We all need a break from our hurried lives to do a bit more of what we love to do. In my case, I love food writing and developing recipes in my spare time, when I’m not doing design work for a nine to five job. Sure, there are more demanding tasks, but this time, I took a break from more important work to contribute a recipe to Black History Month’s Potluck, a group of African-American food bloggers sharing recipes during February. My recipe: Southern Style Caesar Salad with Cornbread Croutons.

Don’t be alarmed at the simplicity of this recipe. It’s curly kale and radicchio (or red cabbage) instead of romaine lettuce that is tossed with black eye peas. And, the classic Caesar dressing isn’t a time-consuming process thanks to the use of anchovy paste. And, let’s face it, you can buy cornbread or make it from scratch (the recipe is here), cut it into one-inch pieces and follow the directions below for making croutons.

Black History Month is an important time of the year to celebrate. Perhaps, it also serves as a reminder for me to pause from my hurried life to learn more about how my ancestors dealt with problematic environments and stress. After all, because of them, I live today.

Southern Style Caesar Salad

Ingredients

Ingredients for Cornbread Croutons

Ingredients for Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp. anchovy paste
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard (love the whole-grain version)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, more or less to personal taste
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper, more or less to personal taste

Ingredients for the Southern-Style Caesar Salad

  • 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted and lightly steam
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1-14 oz. canned black-eye peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch of fresh, curly kale greens, stems discarded and gently torn
  • 1 small head of radicchio or half a small head of red cabbage, core removed and discarded, and thinly shredded by slicing it
  • 1 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Directions for Cornbread Croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  2. With a sharp knife (dull knives causes more crumbs), cut cornbread into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Place cornbread over a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cornbread croutons are dark brown on one side.
  5. Turn the croutons over. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the cornbread croutons are brown on another side.
  6. Remove from the oven to let cool. Place croutons aside until ready to toss into the salad.

Directions for Yogurt Caesar Dressing

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender. 
  2. If the ingredients is too thick to process, add about 1 tbsp. of water to thin it out.
  3. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated to make the Yogurt Caesar Dressing.
  4. Set the dressing aside. 

Directions for the Southern-Style Caesar Salad

  1. Add the rest of the salad ingredients to a super large bowl, but don’t toss.
  2. Add the Caesar dressing to the salad bowl, and lightly toss the salad. If necessary, adjust seasoning by adding more sea salt and fresh black pepper. 
  3. Let the salad sit overnight or for at least two hours in a sealed container to soften the kale.

Directions for Finishing the Dish

  1. Let the salad get to room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. 
  2. If serving the salad in one bowl: Gently toss the cornbread croutons in the salad.
  3. If serving the salad in individual servings: Add the cornbread croutons on top of the salad.
  4. If packing the salad for a workday lunch: Pack the cornbread croutons separately from the salad. Add the croutons to the salad before eating. 
  5. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, check out other food bloggers, who are also participating in this year’s Black History Month’s Potluck.

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