In my dreams, I have a cooking show called Snackdown in which I prepare a meal for pro-wrestlers of yesteryear, and we just hang out and talk about how cool they are. In this episode, I make over the classic Italian bread salad to the southern tastes of Hillbilly Jim. It’s chock-full of black-eyed peas, fresh veggies like beets and cucumbers, and set off with a tangy mustard dressing. Be sure to read the notes on this recipe – unless you like pink salad and bad cornbread.

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Whatsa Panzanella: Southern Style Vegan Cornbread Salad

Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meat free, Panzanella, plant based, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4



  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup canola oil


  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup vegan mayo
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar


  • 1 14 oz can black-eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper seeded and cut into 1” cubes
  • 2 to tomatoes cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 cucumber unpeeled, seeded and cut into ½” pieces
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 1 can sliced beets cut into 1” pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat your oven to 350° F, and spray a 9 x13” baking pan with cooking spray. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the margarine, then add the corn and cook 5-7 minutes until brown flecks start to appear on the cooked kernels. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  • In a medium bowl, stir the vinegar into the milk and set aside to curdle for a minute or two while you get the other ingredients together. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the milk mixture and oil to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Stir in the cooled corn kernels and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  • Once cooled, cut the cornbread into 1” cubes - they should be pretty dense and relatively dry. If the cornbread seems too soft, throw the cubes into a 400° oven for about 10 minutes to dry them out.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, mix the black-eyed peas, onion, pepper, tomatoes, cucumber and spinach together. Add the cornbread cubes and toss with the dressing. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Allow the salad to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving, then re-toss the ingredients. Add the beets just before serving.


  • This cornbread recipe is specifically made to hold up in this salad - if you eat it on its own you’ll likely find it on the dense side.
  • Throw the beets in last unless you like your salad bright pink.