Cornbread salad with arugula and herbs takes store-bought cornbread and gives a quick grill. Then the radicchio hits the grill, too. Toss it all together with arugula, cherry tomatoes, red onion, olives, cucumber, and fresh herbs and you get something spectacular.
The addition of fresh herbs in their whole leaf form adds a wonderfully bright flavor and aromatic element to the salad. And when you grill any lettuce, you add a beautiful smokiness. The natural inherent flavor blooms and the flavor profile explodes. And who doesn’t love a little smoky barbecue flavor on everything? The same with the cornbread. Whether you use homemade or store-bought, when you grill it, the sugar in the cornbread caramelizes, the texture changes, and you add that smoky barbecue flavor. Toss it with the greens and all the goodies, and the flavors come alive.–Jamie Gwen
☞ Table of Contents
Cornbread Salad with Arugula and Herbs
For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the cornbread salad
- Homemade or store-bought cornbread*
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 head of radicchio cut into quarters
- 1 medium red onion cut into 1/2-inch-thick round slices
- 4 cups baby arugula leaves
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1/2 seedless cucumber thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup black or Niçoise olives
- 12 basil leaves torn into pieces
- 1/4 cup mint leaves left whole
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves left whole
Make the vinaigrette
- Combine the vinegar and mustard in a blender and pulse to combine. With the blender running, slowly add the oil, in a thin stream, to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the corbread salad
- Heat an outdoor grill or stove-top grill to high. Cut the cornbread into 1-inch wide strips and brush the cornbread strips lightly on all sides with the olive oil. Brush the onion slices and the radicchio quarters with olive oil as well and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the cornbread, just until grill marks appear, about 1 minute per side. Grill the onion slices until tender and golden, about 5 minutes per side. Grill the radicchio until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute total.
- Cut the grilled cornbread into 1-inch cubes and roughly chop the grilled onions. Combine the cornbread cubes and grilled onions with the remaining ingredients, add the vinaigrette to taste, toss the salad gently and serve.
*What kind of cornbread makes the best croutons?This recipe uses store-bought cornbread, for the sake of time. However, it might also work a little better because it’s not going to be as moist as homemade cornbread. That’s just how it goes, folks. But in this case, that’s what you want. Soft, crumbly, or moist cornbread will be excruciatingly hard to grill–falling through the grate and all that. So, if you make your own cornbread for this recipe, then you might want to cut the slices ahead of time and let them get just stale enough (or give them a little toasting) to hold their shape on the grill.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is my kind of summer salad! Seasonal produce, a light vinaigrette, and the grill…all elements that are simply lovely during this time of year. We were already firing up the grill for some grilled chicken breasts, so putting the grill to work on the side dish was an excellent idea.
I had just gotten some local arugula that morning from our local Farmers Market, had plucked a cucumber from the garden, and had some yummy whole wheat cornbread leftover from another dish I had made earlier in the week–all making for the perfect timing to make this salad with a Southern flair.
I think it is important to note that you need to be careful while grilling the strips of cornbread; if you are using a moist cornbread, you really need to be delicate when flipping it because it could easily fall through the grates. In fact, it might be better to use an indoor grill pan if your cornbread is super moist…)
In general, we loved the combination of the fresh greens, the grilled bitter greens and onions, the mustardy dressing, the fresh herbs, and the nutty grilled cornbread croutons.
Overall, we loved this salad! And if you like cornbread as we do, the unique spin on croutons will be a big hit at your home as well.
This is a very good salad–it’s like a cornbread panzanella almost. It was familiar, yet different. I love the freshness of the salad. I happen to love radicchio but here I found it to be a bit overpowering though. I’d either cut the amount or you could even omit it I think as there are enough other flavors here. I made a southern-style cornbread (it isn’t sweet) but I think for this recipe, a sweet cornbread would actually work better.
For grilling, I used a grill pan inside so I didn’t get that beautiful smoky flavor that I think would add another element here. Using a grill pan takes a bit longer.
This turned out to be the perfect dinner option for a hot summer night. The combination of the greens with the grilled onion and radicchio plus tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs plucked straight out of the garden was light, yet filling. The grilled cornbread, though not crisp and crunchy, lent a sweetness that balanced well against the other ingredients.
I whisked the vinaigrette rather than using the blender, which took about a minute and added the cornbread to the salad after tossing to avoid it breaking up. I then drizzled a little more dressing over the cornbread squares to make sure they absorbed some of the liquid. The cornbread took no more than 30 seconds per side, while the radicchio took more than 2 minutes to begin to wilt. The onions were tender and golden in about 5 minutes.
Along with chopping the onions, I also cut the radicchio into smaller pieces to make the leaves easier to toss and eat with the other ingredients. I used about 1/4 of the amount of cornbread in an 8-inch square pan and that turned out to be just about perfect for the salad. Enough for several cubes with each serving, but not so much that it became the centerpiece. I’ll definitely be making this again.
This recipe is a fun twist on a traditional panzanella salad! My kids and I loved it. The cornbread croutons and the grilled red onion are everything.
I used store-bought mini loaves of cornbread which turned out perfectly as all I had to do was cut the mini loaves in half to get one-inch wide strips for the grill. The store-bought bread is also less crumbly than my homemade bread and for this reason, I would use store-bought again. I also recommend adding the croutons to the top of the salad after it has been tossed. Otherwise, the bread became a tad bit crumbly.
So great for a summer cookout! The grilled cornbread is such a great touch, and a nice way to use up leftover or stale cornbread. This could be a side or the main event.
Originally published August 6, 2007