Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Cornbread Panzanella Salad | The Old Mill

The classic Italian Panzanella salad – a salad of fresh tomatoes, basil, and olive oil, with cubes of day-old bread added to soak up the juices – gets a decided southern twist in this fun recipe.

Instead of crusty bread, we use crusty cornbread, cut into cubes and returned to the oven to crisp up nicely before these croutons are turned onto the salad to soak up juices – just like its Italian cousin.

This colorful salad is an American twist on an Italian favorite, and it’s perfect to take to Fourth of July parties and potlucks. Much of this recipe can be made in advance, and you can toss it with the vinaigrette and add toppings just before serving.

But clearly, the croutons made from our Old Mill White or Yellow Self-Rising Cornmeal are the real star here. Made without an egg, the cornbread stays dense and moist and perfect for turning into crunchy, flavorful croutons.

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Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Cornbread Panzanella Salad | The Old Mill
  • Prep Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salads and Dressings


Cornbread Croutons:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (sliced from 1 to 2 ears of sweet corn)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 to 6 cups spinach or arugula
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup your favorite balsamic vinaigrette
  • Reserved Cornbread Croutons
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet with vegetable oil. Place the skillet in the oven or on top of the stove to heat. For the batter, place the cornmeal in a large bowl, and stir in the buttermilk and vegetable oil until smooth. Pour the batter into the hot skillet, and place the skillet in the oven. Bake until it is lightly browned, about 16 to 20 minutes. Run a knife around the skillet and turn the cornbread out onto a rack to cool completely. Cut the cornbread into 1-inch squares.
  2. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Place 4 cups cornbread squares in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Turn onto a baking sheet and spread them out in one layer. Place the pan in the oven, and bake the croutons until they are lightly browned, stirring once or twice during cooking, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let the croutons cool.
  3. Place the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the corn, cumin, and salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat, and set the mixture aside to cool slightly.
  4. Place the spinach or arugula in a large salad bowl. Spoon the corn mixture over the top, and add the sliced tomatoes and avocado. Season the top with salad and pepper to taste. Drizzle on your favorite vinaigrette. Garnish the top of the salad with the cornbread croutons, feta, and basil. Toss and serve.


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