Healthy Thanksgiving Side Treat: Southern Harvest Recipe for Easy Cornbread Salad

Fall holidays like Thanksgiving mean turkey and dressing and all the trimmings. Cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and lots of side dishes on the holiday table. This tasty cornbread salad recipe came originally from a fantastic family-style catfish-to-die-for restaurant called Rowdy’s in Vicksburg, MS. The idea seems unusual at first – making salad out of a bread, especially a crumbly bread like cornbread.

But believe it, this is a winner. It’s nutricious and includes a wholegrain food, too. Taken to any party, gathering, or holiday feast, it’s a show stopper and brings demands of “I’ve got to have that recipe!”

So then, with changes created over time by a couple of Northern families transplanted to the South, here’s a down home treat, easy to make, very budget conscious and suitable for cooks from beginner level up.

Ingredients

(Yield, about 10 side-dish servings)

  • 4 cups already baked cornbread, firm (about a 13x9x2 pan of it) Crumble it. Already baked cornbread purchased at the market or bakery will do just fine.
  • 2 cups mayo, or to personal preference. Want to reduce the fat? Use light mayo.
  • A dollop plain yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped fairly fine
  • 1 lg green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped coarsely
  • A 4-ounce jar of chopped pimentos, drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onion or scallions
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional, if nuts are a problem)
  • 2 large, firm tomatoes, chopped chunky
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn – entirely optional
  • Couple dashes of hot pepper sauce – optional, of course.

Directions

It’s fine to bake scratch or pre-packed mix cornbread at home, but, honestly, there is no flavor or texture difference, so save the time and effort.

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the frozen corn and toss gently until well-blended.
  2. Be very careful not to pulverize the cornbread or turn it into mush. It will break down, but don’t over mix.
  3. Sprinkle the frozen corn over the top of the salad as a sort of garnish.
  4. Some folks sprinkle the finished salad with coarse ground black pepper, a garnish of parsley leaves or even some cilantro for a Southwest flare.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours or until thoroughly chilled. Once served, government guidelines say it can stand at room temperature for up to an hour, more or less, but since it contain mayonnaise, caution should be taken to refrigerate leftovers promptly.

This quick and easy cornbread salad keeps well in a tightly covered container for lunchbox use, as long as there’s a coldpack in the lunchbox. It also goes well with broiled fish (catfish, anyone?), grilled meats, hamburgers or deli sandwiches.

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