Layered Mexican Cornbread Salad

Layered Mexican Cornbread Salad

Yeah, yeah, I know yesterday was the big holiday wherein many of you got your fill of Mexican food and here I am posting a Mexican-type recipe today but don’t worry, I’m pretty sure this layered cornbread salad can be found absolutely nowhere in the actual country of Mexico and therefore probably shouldn’t be eaten on Cinco de Mayo anyway.

Instead, reserve this salad for the warm summer nights ahead when dinner should be light and refreshing but still dazzlingly yummy. I’m pretty sure if you were to add in grilled chicken, either on the side or layered in the salad with the rest of the goods, you might have the most perfect summer dinner ever.

Layered Mexican Cornbread Salad

A fabulous MKC reader, Jennifer J., sent me this recipe and I adapted it slightly to what you see here. I was a little worried, I’m not going to lie, about the potential of soggy cornbread. I know I’ve mentioned it before but soggy bread, in any form, and I? Well, we aren’t friends and could probably best be considered mortal enemies. I was very pleasantly surprised that the cornbread in this salad softens nicely but does not get anywhere near soggy (helped along by the fact that I basically ran the vegetables through a dryer cycle to eliminate any excess moisture).

To say that our expectations were exceeded by this salad is an understatement. Brian and I were oohing and aahing our way through dinner while the kids picked out the cornbread and other favorite morsels (I saw a lot of red peppers left on their plates but I was so enamored with my own plate of food that I let it go; just this one time of course). Super delicious, this one. Perfect, so perfect, for a potluck, or even better just for you and yours. You know, no obligated sharing. Who knew that adding cornbread to a mess (and yes, it looks like a mess once it’s dished up) of other ingredients and smothering it with a homemade creamy cilantro lime dressing could be such a beautiful thing?

Layered Mexican Cornbread Salad

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Mexican Cornbread Layered Salad

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Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups cubed or crumbled cornbread (see note)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed if frozen)
  • 1 red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 roma tomatoes, liquid squeezed out and chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup regular or light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup light or regular sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Directions:

  1. In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use (this can be made several days in advance).
  2. In a 9X13-inch pan, layer the ingredients in the following order: lettuce, cornbread, beans, corn, red pepper, olives, green onions, tomatoes and cheese.
  3. Pour the dressing over the cheese. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Serve chilled.

Notes:

A couple of notes: 1) make sure each ingredient is well dried before layering (like if the lettuce has been recently washed or after rinsing the beans) because you really don’t want the cornbread to get soggy; major ick factor 2) I made an adapted version of my favorite cornbread for this recipe, reducing the sugar to 1/3 cup and using 1/2 cup coconut oil. I cut the cooled cornbread into small cubes. I had a bit leftover after I measured out the 3 or so cups – makes a great snack! 3) this salad can be layered in a variety of ways. If you want more dressing throughout the salad, add 1/2 of the dressing part way through the layers. You can also use a trifle dish to layer this but I like using a 9X13-inch dish because if you are scooping it out for a crowd, it’s much easier to get all the ingredients in one scoop versus scooping into a really deep dish. Make sense? 4) adding grilled chicken to this (or on the side) would make a fantastic main course.

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Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe Jennifer J. (a MKC reader) in California sent me. Thanks, Jennifer!