Cornbread salad, a Southern favorite, can be made two ways. A cold cornbread salad, made in layers, is great for picnics and potlucks. A room temperature cornbread salad uses many of the same ingredients, but the ingredients are mixed and the salad served immediately, without chilling. Both cornbread salads are equally delicious, and sure to be a hit in your home.
Naturally, cornbread, torn into bite-size pieces, is the star. Think of Southwestern dishes in terms of the vegetables to include; chopped onions, tomatoes, corn and peppers are excellent additions. You'll need shredded cheese -- a medium cheddar or Jack mixture works well. Some recipes call for lettuce or other greens in the salad, while others don't. It's completely up to you. Choose pinto, black or red beans drained of their sauces for additional protein. Ranch dressing creates the sauce and binds the salad together. And of course, few Southern dishes are complete without bacon.
Despite what some recipes insist upon, you can use either a made-from-scratch cornbread or cornbread from a mix for a cornbread salad.
Making the Salad
To make cornbread salad, layer the ingredients in a deep bowl. A casserole dish won't work for this type of salad, because the layers should be concentrated. Start with cornbread pieces at the bottom of the dish, then layer up the veggies, followed by the dressing, and top with the shredded cheese and crumbled bacon. If you prefer, you can repeat a layer of cornbread after the dressing layer and before the cheese and bacon. For a room temperature cornbread salad, simply serve when you've finished layering the dish. if you prefer a cold salad, cover the dish and put it in the refrigerator for two hours, and then serve it.
Refrigerate cornbread salad, whether room temperature or cold, to preserve it. Both variations should be refrigerated within two hours of serving it.
Try using mayonnaise instead of ranch to mix in the dressing for a different flavor, or melt extra cheese with some crumbled bacon on top of a room temperature cornbread salad. Vary the vegetable ratios according to which you like best. Want to use up leftover cornbread and don't have time to create a salad? Break the cornbread into large chunks and toss with onions, tomatoes, red beans, cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil for a quick version.