Is a side that’s based on cornbread and placed in a casserole dish really a salad? Only your heart can answer that question, but all I know is that no matter how you classify it our Chili Cornbread Salad is the kind of dish that’s both universally loved and easy to make. That means it’s perfect for potlucks, picnics, and parties alike but it works as a quick family meal just as well.
The combination of chili and cornbread is clearly a classic and this “salad” plays off of that by combining the two with a creamy ranch dressing and some fresh vibrant toppings in a layered fashion. You can think of it like a Panzanella – it’s still a salad, just based on the deliciousness of bread instead of lettuce!
You can use your favorite cornbread mix here, but we’ve jazzed it up by adding in some green chiles, cumin, and oregano before it heads into the oven. Once it’s done baking you crumble it up and layer it with a quick ranch dressing, pinto beans, corn, tomatoes, green onion, bacon, and cheddar cheese. It all chills for a couple of hours and while waiting is hard, it really does help the flavor.
See, the cornbread takes on some of the dressing but doesn’t get mushy at all. It’s the perfect fluffy base for all the crunchy, sweet, creamy vibrant flavors that are layered in there. It’s a salad that’s got it all, whether or not you actually think it’s a salad.
Chili Cornbread Salad
10m prep time
20m cook time
- 1 (8.5 oz) package cornbread mix, plus ingredients called for on box
- 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 packet ranch dressing mix
- 2 (15 oz each) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 (15 oz each) cans whole kernel corn, drained
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 10 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter or nonstick spray.
- Prepare cornbread batter according to package instructions. Stir in chiles, cumin, and oregano before transferring to baking dish. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, stir together the mayo, sour cream, and ranch dressing mix. Set aside.
- Crumble half of the cornbread into a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Top with half the beans, mayo mixture, corn, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, bacon, and cheese. Repeat layers once more.
- Cover dish and chill for 2 hours. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.