Ah, Labor Day weekend…the last great hurrah of summer, before we turn our attention to changing leaves, fall colors, and pumpkin spiced everything. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer, and that you have a chance to celebrate the day off this weekend in a special way.
If you’re heading to a cookout this weekend, and are looking for something to bring, this is a great, fun, fresh summer salad to feed a crowd. Another bonus? You can make it ahead of time, so if you’re the one hosting the cookout, you don’t have to do it last minute.
The day before I made the salad, I baked up a pan of cornbread and mixed together some Buttermilk Ranch dressing. I didn’t make fancy cornbread, just a package from the grocery store. The cornbread would eventually be crumbled up as a layer for my salad, and I made the dressing ahead because I figured that it would taste better if it chilled overnight.
The morning of our cookout, I got to chopping.
The original recipe called for a can of Mexicorn (corn with red peppers). I’m in Indiana, and surrounded by beautiful corn. I just couldn’t justify using the canned stuff in the middle of summer when fresh produce is at its peak. Plus, the fresh stuff just tastes so much better. So, I cut the kernels off of some fresh corn instead, and stirred in some diced red pepper. You don’t even need to cook the corn. It’s sweet, and perfectly crisp right off the cob.
After I chopped up my tomatoes, lettuce, and green onions, I sizzled up a few pieces of bacon until they were nice and crisp and crumbled them up. I crumbled up my cornbread, and got my well chilled dressing out of the fridge. Then, I set everything out in my totally Type A-everything-in-its-place way before I got to layering.
I made two sets of layers, starting with the cornbread, then lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn and peppers, shredded Mexican blend cheese, bacon, green onions, and dressing.
After the first set was in, I repeated the layers, but I decided to put the green onions and bacon on top of the dressing. (I know, I’m such a rebel.)
At this point, I popped a top on the bowl, and it went into the fridge for about three hours. It needs to chill for at least two before serving it.
When we were ready to eat, I just tossed the whole thing up and we were able to dive into a big bowl of summer fresh deliciousness. It really was pretty tasty. As far as Southwestern flair goes, it has buttery cornbread and black beans, but it’s (obviously) not spicy at all. I think next time, I’ll try and spice up the dressing with some extra seasoning or throw in a jalapeno with the cornbread mix.
Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!
SOUTHWESTERN LAYERED SALAD
Adapted from Southern Living
- 1 (6 oz.) pkg. cornbread mix, made according to directions on the package, and cooled completely
- 1 (1 oz.) pkg. dry Buttermilk Ranch dressing mix, mixed according to the directions on the package (I use Hidden Valley, and you'll need 1 cup of mayo and 1 cup of low-fat buttermilk to mix with the seasonings in the package)
- 1 head Romaine lettuce, shredded
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 3-4 cobs)
- ½ cup diced red pepper
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
- 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
- 5 green onions, chopped
- Crumble up prepared cornbread and set aside.
- Prepare the salad dressing according to the directions. (I suggest making this ahead of time and letting it chill for a bit before putting the salad together.)
- Stir together the corn and red pepper in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, layer half of the crumbled cornbread, then half of the lettuce, tomatoes, beans, corn mixture, cheese, bacon, and green onions.
- Then, spoon half of the dressing over the top of the first set of layers.
- Repeat the layers one more time, finishing with the dressing, bacon and green onions.
- Cover and chill for at least two hours before serving.
- Toss before serving.