Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Avocado Dressing Recipe

A panzanella twist...

Instead of the usual Tuscan panzanella salad with tomatoes, onion and garlic rubbed bread, this panzanella uses croutons made from cheddar jalapeño cornbread and a whole lot of diced veggies, grilled corn and a creamy avocado dressing!  It's delicious - we had it Thursday night with a grilled flank steak! You can add really whatever veggies you have on hand.  Beans would be great in this too!  We loved this salad topped with crumbled cotija cheese and toasted pepita seeds.  It makes a good amount - at least enough for 6 - will be a perfect summertime party salad! 

Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Avocado Dressing Recipe:

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud.com

Makes 6-8 Servings

Ingredients
Cornbread:
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup oil
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (2 ½ tablespoons)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Croutons:
2 tablespoons oil for drizzling on croutons

Dressing:
½ cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed (or parsley)
½ avocado
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup water
¼ cup olive oil

Salad:
¾ cup corn cut from 1-2 grilled ears (or thawed frozen)
1 red pepper, diced, seeds removed
1 yellow or orange pepper, diced, seeds removed
3 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
1 English cucumber, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup cotija cheese
2 tablespoons roasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

Directions

Make Cornbread Croutons:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and whisk together. In small bowl mix oil, milk and egg together.  Add wet ingredients to dry and begin to fold together.  Add cheese and jalapenos and mix until just combined.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 Minutes or until golden brown and pulling from the sides of the pan.  Allow to cool 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack to cool fully.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Cut cooled cornbread into 1-inch cubes and spread  on baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, turn and drizzle with other tablespoon oil.  Bake for 25 minutes, flipping croutons halfway through.  

Make Dressing:
Pulse all ingredients in food processor except for oil.  Turn food processor on high and drizzle in oil.

Assemble Salad: 
(Best to toss when you’re ready to serve.)
In large bowl toss together all salad vegetables gently with croutons and dressing.  Top with cotija cheese and pepita seeds.

Printable Recipe Link: Panzanella Cornbread Salad