Meatless Monday: Cornbread Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes

Main Courses, Meatless, Salad, Southern / Monday, May 30th, 2011

Cornbread Salad

When Italians have leftover bread, they make panzanella.

When Southerners have leftover cornbread, we make Cornbread Salad. Because a good pan of cornbread is a terrible thing to waste.

If we were stalking cornbread salads in the wild, I’d take you to a church potluck or family reunion and tell you to keep an eye out for a trifle bowl with Ranch dressing on top. Because that’s how most cornbread salads are presented, with very defined layers of cornbread, beans, corn, onion, bell pepper, tomato, bacon, cheese and the contents of an entire bottle of Ranch dressing.

This recipe is different.

There’s no Ranch. No trifle bowl. No fussy layering.

Nothing to distract you from the simple goodness of what’s in that bowl.

Like most bread salads, this version uses one- or two-day-old bread as its base instead of lettuce or greens. However, instead of just tossing stale bread into your salad bowl, you cube your cornbread, place it on a baking sheet, and toast it under the broiler until it’s crisp.

These cornbread croutons add a lot of crunch to the salad at first, and then they start to absorb the flavors of the salad’s other ingredients (e.g. the vinaigrette, black beans, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, scallions and basil) and bring everything together.

Most cornbread salads are pretty heavy, but this Deen Brothers’ recipe is really summery and satisfying. It’s definitely not your mama’s cornbread salad.

Not their mama’s anyway.

Cornbread Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes

Adapted from Jamie and Bobby Deen’s “The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up”

If you’re taking this salad on the road, pack the cornbread separately, and add it to the other ingredients just before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/2 to 1 pan cornbread (any recipe, preferably 1 to 2 days old), crumbled or cut into 1-inch cubes


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 or 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 2 large tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Place an oven rack 6 inches from the heat source, and preheat the broiler.

2. Place the cornbread on a baking sheet, and toast under the broiler until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes (check often to see that the crumbs do not burn). Transfer to a large salad bowl.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

4. Add the black beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, scallions and basil to the salad bowl. Toss gently.

5. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, and toss to combine well. Serve immediately.






16 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Cornbread Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes

  1. This looks amazing and just perfect for this mid-summer weather that we're having. ahem!

    Clearly I don't get to many church suppers because I've never had the ranch dressing version of this salad.

  2. I haven't tried something like this before, but I am looking forward to getting it a shot. It looks beautiful.

  3. While I can't imagine having leftover corn bread (it'd never last that long anywhere near me), the idea of broiling it crispy and using it as a base in a salad is awesome. This sounds show-stoppingly (or maybe picnic-stoppingly) good.

  4. add a little grainy mustard to that dressing and you would not believe the fireworks that happen.

    love this.

  5. Ha ha, leftover cornbread! I have never seen leftover cornbread! Any left after dinner was immediately crumbled into a glass of milk for dessert!

  6. I was just going to say this is such a great take on panzanella, but you are one step ahead! I love this recipe, I might have to make some cornbread just to I can try it.

  7. WOW. This is brilliant…man, this got me excited…I love creative salads, especially ones that are main meals! So this makes me really happy!

  8. This sounds fabulous! I made cornbread 2 nights ago and have half a pan left over…thanks for sharing!!

  9. Tried this recipe and not only did I have six women in a cat fight trying to get seconds but I ate it for breakfast the next morning. I'm thinking it's a keeper. The hardest part is making cornbread and then hiding it so that it can be "left overs".

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