Tomato, Melon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Tomato, Melon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad |
  • Tomato, Melon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad
Posted on August 29, 2016

This panzanella salad is my way of telling Fall to back the f*** up.

It’s one thing to be bombarded with back-to-school stuff and pumpkin flavored baked goods. But I almost lost my cool when I spotted Halloween candy at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago.

Um. Just no. Let’s all get ahold of ourselves and remember that it’s not even September yet. I’m still rocking a bathing suit on a daily basis. And from what I can tell, there is no room for Halloween candy on this Summer body. So that shit is going to have to stay on the shelf until sweater weather has arrived.

Instead, I bring you this Tomato, Melon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad. Which highlights gorgeous late Summer heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, mixed greens and sun-ripened honeydew melon. It’s savory, sweet and most importantly, in season.

Tomato, Melon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad |

I’m a big fan of panzanella salads and I’ve got a couple recipes here on the blog. Earlier this year I discovered that by using different types of bread, I could easily change up the flavor profile and bring new life to my panzanella salad recipes. So when I spotted a recipe from Food52 that incorporates cornbread instead of traditional French or Italian bread that is more typically used, I knew I had to make a similar version at home. I decided to add in some honeydew melon (you could also use cantaloupe) for sweetness and chopped bacon for that perfect salty contrast. And I added in a few extra greens to help bulk things up a bit, making this dish more than worthy of a main meal.

Tomato, Melon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad |

It’s best to use cornbread that’s a day or two old for this recipe. You can bake up your favorite homemade version. Or buy a loaf from the grocery store. It’s all good.

I found I didn’t need any extra dressing for this salad. The juices from the tomatoes and the honeydew melon was enough of a coating for my tastes. But feel free to add a splash of either apple cider or balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, if that suits your fancy.



Tomato, Melon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Serves 4-6

Tomato, Melon and Cornbread Panzanella Salad


  • 6 slices bacon
  • 4 cups cubed cornbread (preferably a day old)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups cubed honeydew melon
  • 4 cups sliced heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Lay the bacon slices on top of the parchment paper in a single layer. Place the cubed cornbread in a second baking pan and drizzle with the olive oil. Transfer both baking pans to your pre-heated oven. Cook the bacon for 12-18 minutes, depending on it’s thickness and your preferred level of doneness, then remove it from the oven and transfer the bacon slices to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Cook the cornbread for 12-15 minutes, until crisp and dry. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss together the melon, tomatoes and cornbread. Let sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature. Then chop the bacon and add this to the bowl along with the mixed greens, basil leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. If you wanted to add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil or vinegar, this would be the time to do that.
  3. Transfer to serving bowls and enjoy immediately.


  • Hi, Liz! This is one gorgeous-looking salad! And thanks for the laugh: I had an IDENTICAL reaction to the appearance Halloween candy and pumpkin-spiced…EVERYTHING. 😉


    • Right? It’s so overkill. I can’t deal. I’m embracing every last drop of Summer!

  • Awesome recipe Liz. I saw a recipe using cornbread in one of my favorite southern magazines called Palate, but I hadn’t tried it yet. I like that you’ve added the honeydew because that’s a favorite of mine. I’ll be getting this one on my must try list before all those summer tomatoes are gone!
    And I’m with you on the no rush fall!! I don’t know about you, but I won’t be hanging any Halloween decorations for quite a while, so what’s the hurry?!


    • Absolutely no hurry at all. Let’s enjoy more of Summer!

  • Ohhhhh gawwwwl, I’m not ready for fall/winter by any stretch of the imagination, either. I could use about 8 more months of summer punctuated by about a week of hellacious snowfall, then back to summer. In any case, you’re sure showing fall what’s up with this delish panzenella salad. Corn bread? Stop it, you genius!


    • Well, I can’t take credit for the corn bread idea. But I will admit that it’s pretty genius! XOXO!

  • Ah, jeeze. I’ve been Ms. Grumpy about this very thing. LIZ! I was in the store just a few days ago and saw the dreaded Halloween candy stacked high. I’m baffled. I just put my first fresh ear of corn in my mouth this past weekend! (insert crying emoji) It’s too damn early to start thinking about Fall and holidays… sheesh!! Croutons are a must.. I keep homemade stocked because there’s no way I’m running out of those crunchy morsels! It has been a while since I’ve had cornbread croutons, though, so I’m totally mouthwatering over this spin! I love the melon you added here.. a really nice balance to the corn!


    • I just don’t see why everybody is in such a rush! Hope you try this version – the melon is so good in here!

  • i’m digging my heels in and resisting fall too. easy to do with this fab recipe. love that you subbed cornbread for the traditional crusty Italian. a must try for the dog days of summer!


    • Yes! Glad you’re on board to hang onto Summer with me!

  • This looks so fresh and delicious!! I’m really diggin’ the cornbread in here!! I love Fall don’t get me wrong, but I’m definitely trying to hang on to Summer for as long as I can!!! And Halloween, already? Come on, my kids aren’t even back in school yet haha


    • Right? It’s nuts. Way too early for Halloween candy!

  • Seriously what’s up with the Halloween candy? Do we really need to see it while our bathing suits are still wet from the pool? I think not! This salad is a great way to celebrate the end of summer. Looks delicious!


    • Thanks, Karen! I’m so not ready for Halloween candy! Bring on the bikinis for another couple weeks!

  • Panzanella with cornbread is INFINITELY better than panzanella without cornbread. Love this!


    • I totally agree with you!

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