Last updated on May 22nd, 2023
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.
Ingredients and tools you’ll need
While this recipe does require several ingredients, they are all relatively inexpensive. To make cornbread salad, you will need:
- 3 cups cooked and crumbled cornbread – if you don’t have a cornbread recipe, give my Southern Skillet Cornbread a try.
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can seasoned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 medium green bell peppers, diced
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
- 2 medium red bell peppers, diced
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 2 cups buttermilk ranch salad dressing – you can use bottled, but I think once you try my recipe for Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, you’ll never go back.
- 3 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 quart clear glass trifle bowl or large serving bowl – since this is a layer salad, it’s best served in something that shows off all the layers and colors. The trifle bowl I used measured 8 inches across and 4 ½ inches deep.
Make the cornbread
You’ll want to give the cornbread plenty of time to cool, so I recommend making the cornbread in advance. In fact, you can make the cornbread up to two days in advance. You won’t use the entire pan of cornbread. Just so nothing goes to waste, here are a few ideas to put that leftover cornbread to good use.
Chop the bacon and 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? Be sure to chop everything into bite sized pieces. If you’re not assembling the salad right away, everything will keep in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.
How to assemble cornbread salad
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.
You can store any leftover cornbread salad in a covered dish in the refridgerator. Once the salad has been served and the ranch dressing gets mixed with the rest of the ingredients, the cornbread it will start to become soggy. I recommend eating any leftovers within a day or two. Because of the dressing, cornbread salad can not be frozen.
Frequently asked questions
If the salad layers are left intact, cornbread salad holds up pretty well. Therefore, you could make it up to a day ahead of time and the salad will still taste fresh. Any more than that and you run the risk of the cornbread absorbing some of the moisture from the vegetables and becoming soggy.
Can I used a different type of bean?
Yes, canned black beans, black eyed peas or kidney beans would make a good substitute for the pinto beans.
Can I used a cornbread mix such as Jiffy?
Yes, you can use a cornbread mix rather than making your cornbread from scratch. Keep in mind that Jiffy cornbread has a sweet flavor and may adversely affect the taste of the salad.
Can I use a different type of pepper?
Any color bell pepper can be used in this dish.
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
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can seasoned pinto beans rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 medium green bell peppers diced
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can 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.