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Cornbread Salad is the best way to use leftover Skillet Cornbread or Mexican Cornbread! It’s a mouthwatering mixture of buttery crisp cubes of cornbread, bacon, roasted delicata squash, black eyed peas, kale and butter-fried sage all tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. 

Cornbread Salad served in a white bowl with gray napkin and serving utensils

Italians make clever use of leftover bread: ribollita in the winter, a hearty soup that evolves all week, and panzanella (bread salad) in the summer, a substantial salad of bread cubes mixed with peak summer produce. It’s incredible how summer’s jaw-dropping fresh tomatoes, thin slices of onion and basil, and a drizzle of vinegar and peppery olive oil can revive a stale loaf.

You may remember when I re-imagined panzanella as a deconstructed muffuletta sandwich, i.e., Muffuletta Panzanella, or used leftover pita bread to make Fattoush Salad and in this cornbread salad, I’ve given it an entirely southern twist: with oven-crisped cornbread cubes, salty bacon, sweet delicata squash, earthy kale, tender blackeyed peas and butter-fried sage.

Of these four bread salads, it would be tough to pick a favorite, but I do remember the first. We stood at the bottom of a hill in the tiny Tuscan town of Civitella Marittima. We were waiting for Carlo. He arrived, swung open the passenger door, and welcomed us aboard his well traveled VW station wagon.

We spent the day twisting and bumping along Tuscan roads while Carlo educated us, like a father would his children, about the centuries old traditions of wine making and olive pressing. Without the afternoon drama of an emergency trip to the vet for a viper-bitten dog, it might have been a perfect day. But that’s another story.

The bread salad that Carlo prepared for our lunch inspired me to create this American South version. His consisted of bread, tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh garden greens lightly dressed in tangy vinaigrette, ingredients that he had on hand. This cornbread salad too came from what I had on hand, an ensemble of ingredients with a southern flare: leftover skillet cornbread, delicata squash, bacon, fresh sage, kale and blackeyed peas.

This salad is great warm or at room temperature, so don’t worry if the ingredients aren’t ready at the same time.

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Cornbread Salad

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Southern
Calories: 517
Servings: 6 people
24 fresh sage leaves may sound like a lot, but, trust me, once they’re chopped and butter crisped you won’t mind. This recipe makes enough for four generous main course servings. 

Ingredients  

  • 1/2 recipe skillet cornbread cut into 1-inch cubes (or 12 ounces of other cornbread)
  • 1 delicata squash unpeeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 4 slices bacon cut into 1/4-inch strips crosswise
  • 4 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup
  • 24 leaves fresh sage coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups frozen black eyed peas
  • 10 ounces kale very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or more
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Start by making Skillet Cornbread and reserve 1/2 of it to make this cornbread salad.

Cornbread Salad

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange cubes of cornbread in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove and place cubes in a large salad bowl. (Leave oven on.)
  • Line the same baking sheet with a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Spread delicata squash over the bottom in a single layer; sprinkle bacon pieces over the top. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bacon is browned and squash is tender – stir after about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add to cornbread in salad bowl; toss to combine.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sage leaves; cook and stir until sage begins to crisp and butter smells slightly nutty. Add to cornbread and toss to combine.
  • In the same skillet (no need to wash it out) add water or broth, black eyed peas, and kale. Cook and stir for 4 to 6 minutes, or until peas are thawed and warm and kale has wilted slightly. Remove from heat and drizzle with olive oil, a splash or two of red wine vinegar, and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add to cornbread mixture and toss to combine. Serve.

Notes

A quarter round of my skillet cornbread is just the right amount for this salad, but you can use any cornbread recipe you like.

Nutrition

Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 394mg | Potassium: 897mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 6288IU | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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28 Comments

  1. Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom says:

    I LOVE Tuscany! Spending a semester abroad there was one of the greatest experiences of my life and your pictures in the previous post you linked are incredible – makes me miss it. And I hope Charlie ended up being ok!

    You really knocked this panzanella out of the park! I love your southern twist with winter veggies! With all that snow you guys are getting up there – I bet this is brightening up those grey days! Happy New Year my dear 🙂

    1. Marissa says:

      I forgot all about you living in Tuscany, Kathleen. Do you still speak Italian? I’m hopeless at learning languages…

      Thanks so much for the kind words on the salad. And, you’re right about ALL THE SNOW. We’re starting to call it the Snowpocalypse!

  2. Helen @ Scrummy Lane says:

    Hi Marissa! HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!

    I love that you’ve given this lovely Italian salad a local spin. Cornbread just has to be one of the world’s most satisfying foods. Never thought to put it in a salad, but now I’m going to try it!

    1. Marissa says:

      So true, Helen. I love a warm slice of cornbread slathered in butter – heaven! I hope you give it a try in panzanella, I think you’ll enjoy it. xo

  3. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says:

    5 stars
    Your trip to Tuscany sounds fabulous… minus that trip to the vet of course! Can I just say I LOVE the way your brain works?!? This panzanella is absolutely GENIUS!!!! I am seriously swooning over here! I love the healthy mixed with a bit of naughty cornbread! This is totally how I do healthy eating! Can not WAIT to try this!!!
    Side note: I hope you had a wonderful holiday, dear! Happy New Year!! 🙂

    1. Marissa says:

      That trip to the vet was something! The poor dog’s eyes were swirling and he could barely walk. But what tough little pup, he survived!

      You and I are definitely simpatico on healthy eating!! xo

  4. Sabrina says:

    Such a creative take on panzanella! Sounds delish!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thanks, Sabrina!