Sort of.
Cornbread, of course, is the base ingredient here. You can make cornbread from a mix or from scratch, as long as it’s no more than an 8″ X 8″ pan, or about 4-5 cups, cubed. Many recipes call for the cornbread to be crumbled. I prefer small cubes, and yes, some crumbling takes place when I cut it, but for the most part it stays in cubes. Just personal preference. I like to add a bit of chopped jalapeño to my cornbread because I like spicy stuff. Sometimes I bake the cornbread the day before and just leave it out on the counter covered with a paper towel. It’s easier to cube when it’s a little bit drier.
There are veggies galore in this salad. My motto is: if it’s not a green bean or a potato, it will probably fit in this salad just fine. Commonly there are some beans (I used black beans-use your favorite), tomatoes, corn (I charred mine on the grill during a previous cookout-thawed, frozen corn may be used as well), onions and bell peppers. I forgot to get a pepper so I left that out. Since I have an endless supply of squash, thanks to my son’s garden, I also added zucchini and yellow squash, which is not typical but tasted good. I topped my salad with some avocado. Black olives would work, too. Feel free to adjust amounts, using more of your favorite veggies and less of others.
I like all the extras in my salads, like cheese and bacon, so it’s no wonder I like this cornbread salad. You can use any kind of cheese-I used cheddar and Monterey jack. Cook the bacon crisp so it can be crumbled, and feel free to use as much as you want. And of course, it wouldn’t be salad without dressing, would it? The most common dressing used is homemade or purchased ranch dressing. Since I feel like this salad has sort of a Mexican food vibe going on (actually it’s a Southern dish) I mix my ranch dressing with taco sauce. You can buy MexiRanch dressing in the store but it’s easy to make as needed at home and you can control the heat depending on the taco sauce you use. It tastes yummy on taco salad, too.
Cornbread salad makes plenty and is ideal for barbecues and potlucks, and since it keeps well in the fridge, as a hearty salad to pack in your lunch all week. Try it and let me know what you think.
- 1 c. ranch salad dressing
- ½ c. taco sauce
- 1 8 oz. cornbread mix prepared according to package directions (or an 8” X 8” pan of homemade cornbread), cooled and cubed
- 1 15 oz. can (about 1 ½ c.) black beans, or your favorite kind
- 1 c. fresh cooked and cooled corn kernels, or frozen corn, thawed
- 1 c. sliced fresh squash or chopped bell pepper
- 1 c. chopped tomatoes
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
- 1 ½ c. shredded cheese
- Chopped avocado or black olives for topping, if desired
- Step 1 In a medium bowl stir together ranch dressing and taco sauce. Set aside.
- Step 2 In a large bowl begin layering salad ingredients in this order: half of the cornbread, half of the beans, half of the corn, half of the squash (or pepper), half of the tomatoes, half of the onions, half of the dressing, half of the bacon, and half of the cheese.
- Step 3 Repeat the layers in the same order with the remaining ingredients.
- Step 4 Top with avocado or black olives, if desired.
- Step 5 Store in refrigerator.