Adapted from Chili Corn Bread Salad in tasteofhome.com. I made this for a potluck and every one raved about it, even the pickiest of eaters (my mom). It takes a bit of time to chop all ingredients but it is all well worth it because it is so good and it serves a crowd. It also lasts for several days in the fridge. I recommend you use a 9x13 pyrex that comes with a cover for easy transportation. But if you want something more spectacular looking, use a trifle bowl instead. —Regine
Package (8-1/2 ounces) corn bread/muffin mix (I use the Jiffy brand Corn Muffin Mix); or any cornbread that you have made for an 8 inch square baking pan.
Sour cream (8 oz)
Envelope (net weight 1.0 oz or 28 grams) ranch salad dressing& seasoning mix (I use Hidden Valley brand, “The Original Ranch” but there are other selections like “Spicy Ranch”, “Buttermilk” that you can select)
Large (or 2 small) garlic cloves, mashed
Juice of a lemon and zest of about half of the lemon
Can (around 15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
Can (around 15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Cans (around 15 oz each) whole kernel corn, drained (or maybe about 4 cups fresh or frozen/defrosted corn)
medium tomatoes, chopped
Chopped Green Peppers
Cup chopped green onions (scallions) or chives
Cup chopped red onions
bacon strips, cooked until crispy and crumbled
Queso Fresco (or Feta Cheese)*
shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)*
But you can use 2 cups cheddar altogether or your own combination of cheeses instead of the 1 cup queso fresco and 1 cup cheddar cheese.
Prepare corn bread batter according to package instructions. Place in a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool.
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and dressing mix; set aside. Crumble half of the corn bread into a 13-in. x 9-in. dish, followed by half each of the beans, chickpeas, mayonnaise mixture (you may want to use a spatula to spread this as much as possible over entire surface), corn, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, bacon, and cheese. Repeat the layers one more time. Dish will be full. Cover and refrigerate preferably for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley.