Gluten Free Living – 2016
Bacon Cheddar Chili Cornbread Salad is one of the most heavenly salads I’ve ever eaten. No kidding, I could have eaten my weight in this salad. (That’s a scary prospect). All that delicious bacon, plus a fabulous homemade Bacon Cheddar Chili Cornbread, and a Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix for the salad dressing–oh, my. Toss in a few veggies along the way, a little cheese….wow, it was absolutely mouthwatering. I loved, loved, LOVED this Tex-Mex salad!
About three years ago our church had a really large banquet to send off one of the ministers who had been at the church for over 25 years. We had a huge potluck and someone brought one of these great Texas Cornbread Salads. They are super popular here in Texas, but I had never heard of them outside this state. I never could find who made it, but I always longed to repeat the experience because it was so good. I had a similar recipe I had collected from friends at Dallas Baptist University and decided to start there, add, improvise and make it my own.
Most of these recipes start with a boxed Jiffy cornbread mix. While I could have done that to make it easier, I wanted to use a really savory cornbread with bacon, cheddar cheese and green chilies. I loved my Bacon Cheddar Cornbread, Jalapeno Cheddar Honey Cornbread, and my Bacon Jalapeno Cornsticks (which uses gruyere cheese), so the cornbread recipe is based on these recipes along with my favorite all time cornbread recipe, made with gluten free flour instead. The cornbread was so good I had a hard time keeping my fingers out of the crumbs. I was taking pictures and licking my fingers at the same time!
I also wanted to replace the bottled Ranch dressing with something healthier. I had seen a Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. I wanted a thick dressing for the salad, so I used the dry mix with a healthier mayonnaise and sour cream so it would hold it’s body and not be watery or too thin (like with Greek yogurt). It was perfect. I had so many people come up and tell me they loved the salad but especially the dressing!
I layered the salad with the basic Texas Cornbread Salad ingredients adding a few of my own along the way. Then I added additional bacon on top, along with cheddar cheese, green onions and tomatoes. This salad had so-o-o-o much going for it. The savory bacon flavor was awesome. Everything just worked incredibly well. While this recipe is gluten free and has a lot of great veggies, it cannot be considered one of the healthier salads you’ll ever make. It will be considered one of the best tasting however. 🙂
Yes, it did take a little bit longer to make than using a boxed cornbread mix or a bottle of Ranch dressing, but it tasted infinitely better in my opinion. This salad is so good you can make it for a main dish salad if you like. It’s a terrific side or main dish for backyard barbecues, potlucks or when grilling out and having friends over. I took it to a big party at our church and it was a real crowd pleaser.
If you’re looking for the best salad ever to take to your next party (and don’t mind a little additional work from making the cornbread and dressing from scratch), then Bacon Cheddar Chili Cornbread Salad (or Texas Cornbread Salad, if you prefer), is the salad for you. It is so delectable you will be drooling after the first bite. I sure did.
Bacon Cheddar Chili Cornbread Salad is to die for! I rarely say that about anything but dessert, but it’s really true with this salad. The savory, bacon-y cornbread makes it so wonderful.
You can garnish the salad with additional tomato wedges if desired.
I also made a couple of these salads in parfait dishes. I ate every drop. 🙂
Here’s what I did.
I used these ingredients. I substituted halved grape tomatoes for the Roma tomatoes.
Layer half of the crisp-cooked bacon pieces.
Add about 4 cups torn Romaine lettuce. (Pack down). Layer a pint of grape tomatoes, halved, cucumber, red bell pepper and red onion.
Drain corn well. Layer over top of red onion. (You can also use cooked corn-on-the-cob that’s been cut down or frozen corn that’s been microwaved).
Rinse and drain pinto beans really well. Add on top of corn layer. (You can also use black beans).
Add a layer of sliced black olives.
For the dressing: Mix two tablespoons Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix with 1 cup sour cream and 1 cup Just Mayo mayonnaise. I found Just Mayo at Wal-Mart, but you can substitute Hellmann’s if you can’t find it.
Stir ingredients to combine. Mixture will be thick.
Add remaining bacon broken into tiny pieces. I pressed the bacon pieces into the dressing slightly.
Add cheddar cheese in the center of the trifle dish. Top with sliced green onions (tops only).
This makes a lovely salad to take to parties, potlucks, backyard barbecues or whenever you’re grilling out with friends. This Texas-style Cornbread Salad is the best!
You will have to really scoop to the bottom of the trifle dish to get the delicious cornbread out of the bottom of the salad.
Every bite of Bacon Cheddar Chili Cornbread Salad will have you drooling. Seriously, I could have eaten this whole container by myself it was that good.
Here’s the recipe.
BACON CHEDDAR CHILI CORNBREAD SALAD
(My own concoction)
- 1 head romaine lettuce, cut into small 1-2 inch pieces (I used about 4 cups)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- ¼ red onion, diced fine
- 1 can whole kernel corn, drained well
- 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained well
- 1 cup sliced black olives
- 1 lb. bacon, cooked and broken in small pieces, divided use
- 2 green onions, diced (use only green tops)
- 4-6-oz. cheddar cheese or cheddar jack cheese
- 1 recipe Bacon Cheddar Chili Cornbread or 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix, cooked, cut in cubes
- 2 tbsp. homemade Ranch Dressing Mix or 1 pkt. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
- 1 cup Just Mayo mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- Prepare cornbread.
- Cool and cut into cubes.
- Set aside.
- Prepare Ranch Dressing mix.
- Combine with mayonnaise and sour cream.
- Set aside.
- In a large glass bowl or trifle dish, layer the cornbread cubes.
- Layer half the bacon, then lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, corn, pinto beans and olives.
- Spread Ranch dressing over top.
- Sprinkle remaining bacon over the surface of the dressing.
- Sprinkle and mound the cheese in the center of the dish.
- Sprinkle green onion tops on top of cheese.
- Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight before serving.
If you’re looking for a new salad to wow your company, give Bacon Cheddar Chili Cornbread Salad a try.
While Bacon Cheddar Chili Cornbread Salad is gluten free, it is not low in calories nor one of the healthier salads you’ll ever eat. It is, however, one of the most delicious salads you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
I guarantee you, I salivated over every bite of this salad and just couldn’t get enough of it. I ate both of those parfait dishes plus two or three servings when I served it at our church. Yum.