corn bread salad with buttermilk dressing

You wouldn’t believe how I have stalked this salad. It started when I bookmarked it nearly three years ago. Three! Each and every summer, it has managed to get lost in the shuffle of tomato season. This summer I decided it would be made no matter what only to discover that the link I had to the recipe no longer worked and that — huh? — I apparently didn’t own or couldn’t find the cookbook it came from. Amazon fixed that a week later, and I set to making it for a barbecue last weekend, only for the barbecue plans to fall through as heirloom tomatoes grew soft on our counter. One thing after another got in the way of this salad this week — first we were out of buttermilk, then basil, then daylight, then energy… — until I finally dug my heels in last night and decided that we would have corn bread salad with dinner or else. I know, I’m so intimidating when I threaten salad.

heirloom tomatoes
chopped heirlooms

I’m so sorry I waited so long. This salad is the height of peak-summer awesomeness, a kind of Southern answer to Italian Panzanella — with cornbread for the croutons, buttermilk-lime dressing for the olive oil and red wine vinegar and soft lettuces for the chunky vegetables. It was a shame we weren’t eating it on a wrap-around porch somewhere, with sweet tea in tall glasses and a basket of room-temperature fried chicken, but it doesn’t mean that you can make that happen this holiday weekend.

toasted cornbread cubes

scallions and herbs

This is one of those dishes I’m going to look back at in the dead of winter with blinking disbelief — there were tomatoes that gorgeous everywhere? We could eat that any night of the week? Outside? With no coat or hat or cursing the latest Nor’easter? Why didn’t we make it last? We have to go back! I honestly felt that level of melodrama at the market this week, with Everything In The World in season, but my colossal girth only enabling me to lug home a couple bags of it. Alex (my self-described “pack mule”) promises he will bring home as much as we want this weekend but I know that filling our counters with eggplant and peppers and plums won’t do what I really hope it might: not allow this weekend to mark the beginning of the end of summer.

Though, you know, squeeze a snowsuit-clad squishy-faced tiny person into that shivery winter picture, and lo, I suppose it won’t be so unbearable after all.

cornbread salad

One year ago: Raspberry Breakfast Bars (psst! Like the granola bars, these are another fantastic hostess gift.)
Two years ago:
Hoisin Barbecue Sauce
Three years ago:
Key Lime Tartlets

Corn Bread Salad
Adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

As for the tomatoes, I know I went for the heirlooms (I’m a sucker for bright colors) but in general, I honestly see no reason to splurge on them when every tomato that comes off the field in late August is to die for. And why did I peel them? Well, because the Lee Brothers do, because their mama always did. I’d been so enamored with the skinless appeal of the tomatoes in last week’s tomato and corn pie, I wanted to give them another spin. I liked the effect a lot, but like upmarket heirlooms, your salad will lack for nothing if you use skin-on and pedigree-free tomatoes.

1 recipe Crispy Corn Bread (below) or 3 cups of 1-inch cornbread cubes
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (4 to 6 medium)
6 cups roughly torn sturdy fresh lettuce, such as Bibb, butter or Boston
2 cups bitter greens, such as arugula or dandelion greens
1 large Vidalia onion, trimmed, peeled, sliced crosswise as thinly as possible and separated into rings
1 recipe Buttermilk-Lime Dressing (below)

Preheat oven to 250°. Scatter the corn bread in a single layer on a half-sheet pan and bake until the pieces are lightly toasted, about 7 minutes.

If you wish to peel the tomatoes: Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes and chop them. (The Lee Bros. also suggest seeding the tomatoes, but I drew the line there.) Otherwise, just chop the tomatoes with the skin on.

Place lettuce, greens, 3 cups of toasted corn bread, onion and tomatoes to a large bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle with buttermilk dressing, season with salt and pepper, and toss again. Serve immediately.

Do ahead: If you’re making this for a picnic or pot-luck — and oh, you should — I suggest keeping the croutons in one container, the dressing in another and the salad mixture in a third; this is best freshly assembled, or in the 30 minutes after.

Buttermilk-Lime Dressing
Adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

Less heavy than a traditional green goddess dressing, but oh-so-much “greener” than my standard buttermilk dressing, this would be equally good on a salad as it would be as a dip (add 1/3 cup sour cream or crème fraîche, and a bit more salt) for something deep-fried. (They suggest okra, green tomatoes, oysters or hush puppies. I say “yes, please”.)

3/4 cups whole or lowfat buttermilk (whole preferred)
5 tabespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (they say from 3 to 4 limes; I only needed 1 1/2)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional, this was my addition to give it more zing)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely minced green onios
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Can covered tightly and stored in the fridge up to two days.

Thin, Crispy Corn Bread
Adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

1 tablespoon lard or unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups whole or lowfat buttermilk (whole is preferred, here’s how you can make your own)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease a 12-inch skillet with one tablespoon of the lard or butter, leaving any excess in the pan, and place it in the oven.

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until frothy and then whisk in the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix thoroughly. Melt the remaining butter in a small skill (or your microwave) and whisk the butter into your batter.

While the fat in the large skillet is smoking, carefully remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the fat around to coat the bottom and sides evenly. Pour the batter into the skillet; it should “sizzle alluringly”, says the Lee Brothers. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden brown and the edge has pulled away from the side of the skillet. Remove from the oven and either serve hot, in six wedges, or let cool and reserve for Corn Bread Salad (above).

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141 comments on corn bread salad with buttermilk dressing

  1. Those are the most “perfect” heirloom tomatoes I have ever seen – the different shapes and sizes, each with an awesome burst of color – your photo of them in the bowl is simply gorgeous. Love flavorful tomatoes, love corn bread, love salad – this works for me! I’m also loving your raspberry breakfast bars from 1 year ago. How did I miss those ?! ;)

  2. Joyce

    Yum! Will definitely make this weekend. We are drowning in the best tomatoes. And I’d already forgotten about the tomato and corn pie. I’ve made Paula Deen’s tomato pie before but the corn sounds like a great touch. Add it to the agenda as well. Is tomatoes at every meal too much?!?

  3. cPDX

    Welcome to the world of skinned tomatoes. Scalding them is absolutely the way. Also for peaches. But you know what sucks? Washing saucepan that you probably didn’t use for anything else, because you were making a tomato pie, or a salad. Know what works just as well? Boil a kettle of water, put the tomatoes in the sink (the X is non-essential too) and pour the boiling water slowly over them. Voila.

    1. deb

      cPDX — You wash the pot when you’re done? ;)

      Tabitha — Did you see Knocked Up? “Your baby WANTS you to gain weight!” Alex said that to me once, then practically ran from the room when I went to throw something at his head.

  4. I have been on an absolute panzanella- riffing bender over here myself lately, but ah doo dee-clare I never would have thought to take it the Southern route. Hoot and holler!

    I am a sucker for the butter bean pate in the Lee Bros. Cookbook–it will make your eyes roll back in you head. And how about those charming Lee brothers anyway? Loving them.They could show those circus animal Deen boys a thing or two!

  5. Jeni

    It’s food like this that makes me yearn for the end of my breastfeeding days. I’ve so missed the tomatoes this summer, along with cabbage, broccoli and onions!!! They make my poor girl pukey and miserable ;( Enjoy them while you can!!!!

    I’ve really enjoyed making baby food, I assume you’ll be doing the same?

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  6. I have been trying to think of something different to bring to an outdoor party tomorrow night. I want to use fresh produce from the potager, and I have plenty of heirloom tomatoes now. This looks perfect. Thank you Deb.

  7. Michelle

    This looks amazing! I will for sure be trying it out this weekend. I’ve had some of THE best heirlooms this summer that I’ve ever tasted. This looks like a great way to wrap up the last *sob* long summer weekend. I’m going to be lost with out my twice weekly farmers market trips. Thanks for the idea!

  8. Yum. The last time I bought buttermilk it took an insane amount of effort to use it up….but maybe I’ll go out and buy more just because this looks so damn good. Thanks.

    1. Sue

      You can freeze buttermilk in 1cup bags and pull out when you need it. You can freeze whipping cream and half-and-half, too.

  9. Sorry but I’m soooooo hot flashy the thought of winter now is making me smile! But let me tell you, your tomato photos are making drool – yep – see I’ve even got the MOOD SWINGS too! I so cannot wait to see photos of you and a new bundled up baby in the dead of winter! Lots and LOTS of good wishes to you and your husband!

  10. Melinda

    I second buttermilk ice cream as a delicious way to use up excess buttermilk. David Lebovitz has a dead-easy recipe for buttermilk-lemon sherbet in The Perfect Scoop that will change your life.

  11. This looks really lovely. I love corn bread everything, so I will have to add it to the list of foods to make before the farmer’s markets run out of gorgeous produce.

    I didn’t not enjoy my tomato peeling experience for the tomato and corn pie (which I made with greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and it was delicious), but my heirlooms are chosen for their odd shapes. Ribbed and pleated tomatoes are not fun to peel at all!

  12. That salad looks so delicious. I forget how much I love cornbread. I haven’t made any since before my 6 month old son was born… I should get on that. I’m also going to keep this salad in mind next time I make my menus.

  13. Love this idea. I’ve got an extra skillet of cornbread and was thinking of making big old fat croutons out of it anyway, but hadn’t gotten any further than that. Cornbread and tomatoes are so great together, aren’t they?

    1. deb

      Stacey — The scallions were for the dressing. I realized after the fact it said “mince” but seriously, I’ve gotten so lazy about directions these days!

  14. Kelly G

    Deb, when the baby comes and you are down for a week or so, you should post a “Top 10 Smitten Kitchen”–your top 10 favorites. I would be interested to see which recipes rise to the top. Personally, I would put that pear & chocolate cake up at #1.

  15. Stoich91

    Oh man. So cute! And this is the one time I say this, but not about the recipe: Yah…one babe is going to add a spark to your Christmas! And here is the random Q of the month: Do you think it’s too early to make pumpkin pie? Be honest… :-)

  16. I have just recently found this website (apparently it’s a rock that I live under) and have the granola bars storing in the freezer for back to school lunches, the tomato corn pie on the counter waiting for dinner and have every intention of making this salad sometime this weekend. (When I find something new, I obsess) I am from the South, but let me tell you, I’m not going to be able to find tomatoes like that anywhere in my town. Bummer. I’ll drink extra sweet tea and sit on my porch while I eat this to make up for it.

  17. I loooove the Lee Bros. Cookbook. I bought it after a trip to Charleston and it was like being on vacation, again. I really can’t wait to try this salad, yours looks SO good.

  18. Rhonda

    It must be nice to be able to get such great looking colorful tomatoes. Even though the ones we have here are great, red but great, the color would just liven up the day. Think of a simple pico in color. I wanted a yellow one when I made ‘yellow’ salsa a couple of months ago and couldn’t find one. Love that you are on a southern kick. Nothing better than fresh crunchy cornbread.

  19. Nan

    The Lee Brothers cookbook is one of my very favorites – I swear I’ve made at least half of the recipes in that book and have loved them all! This one has escaped my attentions – until now – so thanks, I’m going to add this to our Labor Day picnic! Nan

  20. just got back from union square market with yellow tomatoes and red cherry tomatoes. i ate most of the cherry tomatoes on the way home, they are like candy. i like the twist you put on this recipe.
    isn’t it baby-day soon? be well!

  21. Miranda

    Ok, I just have to say this… you make THE WEIRDEST FOODS.

    Ok. It could be because im a westerner, not a new englander. But Oh my GOD!!! It’s slaws, salads with BREAD (?!), weird combinations like avocado and roasted carrots?! Just every time I come here I’m blown away into smithereens with how insanely unthinkable these foods are. I’ve literally never eaten anything like most of them. Even the bean salads. Am I unexposed?!

  22. Erin

    This looks fantastic, and just the thing for the end-of-summer dinner I was planning for the weekend. So now I’ve got salad and dessert (homemade peach ice cream), but am still scratching my head over the entree. BBQ chicken seems natural, but alas–no grill. Any suggestions? Would love something simple.

    Thanks, Deb–I can’t wait to try this!

  23. That salad is beautiful! What I would do to have those gorgeous tomatoes in my kitchen. The thought of the sweet cornbread croutons mixed with that tangy dressing just makes me giddy.

  24. Deb, I just want to dive into this bowl of salad . It just looks stunning and the ingredients are simple and delicious . I cannot wait to make the dressing – I am thinking it would be quite versatile . Keep up the great work and all the best with the upcoming birth of “babySK”. I also wanted to ask if I could link my blog to your website for people to read and enjoy as much as I have .

  25. Ooh yum.. not a cornbread fan, but I’m all OVER that dressing. Can’t wait to try it. And I love the tomato pictures.. Our heirlooms have been so slow to get thriving this year and I’m hoping to have a similar picture of my own soon!

  26. Susan

    This looks so good. I just love Bibb lettus, it’s so soft and velvety. Great contrasts in this salad, can’t wait to make it. America’s test kitchen has a cornbread recipe that is my new favorite. They have you use butter and oil, mixed, to heat in the skillet so the butter doesn’t burn. And, instead of melting butter separately, you pour some of the skillet fat into the cornbread. I thought that was a clever time saver!

  27. I just found this blog, too, and I’m not sure how I went so long without knowing about it. This salad looks fabulous. I get my CSA basket tomorrow and we should have lots of tomatoes…I am going to have to try this.

    I must also say that I love the conversation that goes on here. It’s quite unique and so much more fun this way.

  28. When I was in college, a friend used humble dining hall ingredients to assemble a cornbread creation that she’d grown up with in the Ozarks: crumble a piece of warm cornbread in a bowl, surround it with cold milk, and drizzle it with honey. It’s absolutely amazing at first, with the contrasting flavors and textures and temperatures. But within a minute or two it turns into homogeneous, porridgey mush. This recipe has me wondering if it might be more successful with actual homemade ingredients, maybe a thin, crispy cornbread like this one…

  29. Hi! First time visitor to your site, and I had to comment.

    Your photographs are so beautiful. They really capture how lovely the food is. The colors themselves just suck you in! Thank you so much for the treat is has been to look at such a well-crafted site!

  30. Thanks for saving my derrière last night. I forgot to make cornbread to go with the Chile I made, and this recipe came together in 4 minutes flat. (I probably could’ve made it quicker if I wasn’t panicking and running around like the proverbial chicken without a head.) But it came out really well.

    I used smoked salt in place of the regular salt which was a nice tour. Merci!

  31. maxine

    I, too, have my personal summers going on but the pix of the salad jump off the page. You don’t have to be fromt the South to want to make this gorgeous looking salad.

    Question about the granola, has anyone ever used a buttery olive oil instead of vegetable oil to make the recipe?

  32. Kim M.

    This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to make it for Labor day…thanks for sharing!

    Oh- you are right Deb…once you meet your beautiful baby, and take he/her out dressed as that “snow-suit clad, squishy faced tiny person”, summer tomatoes will be the last thing on your mind! :-)

  33. Beth

    We have two of those tomatoes growing in our back yard: Green Zebra and I think the other is Cherokee Purple. We like both of them. The Green Zebra has a hint of lemon in it; very unusual but tasty. I don’t think Cherokee Purple can be beat for intense tomato flavor.
    I’ve been roasting the tomatoes and putting them in the freezer to bring out when it’s February!
    I love all the summer harvest but alas, soon we will be turning our ovens on for apple and pumpkin pie!

  34. Susan

    omg I am so happy I have somewhere to go on Labor Day so I can make this salad. I usually hate making salads for pot lucks but this is beautiful. Gotta have it.

  35. Wonderful! I’m having a fellow displaced Southerner over for dinner — we’re excited about sharing bourbon-peach sun tea cocktails, but I also have a ton of heirlooms from my CSA and I had just been thinking, “hmmmm. . .how can I Southern-up panzella?” Bingo.

    I adore the Lee Bros. I have an advance copy of their Simple Fresh Southern cookbook due out in November (I work at an indie bookstore) and it is awesome! Actually, it’s where the bourbon-peach tea recipe comes from.

  36. Deb: It’s funny you mention that because every time I had those insane cravings like I had during the 1st trimester, I think of that seen where Katherine Heigl’s driving the car and pulls over because she has to have a burger RIGHT THAT MOMENT. I can totally relate! :)

  37. Laura

    That looks amazing, and I’m not even a big fan of salad! Ok, this is totally unrelated, but this morning I was looking at an older posting on your site (for lemon tartlets), read about your love of tiny desserts, and was reminded of a cookbook I have: Sweet Miniatures, by Flo Braker. It’s full of recipes for tiny, bite-size desserts. I’m guessing you’ve heard of it or maybe have it, but in case not…it could keep you busy for a while!

  38. There are some salads that are so good that I just can’t stop eating them. I can tell that this salad would fall into that category. Looking forward to hearing about your “squishy-face” arrival.

  39. Geri

    What a great read tonight! I’m watching football and concentrating on your site too!
    Must be able to multitask these days planning what to eat this weekend. Seeing all of your recipes today and from past postings I’ll never run out of ideas. Love the sound of that cornbread salad. Must try it for sure this weekend. It really gets your attention and makes your taste buds work overtime while reading the recipes. Next summer I’m going to plant the heirloom tomatoes and hope they taste as good as they look. Do you know if they have perfected them to be pest and disease resistant like the tomatoes that have no taste at all from the grocery store. Just wondering
    Thanks so much for all your hard work putting this blog together with so many interesting ideas and subjects. I must say I feel as if my heritage is like yours Italian women are so much like the Jewish women we are so opinionated how we feel about food…I just had to laugh reading your opening statements. Wishing we were in the same space sharing words and food together…Well this blog is a great place for the words…..maybe one day they will find ways to transport us physically!….LOL

  40. sirenjess

    Okay, my question has nothing to do with delicious corn bread salad. I made the double chocolate layer cake for the second time but this time I made it triple because the first time I made it two layer and it over flowed but I dealt with it. The first time it came out perfect but this time it came out very crumbly. Why was that?

  41. I’m in charleston this very minute laying here watching my daughter sleep after a great meal at Muse last night. Saw lots of these tomatoes at farmers market yesterday and can’t wait to get back to Texas and try this salad along with a lot of other ideas I have gotten from this trip. Off to sailing today. Corn tomato pie is my next thing to try.

  42. This does sound absolutely wonderful. And I know what you mean about stalking recipes. I have tomato recipes I will look at all winter and think I AM MAKING THIS IN TOMATO SEASON! And I don’t know what happens. Tomato season is over and here’s this fabulous recipe staring back at me when I go through my files. I am trying harder this year with 20 heirloom plants still producing in my garden.

  43. sheri

    My midwest tomatoes look just like that and I am looking for things to do with them—always plant too many…my cross to bear. Yep just came across my stack of “going to try” asparagus recipes…….arrrgggghhhh

  44. gardencrazy

    Thanks for the recipe! It looks fabulous. Your Southern let’s-eat-fried-chicken-nostalgia-whatever is funny. Not too many of us still go around frying chicken anymore…BUT the iced tea thing, I’ll never do without that, I just don’t sweeten it to syrupy gagginess like some people! The front porch thing, definitely!

  45. Those tomatoes are so beautiful they just about bring tears to my drought-blighted tomato-deprived eyes… Can I make that picture my desktop wallpaper, pwetty pwease with sugar and kittens and unicorns…?

  46. This is the perfect part of summer for cooking – beautiful produce, but not so hot that you can’t turn on the oven. We haven’t had cornbread in months. I think it’s time!

  47. As good as this looks and sounds, I did not make it. However, due to the abundance of zucchini from my dad in law, I went to your archives and did the Zucchini Bread recipe. My optional ingredient was plumped golden raisins. This is by far the BEST zucchini bread I have ever tasted. It is unseasonably cool here in the Midwest, so the oven has been on in full force. Cobblers, Crisps, Crunches, and now the Z-Bread. I how I love Fall!!!!! Thank you. Nella

  48. SmartCookie

    Just made this salad and I have to ask if the corn bread croutons are supposed to be dry and crunchy like regular croutons. Mine were toasted but still moist after the 7 minutes in the oven. Please advise. We ate them anyway and they did do a great job of soaking up that yummy dressing. Just curious, I guess.
    I must add that I love your site and your incredible selection of recipes. I hope all goes well with your upcoming BIG event. Your babe will be well fed!

  49. So, I made this salad for a little end-of-summer picnic with my friend today, and it came out like pudding mush. This is why: the directions for the cornbread don’t say to re-bake it in cubes after it is already cooked, in order to make croutons. The directions to re-bake the cornbread in cubes are written in the directions for the salad, on top, not in the directions for the cornbread.
    So, I cut the cornbread in cubes and added it to the salad, which quickly became a cornbread mush with salad in it. My friend said it was like a quinoa salad, and he liked it. He was being a good sport.
    So, note to anyone who makes this: after you make the cornbread, cut it into cubes and bake it in the oven for seven MORE minutes, then add it to the salad, or else it will become mush.
    But the dressing kicked ass.

  50. I’m grasping at the final days of summer too! It seems the winter never ends once it begins here. This salad looks incredible, the tomatoes, the cornbread, the dressing…all of it!

  51. Katherine

    I made this last night to RAVE reviews. It is delicious. I toasted the croutons longer than 7 min, though, until they were really crisp. Thanks for another winner, Deb!

  52. Mine turned to mush too. Yummy mush, but mush nonetheless. I toasted the cornbread cubes for about 15 minutes and in retrospect should have gone longer until they were much more crisp (like Katherine’s). Still, the salad was great even the next day as leftover mush, it just wasn’t very pretty.

  53. deb

    I am sorry there is confusion over the toasting of the cubes, but I am not sure what needs to be edited — the first step of the salad recipe indicates that the corn bread cubes need to be toasted.

    That said, this salad will still not hold up until the next day. Cornbread, even crisp and toasted cubes, won’t hold up with a wet dressing without falling apart after some time. I noted in the recipe that this salad should be assembled either when it is to be eaten or no more than 30 minutes before, in hopes to warn people!

  54. Andrea

    Unfortunately don’t get to read you as often as I used to with a LO. But as usual, you made me laugh today and I wish you the best with you’re upcoming excitment!

  55. Annelise

    I made this last night and the cornbread came out perfectly, but I have to say, I am not a fan of this dressing. I thought it was pretty bland..and a bit too watery. I don’t think it complimented the ‘bitter greens’ very well either.

  56. Rebecca

    My body needed some veggies tonight, and I just knew that Smitten Kitchen would have the perfect dinner for me :-) I loved this salad. The dressing is light and flavorful, and the cornbread is an unexpected treat (I don’t like crunchy croutons, so I just threw in the cornbread as-is, atop the dressed salad. I thought it was very tasty indeed). My knife sills are lacking, and my mind is still boggled that it took me an hour and a half to make a darn salad, but it fed three people with enough left over for my lunch tomorrow, so it was clearly worth it :-) And I’m dreaming about tomorrow morning when I’ll have the leftover cornbread with some butter and jam…

  57. The buttermilk-lime dressing is right up my alley and the freshly baked cornbread croutons made it quite substantial enough for dinner!! Loved it ~ Thanks for the inspiration!

  58. Chris Howard

    I appreciate what the Lee Brothers are trying to do, but honey, no true southerner would EVER put sugar in their cornbread. Just keep that in mind.

  59. Heather

    I made this salad for a potluck and it was a hit! Next time I’d skip peeling the tomatoes, as it took quite a bit of time and didn’t seem to improve the salad. Also, I toasted the corn bread for twice the amount of time. This is one I’ll definitely bookmark. Thanks!

  60. I made this over the weekend and we loved it. Absolutely delicious. A few minor variations – I left the sugar out of the cornbread and used agave instead. A made the dressing like you suggested and added a little garlic. It was good. Unlike Heather, I found the peeled tomatoes to be divine.

    I think I might even try this as a side for eggs, sunny side up. I honestly could eat this for breakfast – it’s just that good.

  61. The (most of a) litre of buttermilk that’s been sitting in my fridge and telling me to use it for a week says that this is dinner tomorrow night. And that something is going to be deep-fried so that I can mix any leftovers with creme fraiche (for which I bought the buttermilk!) and dip away. Yum.

  62. Emre

    I am familiar with this salad’s flavor profile. You may also want to add a little amount of chopped fresh dill to enhance the flavor or/and also crushed creamy feta cheese.
    As for the comments about it becoming a mush, it is normal for any salad to turn into a mush or for it’s greens to wilt the next day considering that the dressing is added to it. The idea is to consume it right there =)

  63. Allison

    I made this for a Labor Day BBQ and thought it was fantastic. Friends loved it and appreciated a differnt taste for a salad. It is always fun to mix in something new and tasty. I’m new to your site and this is the first recipe I tried. Thanks for the delicious ideas.

  64. Shan

    It is tomato madness here! I made your salad as directed (with regular reds and yellow toms) and it was fantab. Split the salad in half and added roasted corn, bacon and goat cheese to it and then later an avocado. We were complete and utter oinkers. Cornbread… how I adore thee.

  65. A general comment: Brava! Good luck with the baby – I am confident your motherhood skills will come as naturally to you as your culinary and epistolary ones. Thank you for a very inspiring and entertaining site.

  66. heirloom tomatoes are my absolute fav. My first experience with them was about 3 years ago and ever spring since I’ve been trying to grow them in my garden without any success. I don’t mind paying extra for them at the grocers!

    Happy cooking.

  67. PineappleGirl

    I made this salad for my ladies book club yesterday. I have to say I was disappointed at how THIN the dressing was. I added 1 cup of lf sour cream & about 1/2 cup lower fat mayo and it was still fairly thin. That said, the ladies RAVED over this. I added 2 things to round it out for an entree: 1 a cucumber seeded & thinly sliced in 1/2 rounds and 2 pounds of shrimp (which I boiled in the tradition I grew up in: with old bay seasoning, lemon, a bay leaf, some whole black pepper and a large bit of garlic to the water). IT WAS AMAZING.

    I’m going to have to check out that Lee Bros book! :-) Love your site and your passion for food!!!! Thanks for being faithful to lay out tested yummy recipes for all us foodies!

  68. With a bumper crop of heirloom tomatoes staring me in the face, the recipe looks to be a keeper. Trouble is, this lazy guy will modify it to: chop miminal lettuce and lots of toms, and add cube bread from whatever’s in box, and then dress with Marie’s blue cheese. That should work until I get around to making cornbread. Merci.

  69. Amelia

    oh my gosh! this was incredible! after spotting heirlooms at $3.99/lb at Whole Foods I quickly snapped up a few to try out this recipe. Thank you so much for posting this! I was also a little uneasy about the dressing, or rather how thin it seemed but it tasted delicious atop the salad and I wouldn’t change a thing. I even left out the parsley because I forgot to grab some. I missed the fact that the cornbread was supposed to be crispy so after mine was finished baking (I used a different recipe) I sliced it into long strips and put it back in the oven to get that nice crisp aspect. It was complimented nicely by a roasted chicken and my boyfriend keeps going back to the kitchen and picking at the leftovers. I look forward to this salad tomorrow for lunch since I kept all the components separated! Thanks so much for the delicious meal ideas and congrats on that beautiful new baby boy!

  70. I have really gotten into making cornbread this last week or so. needless to say there may be a bit too much of the stuff on the kitchen counter tops. Mr.S is tired of eating it plain. I can’t wait to use this recipe to tonight to help me use up some of my overzealous cornbread making. Such a staple (in the south at least) done in new fresh way!

  71. Elizabeth

    I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a bit and actually baked the cornbread for it last weekend and let them turn into croutons by going stale and then baking them today.

    I’d still have let them go longer than 7 minutes, as some others have suggested.

    I did peel and seed some heirlooms, because I don’t like seeds, but it took too long for “just” a salad.

    And my goodness, yes, that dressing was thin. I added a couple of tablespoons sour cream immediately, which was helpful.

    Next time I’ll just throw regular tomatoes from the farmer’s market in there. I’ll probably also grab some already baked cornbread from Whole Foods or similar and just make croutons. Because I can’t wait this long for bread salad. :0

    Fried green tomatoes and zucchini with the leftover dressing later in the week!

  72. Elizabeth

    I did the fried green tomato thing tonight, along with the zucchini. I used some wonderful Green Zebra tomatoes, which start and stay green. I replaced the regular salt and pepper sprinkle with the Sunny Spain mix from the spice people at Penzey’s (kind of a kicked up version of lemon pepper).

    The results were wonderful! I’ve never had fried tomatoes before. I’m still working off a childhood tomato aversion, in fact, but this might be the final kicker!

    But still, the dressing! I added (again) some sour cream as described by the original authors and it was still practically water. It tasted good but ran right off the vegetables. Next time I’m going to cut way back on the volume of buttermilk and use regular buttermilk instead of homemade sour milk. Maybe throw in some plain Greek yogurt, too, since it’s so thick.

  73. Meghan

    Just made this cornbread recipe – for the cornbread alone. Good, not the most amazing ever, and probably would be perfect for the salad. I did have a small problem – I’m not sure my skillet was hot enough when I poured in the batter, so the bottom of my bread didn’t fully cook. For the next attempt, make sure to hear that sizzling!

  74. Liz D.

    Amazing! A perfect summer salad for those of us who long for the flavors of the South, but can do without everything being deep fried or smothered in gravy (though I do like both of those things, too). This is a delicious, fresh, tasty, tangy, hearty wonderful salad. I only wish I had made it sooner!

  75. Emily

    Finally got around to making this last night. I was also making paninis and running around the kitchen like mad, so I forgot the second baking of the cornbread, but it still turned out to die for. I dressed each bowl of salad individually (fairly sparingly) so nothing turned to mush and everyone loved it. The cornbread soaked up the dressing just a tiny bit and tasted exquisite. My mom and I are planning to eat the leftover cornbread dipped in the leftover dressing this afternoon. (We had leftovers of the “sides” because a couple of my brothers just had the plain salad with ranch dressing – they don’t know what they missed!)

    That combined with a dessert of the mint souffle cupcakes made for a fabulous dinner. Thanks Deb!

  76. Laura

    So I tried this last night (delish – thanks!) but I had a question about making buttermilk – I tried your recipe for it before (when I made biscuits) and it worked perfectly. Last night I was out of regular vinegar and used cider vinegar – it didn’t work (so I thinned out yougurt for both parts) – do you think the kind of vinegar matters? Any thoughts?

  77. I really cannot believe that we have not made cornbread salad in this manner before. We eat tons of cornbread, but the idea of making a taco salad style layered salad from it just never occurred to us! Guaranteed it will be on this year’s July 4th BBQ list!

  78. Mia

    This wasn’t my favorite. The dressing, while it had an interesting flavor, was too thin and the herb flavor was rather overpowering. The cornbread recipe was lackluster and bland. However, let it be noted that I did not “skillet-fry” mine first; I baked it entirely in a buttered pan in the oven. I like a cornbread that is sweeter, so perhaps more sugar would have fixed it.

  79. JB

    The salad looks great, but the cornbread does not look like any cornbread I have ever seen before in Tennessee. I think a tsp of sugar would make it terribly sweet. Sorry, Deb.
    I would use bacon grease instead of lard or butter. Makes a beautiful crust and the taste is marvelous.

  80. mbaker


    Thanks for a great site.

    Traditional cornbread salad is much different than this recipe. The best recipe for southern type cornbread is on the back of Aunt Jemima yellow cornmeal. it is baked in a cast iron skillet in the oven, with no sugar added. it is much more grainy and doesn’t get as soggy as the finer textured cake like kind.

    We use radishes and green onions in addition to the tomatoes but no lettuce, and sometimes a little corn to give it more crunch, but no spice and no special dressing, just a little salt and pepper and mayo.

    Try this if you want a more authentic recipe.

  81. mbaker

    Deb, A P.S. to my last post:

    Sometimes I add a small zuchinni or yellow crookneck squash to mine as well. Some folks add a small cucumber instead. it does make a stronger taste however. I’ve found As long as you have the right kind of cornbread, it is a very forgiving salad. Another thing, without the lettuce, you can refrigerate it a while to blend flavors which I normally do. This is from a born and bred southerner.

  82. Eating salads is a super-convenient way to work in a couple of servings of vegetables and/or fruit. Green salads are on the menu of almost every restaurant. You can even buy a side salad (with Romaine lettuce, carrots and tomatoes, available with fat-free or reduced-calorie salad dressing) for a buck at many fast food chains these days.

  83. Yeah, I could definitely get down with this salad. It’s kind of perfect for me and my type of salad!! this is on the menu tonight for dinner … not only does it sound delish it also looks great on the plate! thx! I had featured u in the post of Top 7 Unusual Recipes with Bread on AllFreshRecipes, expect ur more delicious eats!

  84. Brenda

    the salad was great…. the buttermilk croutons were great…the buttermilk lime dressing had a great taste BUT it was like pouring water over your salad. buttermilk thinned down with 5 TBSp of lime juice???? it was like water!?!? did they leave an ingredient out that was to thicken this dressing some!?!? I ended up adding some sour cream to it but it was still way to runny!!!

  85. Elizabeth

    I liked this but didn’t love the dressing – it was too sweet for my taste, I was hoping for a more citrusy-savory flavor. I liked the addition of cornbread cubes, will just try with a different dressing next time. I also didn’t have any arugula and don’t eat raw onion, so it’s possible that those ingredients balance out the sweetness in the dressing.

    I agree with the other commenter that the dressing was more watery than I hoped – I brought it as plane food and decided to dress the salad hours before eating. Definitely follow Deb’s advice to dress right before serving!

  86. Jennifer

    I made this a while back-and didn’t really like the dressing, but this cornbread salad idea has kind of become a September staple for me before the tomatoes are gone. I have made dressing and cornbread from scratch, or Kraft ranch and Jiffy cornbread, either way I’m happy and feel like I am getting the last bits of summer before I think about fall. Sometimes I don’t even toast up the cornbread. If it is leftover from dinner the night before it holds up fine. As long as the tomatoes are homegrown, I’m good to go. Today I made it with jalepeno cornbread and my lunches this week are spectacular.

  87. Maggy

    This sounds DELICIOUS; can’t wait to make it!! Our summer tomato season is just beginning; I’ll be heading to the Farmers’ Market *first thing* on Saturday morning to stock up!