Cornbread salad is a unique side dish that combines crumbled cornbread, pinto beans, diced vegetables, ranch dressing and cheese.
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Yes, you read that right. We’re putting cornbread in a salad. Bread as a salad ingredient is nothing new. Hello, croutons? But, if you still can’t wrap your head around the concept of a cornbread salad, think of this as a Southern version of an Italian panzanella. Crumbled cornbread serves as the base for this layered salad. It’s then topped with a variety of chopped veggies, cheese and bacon. It’s not only a showstopper of a dish because of all the beautiful colors, but there are so many textures going on that it’s sure to delight.
Prep Ahead: Make the Cornbread
You can use a box mix if you like, but my Southern Skillet Cornbread is so quick and easy to make, it seemed like a waste of money. You’ll want to make the cornbread ahead of time so it has plenty of time to cool before you crumble it. For this recipe, you’ll need three cups of crumbled cornbread, which came out to about ¼ of the pan. Just so nothing goes to waste, here are a few ideas to put that leftover cornbread to good use.
Prep Ahead: Cook the Bacon and Chop the Veggies
Just a warning, there is a lot of chopping involved in this dish. While you are waiting for the cornbread to bake and cool, why not get this out of the way? If you’re not assembling the salad right away, everything will keep in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.
To assemble the cornbread salad, you will need two cups of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half; two medium green bell peppers, diced; two medium red bell peppers, diced; one medium red onion, diced; and one green onion, white and green parts, sliced. You’ll also need to cook up three strips of bacon and chop them up too.
How to Assemble Cornbread Salad
A few additional ingredients I haven’t mentioned yet are one 15.5 ounce can of pinto beans that have been drained and rinsed, one 15.5 ounce can of whole kernel corn that has been drained, one cup of shredded cheddar cheese and two cups of buttermilk ranch salad dressing. You can use store bought or try my recipe for homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.
Since this is a layered salad, I recommend using some type of clear serving bowl. I used a 3-qt. glass trifle bowl that measured eight inches across and 4 ½ inches deep. Start by spreading the three cups of cooled and crumbled cornbread around on the bottom of the serving dish. Then spread the pinto beans over the top of the cornbread layer.
Next, layer the cherry tomatoes, diced green bell peppers, whole kernel corn, diced red bell peppers, and diced red onion. Then pour the buttermilk ranch dressing over the top. Using a spatula, carefully spread the ranch dressing around bringing it to the edges of the bowl and being careful not to disturb the diced red onions too much.
Finally, we’re going to finish up with a sprinkling of the chopped bacon, sliced green onions and shredded cheddar cheese. Carefully cover the dish (so you don’t mess up your top layer) and chill it in the refrigerator for three hours before serving.
If the salad layers are left intact, cornbread salad holds up pretty well. You could make it up to a day or two ahead of time and the salad will taste fresh. However, if the salad sits for a long period of time, the cornbread will start to absorb some of the moisture from the vegetables and become soggy. Obviously, once the salad has been served and the ranch dressing gets mixed with the rest of the ingredients, it will start to become soggy within a few hours. Unfortunately, cornbread salad can not be frozen.
What to serve with cornbread salad
- Bourbon Glazed Pork Skewers
- Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken
- Drunk Chicken [Oven Or Grill]
- More Entrée Recipes
Southern Cornbread Salad
- 3 cups crumbled cornbread
- 15.5 ounces seasoned pinto beans rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 medium green bell peppers diced
- 15.5 ounces whole kernel corn drained
- 2 medium red bell peppers diced
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 2 cups buttermilk ranch salad dressing
- 3 bacon slices cooked and crumbled
- 1 green onion sliced
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Layer the crumbled cornbread on the bottom of a trifle or serving bowl.
- Spread the pinto beans over the top of the crumbled cornbread.
- Arrange the the cherry tomatoes over the pinto beans.
- Top the cherry tomatoes with the diced green bell peppers.
- Spread one can of the whole kernel corn over the green bell pepper.
- Follow with a layer of red onion.
- Pour the salad dressing over the red onion. Use a spatula to carefully spread the salad dressing over the onion to the edges of the bowl.
- Top with the bacon and green onions.
- Garnish with a layer of shredded cheese.
- Cover the salad and chill for three hours.