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Grilled Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Avocado and Corn

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Calling all crouton lovers-yeah you, because that is what this cornbread panzanella salad is all about.

We all know that panzanella salad is from the region of Tuscany and is essentially a way to use stale bread and soak it with the glorious juice of fresh red tomatoes. We know that, right?

Then enough already. Let it be said that I AM A CROUTON LOVER and this salad is one way to appease my addiction.

No, I am not a fan of boxed croutons, I am a fan of homemade garlic croutons and now I am a bigger fan of grilled cornbread croutons. This is a summer salad so don’t overlook the grill.

I made this salad to accompany bbq ribs. I am not a rib lover.  I made this salad for me. This would be a perfect salad to top with grilled chicken. Or grilled shrimp. Or grilled fish. Or nothing. I am pretty matter of fact today, because I just am.

I used store bought cornbread because I made this at the last minute. Not the best idea I’ve ever had because their cornbread was too sweet and I didn’t let the cornbread dry out enough which caused the cornbread to crumble on the grill.

Learn from my mistake. Let the cornbread dry out or cut it into 4 8″ long slices and let it dry in the toaster oven first; or on your counter overnight.

This salad is best made with stale bread. It is more easily cut into cubes then and hence more easily toasted on the grill. It certainly is not necessary to grill it, but I promise you will love the grilled flavor. I PROMISE!

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I used a variety of heirloom tomatoes, because I love all the different colors. I always have a hard time choosing. Most people choose tomatoes based on ripeness and flavor. I can’t even get past the color.

When it comes to gladiolas I’m the same way. I love color. Maybe you can tell by looking at the salad. What colors do you see?

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This salad is easily made with your favorite veggies and even your favorite dressing. It needs a slightly acidic dressing, a bit high in vinegar.

I love basil in this. I love oregano in this. I love, love, love pepper. I threw in corn and avocado and would have loved bacon, but bacon is over done, isn’t it? Well, maybe it isn’t.

I’m leaving you now. In case you didn’t know and I really didn’t either, this has turned into the year of the yard.

I have a beautiful yard that has been neglected for the last few years. Well, this year it is getting TLC. And why this year? Well, this year is the year I got Manservant to work with me.

The folly is coming along and the grass is getting greener. The waterfall is working non stop. We are afraid to turn it off for fear it may not start again.  

Next year I might even reconsider putting in a vegetable garden. My hope is that the yard might be a tad more manageable next year. OH MAN. Who am I kidding?

Speaking of which does anyone know how to get rid of Japanese beetles without pesticide? OH MAN. Why would I ever want a garden?

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cornbread panzanella salad

Grilled Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Avocado and Corn

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  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


The perfect summer salad in my opinion. Great for using fresh basil and tomatoes and corn!


Units Scale

4 c cornbread or 1 8″ pan (I use the recipe on the back of the Quaker yellow cornmeal box)
1/2 c olive oil total
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lb ripe, tomatoes
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c fresh basil leaves, cut in thin strips
2 T fresh chopped oregano
3 T Italian parsley, chopped
1 avocado cut into cubes
1 ear of corn, cooked and cut off the ear


Heat grill to medium heat or oven to 450.

Toss dried cornbread with 3 T olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread cornbread in an even layer on grill pan or if baking in oven, on a baking sheet. Grill or bake until toasted and golden. This may take 15-20 minutes. If grilling, watch carefully because bread can burn quickly. Set cornbread aside.

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, more salt and pepper. Whisk the remaining olive oil with the vinegar and drizzle over the salad. Add basil, oregano, parsley, avocado and corn and toss gently.

When ready to serve add cornbread croutons and let sit for about 10 minutes so dressing has a chance to permeate the croutons. Garnish with more fresh herbs.


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Cheri Savory Spoon

Friday 31st of July 2015

Hi Abbe, I am a croton lover and even more a heirloom tomato lover, the Cherokee purple is one of my favorites. Beautiful salad. I need to get out in my garden too.

Abbe Odenwalder

Wednesday 19th of August 2015

I bet your garden is gorgeous, Cheri!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen

Thursday 30th of July 2015

Raising my hand as a crouton lover! Your idea of using cornbread for the croutons is wonderful and must take this salad to another level. Tapping my feet waiting for my big green tomatoes to ripen.

Abbe Odenwalder

Wednesday 19th of August 2015

I'd be frying those green tomatoes, Susan! :)

La Table De Nana

Wednesday 29th of July 2015

I think you would love a garden:)I must admit this my first year w/ a proper albeit small small small potatger and I already know a few things I won't plant again..eggplant did not take off here and I have been watching my one and only..only to see the 2 inch thing at it's stem..and food for the squirrels I no eggplant..I will enrich the soil too..definitely cherry and pear tomatoes..herbs..garlic..(Love garlic in the garden) radishes were fun..

not sure sure about anything else except my Italian spinach and swiss chard.Iam more a bloom girl.This panzanella sald is exquisite to look at!

Abbe Odenwalder

Wednesday 19th of August 2015

I'm a bloom girl, too! But I could be a veggie girl again, too! Thanks Monique!


Wednesday 29th of July 2015

I am a lover croutons too! Your salad is gorgeous :)

Abbe Odenwalder

Wednesday 19th of August 2015

Thanks Zaza! Croutons are the best part of the salad, right?


Wednesday 29th of July 2015

That looks delicious Abbe! I love the idea of grilling them too - I am not a fan of overly sweet corn bread either. Hugs!

Abbe Odenwalder

Wednesday 19th of August 2015

Love the grilled taste, Biz!