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Beat the Heat Dinner: Cornbread Salad

This a great make-ahead salad for hot days, but you can also make it and eat it immediately, if you prefer. I like the salad because I can use leftover cornbread in it. If you don't have leftover cornbread and don't want to bake any, you can use store-bought cornbread or muffins. The store-bought cornbread usually isn't as good, but it will work in a pinch. The salad requires a fair amount of chopping, but it's easy to do, and the salad is impressive when you're finished. Don't be deterred by the long list of ingredients--most make up the salad dressing, which is simple to mix up. You can use chopped ham to make the salad or low-fat turkey ham, if you'd prefer. Chopped chicken also will work, but the salad will be blander without the salt from the ham. I use a combination of spinach and arugula for the salad greens--sweet and slightly bitter greens--but, again, use what you like and have on hand. The salad is filling, tasty, and great for lunches, if you have any left.

Southern Cornbread Layered Salad

Southern Cornbread Layered Salad -- Serve 8+

3 cups of prepared cornbread, crumbled, divided

2 cups of shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1 cup of chopped red, yellow, and/or orange bell pepper (a combination is good,

but use what you have)

1/2 cup of chopped green onion (green and white parts)

1-2 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1/2 - 1 cup)

1 14-16-ounce can of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/4 cup of lime juice

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 large tomatoes, chopped (or about a pint of cherry tomatoes)

2 cups of chopped ham or turkey ham (or chicken, if you'd prefer)

4-6 cups of spinach and arugula, washed, mixed, and torn (or use some other

greens, if you'd prefer)

1/2 cup of non-fat, plain yogurt

1/4 cup of reduced fat mayonnaise

1/3 cup of cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1/2 teaspoon of dried dill weed

2 teaspoons of minced dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper

2 teaspoons of sugar

1 cup of fresh parsley for garnishing (optional)

Chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes for garnishing (optional)

In a large salad bowl, place about 2 cups of crumbled cornbread. Layer on 1 cup of the shredded cheese. In another bowl, combine the chopped peppers, onion, celery, and black-eyed peas. Stir in the olive oil, lime juice, mustard, garlic powder, lemon pepper, and salt until everything is well mixed. Spoon about half of the vegetable mixture (with the dressing) on top of the cheese layer. Sprinkle on the remaining crumbled cornbread, then 1/2 cup of the cheese, then the remaining vegetable mixture. Sprinkle on the tomatoes and the ham. Put the spinach/arugula mixture on top of the tomatoes/ham. In a bowl, whisk together well the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic and onion powders, dill, parsley, smoked paprika, lemon pepper, and sugar. Pour the mixture evenly over the top of the salad. Top the dressing with the remaining 1/2 cup of the cheese. Garnish the salad with fresh parsley and additional tomatoes, if you'd like. Keep the salad refrigerated until serving time.

Southern Cornbread Layered Salad

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