Cornbread SaladI confess. Cornbread salad is not something that many of us grew up knowing about here in South Mississippi, but ever since learning about it a couple years back from Tommie, a dear friend from Oklahoma, I have wanted to give it a try. While I do think it's more common over that way, Cornbread Salad seems to be making its way across the south as a whole these days. I admit, it does come off sounding an odd contrast of textures, but so many people who are familiar with it seem to love it, so hey, I'm game for anything!
I recommend a full batch of skillet cornbread set aside for this recipe, though I've used about 3/4 of a skillet very successfully after preparing cornbread for supper. I'll be honest with y'all. I really didn't know how I was gonna like this dish, and it took me a few bites to get past my own judgment. Once I did, this salad absolutely grew on me and every time I took another serving of it from the fridge, I loved it more and more.
The first time I made this, I decided to use a deep bowl and layered the salad, making a nice presentation if you're taking this to a party, potluck or a church supper.
|Cornbread salad, layered in a clear bowl, makes a beautiful presentation. Simply toss before serving!|
I started with Tommie's basics, and added my own touches, though in truth, this is a very versatile salad, both in the way that it is presented and the ingredients. You can use many different things in it to personalize it to your tastes. Pintos seem to be more common in Texas and Oklahoma when a bean is added, but for here in The Deep South, I like purple hull or black-eyed peas better. I love both Vidalia and purple onions, and I also found that I really liked the addition of sweet pickles and juice, or even chow chow, as well as a protein of some kind. My favorites are a Cajun fried turkey breast or ham from the deli.
I've also included some additional add-in suggestions and variations that both Tommie and the readers on our Facebook page shared with us, showing the true versatility of this salad. As shown here, presentation can easily be adapted too - in a shallow dish, layered in a glass bowl (don't forget to toss) or mixed up and garnished as above. Frankly, I'm a little undecided yet whether I prefer this salad layered, or simply mixed up and left to marinate that way because I've liked it every way I've tied it!
For the layered version, I top it with the dressing and let it sit in the fridge for several hours, then toss it just before serving. Even better is to layer this whole salad in a 9 x 13 inch clear baking dish instead of a deep bowl. The more shallow oblong pan allows for the flavors to meld together better without having to mix the salad up. Simply layer it as indicated, let it marinate in the refrigerator, and then, serve it as-is, without mixing. When I've mixed the salad, as it sat in the fridge a couple of days, it actually really developed its flavor and tasted better and better each time I had a serving out of it.
This is a perfect summertime salad at home, or for your next party, church supper, or potluck. If you've never heard of it before, I know it sounds different, but why not give it a try? The amounts given in the recipe are relative - use more or less to your own liking and adjust the dressing to the consistency that you like. Here's how to make it.
Recipe: Cornbread Salad©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min | Total time: 24 hours| Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
For the Dressing:
For the Salad:
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1 envelope of Ranch dressing mix
- 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
- 2 teaspoons of sweet pickle juice, optional
- 2 (6 to 8 ounce) packages of cornbread mix or fullpan of homemade skillet cornbread
- 2 cans pinto beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and well drained
- 2 cans of whole kernel corn, well drained
- 1 cup of chopped Vidalia or red onion
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet pickles, optional
- 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeño
- 1 cup of chopped turkey, chicken or ham, optional
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or other fresh herbs
- 10 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Mix dressing ingredients; set aside. Prepare cornbread and let cool completely and once cooled, crumble and set aside a pinch for garnish, if desired.
Combine the crumbled cornbread with the remaining salad ingredients, reserving some for garnish. Add the dressing, toss, cover and refrigerate overnight, 24 hours is even better. Garnish with reserved crumbled cornbread, chopped tomato, parsley and chopped bacon.
Cook's Notes: Buttermilk may be substituted for the sour cream. Blend, then refrigerate until thickened. May also substitute plain mayonnaise or a small bottle of any commercial ranch dressing in place of the homemade dressing above. All amounts given in the recipe are relative - use more or less to your own liking, adjusting dressing to your liking. May also layer in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan, or if you prefer, this also makes a pretty presentation in a glass bowl. You'll need about a 4-quart bowl. Layer half of the ingredients in the bowl, then repeat. If layering in a deep bowl, toss before serving.
Optional Add-ins: Chopped or shredded romaine lettuce, chopped boiled egg, drained English peas, drained Mexicorn, sliced green onion, drained pimentos, chopped dill pickles, black olives, other drained beans (white, kidney, black) or southern peas (field, purple hull), sliced summer squash, chopped celery, chopped nuts.
Southwestern Variation: Use Mexican cornbread, or add a can of Mexicorn, green chilies and/or jalapeños to your regular cornbread batter. Add 2 teaspoons of chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin to the dressing, add black beans and use a Mexican blend of cheeses.
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