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Southern Chicken, Kale & Black Eye Pea Salad with Cornbread Croutons and Dijon Vinaigrette

As I was reading last month’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine, I came across a recipe I knew I was going to have to try because it looked like the most quintessential dish made from many Southern favorites; yet, all the ingredients were reinvented and transformed into a salad. I absolutely love finding new ways to use trusted Southern comfort food recipes! One of my favorite charcuterie boards I’ve ever done was on New Year’s Day when I created a graze board using many of the “lucky” foods that are always featured on dinner tables all across the Deep South. So, when I saw this salad recipe in BHG, I was intrigued and decided to make the same salad with just a few changes.

In the magazine, the recipe calls for mustard greens and Cajun-seasoned chicken. I opted for chopped kale because while I love a good pot of mustard greens that have been simmered down with a little bacon, I am not the biggest fan of them when they're raw. I also have to be careful with cayenne because I tend to be a little bit of a whimp when it comes to super spicy foods, so I made my own spice blend and will share it with you in just a moment.

I think my favorite thing about this salad is the black eye peas. I would have never thought to put them on a salad, but when they're paired with pickled okra, cornbread croutons, the super yummy chicken and the Dijon vinaigrette, the result is out-of-this-world good!


  • 4 cups of day-old sweet cornbread, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

  • 6 slices thick bacon, cooked and torn into thirds

  • 1 pound chicken tenderloins, diced

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 1 cup canned black eyed peas, drained

  • 8 cups chopped kale leaves, stems removed

  • 8-10 pieces pickled okra


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread cornbread in a single layer on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and cumin. Bake 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice, until croutons are slightly crusty.

  • Season chicken with smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, dried oregano and fresh thyme leaves.

  • In the same skillet you used for cooking the bacon, add a drizzle of olive oil and cook chicken over medium-high until done and deep golden brown, turning once or twice while cooking. Remove chicken from skillet; cover to keep warm.

  • Make the dressing: Combine vinegar, mustard, olive oil and honey; mix until well combined.

  • Warm black eye peas in skillet for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat.

  • Spread kale on a large platter. Drizzle Dijon vinaigrette over kale leaves. Mix well. Top with chicken, black eye peas, bacon, pickled okra, and croutons.


The Galloways

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