Serve This Cornbread Salad as a Main Dish or a Side
I have to admit, I was less than excited the first time my mom said she was making cornbread salad for a crowd at the house. In all honesty, I did not grow up liking corn bread – that’s a complete sacrilege to my southern roots, I know. At some point in my 20s I learned to appreciate it and now, I really do love eating a slice or two of cornbread with spicy chili or Brunswick stew. Sometimes, I’ll even eat it toasted with just a little butter (a habit I learned from my dad) but enjoying a cornbread salad with cheese, ranch dressing, tomatoes, and corn was definitely unexpected!
In this particular instance, we were planning for a casual family gathering and wanted some easy, inexpensive side dishes to prepare ahead of time. As it turns out, this cornbread salad recipe was a huge hit with everyone at the cookout. It looked really pretty in a large, straight-sided trifle dish – and, of course, it ended up being delicious. In most cases, I double this recipe for a large group, in particular when I take it to the Teachers’ Pot Luck dinners at my daughter’s school. This cornbread salad holds up so well I like to know they’ll have some leftover for lunches the next day!
For those who need to maintain a gluten-free diet, you could easily substitute gluten-free corn mixes for this salad. There is also the option to either eliminate the cheese or use a non-dairy version with the rest of the ingredients. In that respect, it’s a fairly adaptable and easy salad to make for a mixed group of people with dietary preferences. It can be a hearty and filling dish, and looks beautiful layered with all of the colors from the vegetables. It’s also absolutely perfect with barbecued ribs or grilled chicken if you feel like breaking out the grill this summer.
How to Make This Cornbread Salad
By Marie Powell
Yields: 6-8 servings (10-12 if side dish)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
You do need to plan ahead since this cornbread salad has to chill for at least two hours. It’s even better if it’s refrigerated overnight, and can be made as far as 24 hours in advance. I generally assemble it all early in the morning and let it chill for the day until dinner time. The ingredients are also somewhat adaptable in that you can use a Mexican variety of corn bread mix and Mexican blend shredded cheese, or a traditional cornbread with cheddar to switch up the flavors. The key to assembling this cornbread salad recipe is simple! Just make nice, even layers of the ingredients so you get lots of flavor in each scoop. This makes it easier to get a pretty salad on the table, too.
- 1 (6-oz.) package Mexican cornbread mix, prepared according to package directions
- 16-oz. bottle buttermilk ranch dressing
- 1 small head romaine lettuce, shredded
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-oz.) can whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
- 1 (8-oz.) package shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
- 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (optional)
- 5 green onions, chopped
- Prepare cornbread according to package directions, then cool and crumble. Set aside. Cook bacon while cornbread cools, if including.
- Layer a large bowl with half each of cornbread, lettuce, and the next 6 ingredients.
- Spoon half of the dressing evenly over top.
- Repeat layers with remaining ingredients and dressing.
- Cover and chill at least 2 hours. May be prepared as early as 24 hours in advance.
- Serves 6-8 main portions or 10-12 side dish portions.