Layered Southwestern Cornbread Salad


Cornbread salads are a true favorite here in the South.  This variation has sort of evolved through the years in my kitchen because of our love of spicy foods, Southwestern and Tex-Mex flavors. The fresh pico de gallo, is a must and takes my salad over the top. It also stays true to the type of food that inspired my take on this classic.  This salad needs to be made ahead to allow the flavors to fully develop.  If you plan on serving this salad for dinner, it can be made during early morning for the best same day results.   Otherwise, overnight is ideal for the full impact and flavor combination to shine.

For the spicy ranch dressing:
1 [1.0 oz] package of Spicy Ranch dressing mix
1 1/3 cups milk/buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
For the pico de gallo:
6 medium Roma tomatoes
1 medium purple onion
1 medium jalapeno pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp lime juice
garlic salt and black pepper to taste
For the salad:
1 [7.5 oz] box cornbread mix plus ingredients to prepare
2 [12 oz] pkgs frozen Southwestern Corn [such as Steamfresh] OR 2 [11 oz] cans Mexi-Corn
1 [15 oz] can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
8 oz shredded iceberg lettuce
12 oz. bacon cooked, crumbled & cooled
1/2 cup sour cream [for the top]

Directions:
Prepare the cornbread per the instructions on the package and cool.  Divide into thirds.  Prepare the dressing using 1 1/3 cup of milk/buttermilk and 1 cup of mayo, then chill until assembling the salad.  This is slightly more milk than called for on the package, but, I prefer the dressing a little thinner for this salad.


To prepare the pico de gallo, dice the tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno pepper.  If you like your salsa super spicy, leave the seeds in the jalapeno, otherwise, use a teaspoon and remove them.  Always wash your hands well after handling hot peppers.  Add to a bowl, and toss with the chopped cilantro, lime juice and seasonings.  If making ahead, place into the fridge and chill until you assemble.  If you're using canned corn, drain the Mexican corn and black beans, and rinse  the beans thoroughly.  Mix together.  If you're using frozen corn, cook according to the package directions and cool before tossing with the black beans.


To assemble the salad, I use a trifle bowl, simply because the colors are so pretty, it adds to the presentation.  Gather all of your ingredients to help the layering process move along smoothly.


Divide the ingredients into thirds.  Layer in this order...shredded lettuce, crumbled cornbread,  bacon,  Mexican corn and black beans, pico de gallo, dressing and shredded cheese.  Repeat until all of the ingredients are used.


For the top, I reserve some of the pico de gallo, bacon crumbles, and cheese to garnish.  So, theoretically, there are four layers of pico, bacon and cheese in my salad, but, whose counting? ☺ I'm pretty generous with the dressing when assembling my salad, so I use plain sour cream dolloped on top as a garnish.  When serving a salad that includes spicy or hot peppers, I always try to place a few visible as a garnish, letting people know what's inside of the dish.  So, a few rounds of jalapeno are placed on top of the sour cream for the finishing touch.


Refrigerate for several hours, or preferably overnight to allow the flavors to come together before serving.  Yield:  12-14 servings

Cook's note:
In the Summer months when fresh corn is abundant, I always use fresh corn in this salad.  I roast a batch of Roasted Mexican Corn, and toss it with the black beans for the corn and bean layer.   


49 comments:

Didi said...

I am SOOOOOOOOOOO making this!!!
Total winner, winner, winner!!!
xoxoxooxo

Melissa said...

Didi, it's so great to hear from you, thank you!! xoxox

Two Southern Sweeties said...

Dayummmm!!!! Sorry that was the only word that came to mind seeing this LOL. Aileen and I will absolutely be making this and enjoying it out on the deck together with our family dinners or pool parties.

Melissa said...

Perfect for Summer parties of all kinds...enjoy! :)

Beth Evenson said...

yummm!! That looks so delicious!!

Melissa said...

Thank you, Beth! :)

Janay said...

What a gorgeous salad!!!! Beautiful presentation and it looks so delicious!!!! I adore Pico de gallo!!!

Melissa said...

Thank you Janay! It's a fun dish to make, and my guests always love it :) I agree, anything with pico de gallo is tops for me! Thanks for stopping by ~ Melissa

Debilou ~ Mississippi Mama said...

this looks really good,,might try to take this for our Easter get-together. Thanks

Melissa said...

Hello, that sounds fantastic! I sure hope your family enjoys it. Happy Easter to you and yours ~ Melissa

Anonymous said...

I need to make this overnight. Will it get soggy? Also I can't find spicy ranch. Any ideas of what spices to use with my plain ranch dressing mix?

Melissa said...

Overnight will change the texture a bit but it will still be tasty. If you have a concern I would encourage you to make it early morning for a drier texture. You can use the regular buttermilk version and add ground chipotle powder to your taste to add a bit of spice. If you prefer the plain dressing, it will work, too. Hope this helps!

Kat Heisler said...

Do you use sweet corn bread or regular? It sounds amazing!!

Melissa said...

Hi Kat! The Martha White cornbread mix does have a sweet flavor, however you could use a more savory version if you like. It's not quite as sweet as Jiffy Cornbread so, that's why I use Martha White it's just personal preference. Hope this helps!

tiffany harris said...

Have you ever used mexican corn bread instead of regular? Or do you think that would be too much??
t

Melissa said...

Hi Tiffany, hmmm, I never have. If your family enjoys robust flavors, that would certainly add another layer of spice. If you decide to go that route, let me know how you liked it. Thanks for stopping by! ~ Melissa

Anonymous said...

It looks very, very good.

Lani Waterstrat said...

I couldn't find the pkg of spicy ranch mix BUT I did find Spicy Ranch salad dressing in the 16 oz bottle so I used that instead. It's measures out to be 1/2 cup for each layer. So if you do this omit the sour cream &. buttermilk needed for making the dressing. I made the pico de gallo the night before so flavors would meld. It was SUPER yummy & I will definitely be making it again!

Melissa said...

Hi Lani, That's a super substitute in a pinch. There isn't any sour cream in the dressing, but I did use it on top to garnish. Thanks for stopping by to let me know you enjoyed it! :) Melissa

Mispinkie said...

OMG I had a co-worker make this one thing I have been looking for this recipe forever. Thank you

Melissa said...

My pleasure, happy to help. Enjoy ~ Melissa

Jeanie said...

The cornbread has to make this so special. This is the best recipe I have seen in a long time for my family. However, I think I will serve it in a slightly more shallow clear bowl and make 3 layers instead of 4 for easier and less messy digging. It is so beautiful as you have made it, but I think it would be a total mess after about 6 of my family members got through helping themselves.

Melissa said...

Hi Jeanie! Well, you know your family best. :) I think it actually holds together quite well, when I serve it this way for large gatherings. In fact, it makes a beautiful edible centerpiece for the table. For those who may not have a trifle dish, a shallow 9 x 13 inch glass dish will work beautifully, too. Enjoy! Melissa

Anonymous said...

Do you just spoon it out as a salad or eat like a 7-layer style dip with tortilla chips?

Melissa said...

This salad is typically served as just that, a side dish. Scoop and serve as you would any salad. I actually like your idea about dipping it with chips as well. You can't go wrong, truly. Enjoy!

john said...

i may have missed it but where does the cornbread get added in?

Melissa said...

Hi John, this dish although easy to assemble, has several steps so, it could be easy to miss. ☺ Here's the paragraph from the body of the directions: Hope this helps!
..."Divide the ingredients into thirds. Layer in this order...shredded lettuce, crumbled cornbread, bacon, Mexican corn and black beans, pico de gallo, dressing and shredded cheese. Repeat until all of the ingredients are used."

Anonymous said...

Made this for a pool party on the 4th of July, everyone loved it! Some folks ate it as a dip with chips, others as a side. I halved the recipe but used all the bacon (because why not?!) Cheddar cheese only, and most of the dressing.

Melissa said...

Awesome! You're so right, a basket of chips nearby is always a great idea. ☺ Thanks for stopping by to let me know, truly appreciated! ~ Melissa

Anonymous said...

You could add seasoned shredded chicken or ground beef and make it a complete meal.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had seen this before I had company on Saturday for a pool party. On my list for next Saturdays football game. Thank you so much for your inspiration and beautiful presentations. I always say if it looks good people will at least try things that otherwise might have ones turning up their noses.

Melissa said...

What a sweet comment. It's perfect for football parties, too. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

Kathleen Shutsy said...

How many people does this feed? It looks big!

Melissa said...

You should be able to yield 12-14 servings. This always depends on the appetites of those you're serving, of course. Some people love to serve this salad as a dip, so in that case it will go a bit further.

hdsdjsd said...

Wow, this does look amazing and lots of great comments. We have made the traditional seven layer bean dip in a large glass baking dish like Pyrex has. You could use it for this recipe if you want less layers. Dawn

Melissa said...

Hello, even though some readers enjoy serving this as a dip it is a salad. The multiple layers are what set it apart. The taste is unique due to the cornbread layers. Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit!

hgr83 said...

This looks so tasty! But I have to cook heart healthy for my family due to several members having heart issues...I wonder how heart healthy this dish is or if they're is a yummy heart healthy version of this?

Melissa said...

That's a challenge isn't it? I think you could make this lighter using low fat dairy. Now, the cornbread? Not so sure, but, if you have a lighter recipe you can use, or a brand that only calls for water not adding any additional fats, it would certainly help.

Lin said...

Melissa, have you tried it with other beans? I'm not a fan of black beans as I don't care for their flavor. Do you think cannelini or pinto beans would be to bland?

Melissa said...

Hi Lin, oh sure, a very good substitution would be pinto beans, or even a light red kidney bean. Delicious!

Seema said...

Hi, do you know if there is another bread you can use instead of cornbread as it is hard to find in the UK. thanks

Melissa said...

Hello! I know it can be a challenge adapting recipes. Our cornbread would be similar in texture to a savory polenta type bread. I wish I could give you a great substitute but, I'm not sure what's available in your market, sorry. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Dolly V. said...

Oh, my! This looks to be a winner! Am definitely going to make. You have such wonderful recipes...you are my favorite blogger! God Bless.

Melissa said...

Thank you Dolly, that makes my day. I appreciate your sweet comment.

Bluv1182 said...

This looks soooo good!! I am going to make this, and I'm going to make some taco seasoned meat and put the salad on top of the meat when I am ready to serve it!!! Yum, yum. Thanks for showing this.

Anonymous said...

That's the most beautiful salad I have ever seen! I'll be making this.for.the next get-together! :)

Melissa said...

Thank you!

Memaw2405 said...

This is the most awesome salad ever! So easy and tasty. I highly recommend this to everyone. I made my own cornbread and swapped out the black beans for pinto beans only because I don't care for black beans. I didn't find the Spicy Ranch dressing mix but I did find Fiesta Ranch which is very similar. I also found canned corn with jalapenos and another with chipotle seasoning so used one can of each. I put it all together only a few hours before the party I was attending because I didn't want it to be soggy. it was a HUGE hit! There was only a little bit left when it was time to clean up and the hostess practically begged me to be allowed to keep the leftovers!

Melissa said...

All o your adjustments sound so good, and I also make this salad with pinto beans at times. So happy you enjoyed it, thanks so much for stopping by to say so!

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