Copycat Hillstone Macho Salad

May 15, 2022

Run, don’t walk, to your kitchen, because this is my favorite salad recipe in the entire world – period. This is my copycat version of the Hillstone Macho Salad, and when I tell you that this salad will literally change your life, I mean it. I’ll admit, I might have even cried when I nailed this recipe, because it truly is one that I love so much. And I know that you are going to love it too! This salad is naturally gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and is too good to pass it up!

A LARGE BOWL OF THE COPYCAT HILLSTONE MACHO SALAD, ON A COUNTERTOP WITH A SMALL BOWL OF CORN, A BOWL OF SLIVERED ALMONDS, AND A BOWL OF DRESSING

I love salads, but let me be honest: I love exciting salads. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that any ole’ garden salad makes my heart leap. In fact, there are a lot of BORING, healthy salads out there, to which I don’t bother touching. In my opinion, life is way too short to eat boring salads.

That is why, last week on Instagram, I dedicated a whole week to sharing brand-new salad recipes that are anything but boring. They are vibrant, they are packed with veggies, carbs, and proteins, and they’re all topped with a delicious, creamy dressing. Because while life is too short to eat boring salads, it is also too short to opt for your salad to be dressing-free.

From my Lemony Parmesan Kale Salad, to my Strawberry Arugula Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing, my mission is to serve you recipes that are both delicious AND nutritious to eat, so you can say “bye-bye” to boring, soggy salads forever. In fact, once you make my Copycat Hillstone Macho Salad, you may never want to make any other salad recipe again!

And if you’ve never been to Hillstone, or one of their affiliated restaurants across the US, then you NEED to make this salad now! I will trek into San Francisco any day of the week, just to pick up this salad. When I tell you it’s that good, I really mean it. It’s THAT GOOD!

Plus, this isn’t my first copycat recipe based on a Hillstone salad; recently, I shared my Copycat Hillstone Emerald Kale Salad, and it may just be my new favorite kale salad recipe yet! That is, after my beloved Ultimate Kale Salad. That recipe is still my all-time favorite!

But first, Let’s Talk About These Magical Croutons

The croutons in this salad are not your mama’s croutons. No, instead of being made of traditional bread, these croutons are made from cornbread!

Now, if you’ve never tried cornbread croutons, then you are in for a treat, because it truly adds the best flavor to any salad recipe!

In this recipe, I went ahead and used a boxed cornbread mix to make this croutons in a quick and easy way. However, if you want to make your cornbread from scratch, I recommend trying out my recipe for The Best Gluten-Free Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins. Just eliminate the jalapeños and bake the muffin batter in a square baking dish, rather than in muffin tins!

A large bowl of the copycat Hillstone macho salad, with a large spoon placed inside

What You Need to Make This Healthy, Flavorful Salad of Your Dreams!

This salad comes together in three parts: first, with the salad itself, second, with the dressing, and third, of course, with the magical croutons.

  • Cornbread Croutons: As mentioned above, the true star of this recipe is the magical cornbread croutons. You can used a box mix to make them, or make them from scratch – both options yield a delicious result!
  • Red Leaf Lettuce: Red leaf lettuce makes for the perfect base for our salad.
  • Green Cabbage: Don’t knock it until you try it! Green cabbage adds a delicious, crunchy texture and adds a fresh element to this salad, too.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes adds the perfect balance of acids to this salad!
  • Canned Corn: For the sake of ease, we’re using canned corn, in this recipe. Canned vegetables are a wonderful option that is cheap, accessible, easy, AND perfectly healthy, too!
  • Dates: Dates add a deliciously sweet element to this salad.
  • Avocado: You already know that I love avocado, and it adds the perfect flavor (and dose of healthy fats!) to this salad.
  • Raw Almonds: Almonds are a wonderful, gut-healthy source of protein and fats.
  • Shredded Rotisserie Chicken: The ingredient that truly takes this salad to the next level? It’s the rotisserie chicken. I get mine from my local grocery store, and shred it before adding it to the salad. It adds such a delicious flavor, and is infinitely better than traditional grilled chicken!
  • Goat Cheese: Goat cheese adds a creamy, fatty, cheesy element to this salad. If you’re like me and you don’t like goat cheese, you can skip this!
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is one of my favorite ingredients to use in dressings, because it’s full of heart-healthy fats and a distinct, delicious flavor.
  • Champagne Vinegar: Champagne Vinegar adds the perfect acidic flavor profile to this dressing.
  • Maple Syrup: A touch of maple syrup adds the perfect balance of sweetness!
  • Dijon Mustard: I love the tanginess of dijon mustard, and it adds the perfect flavor to this dressing.
  • Herbs & Spices: In this recipe, we’ll be seasoning our dressing with garlic, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper!

How to Make This Bright & Vibrant Salad Recipe

To make this salad, simply start by preparing your cornbread according to the recipe or package directions. Let cool, then carefully slice into cubes. Be carful, because cornbread is delicate!

Then, preheat your oven to 350 F and add your cornbread cubes to a bowl and toss with olive oil and salt. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until your cornbread cubes get nice and crispy! Remove them from the oven and set aside.

Next, prepare your dressing. Add all of your dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until fully combined.

Finally, build your salad, by adding all of your salad ingredients to a large bowl. Then, toss in the cornbread croutons, mix in the dressing, and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! And, since I practically live on Instagram, be sure to tag me in your creations so that I can repost them! xX

** Photography by Bea Moreno
A LARGE BOWL OF THE COPYCAT HILLSTONE MACHO SALAD, ON A COUNTERTOP WITH A SMALL BOWL OF CORN, A BOWL OF SLIVERED ALMONDS, AND A BOWL OF DRESSING
gluten-free/Refined Sugar Free

Copycat Hillstone Macho Salad

5 from 2 votes
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
SERVES 4 Servings
Print It Pin It
Run, don't walk, to your kitchen, because this is my favorite salad recipe in the entire world – period. This is my copycat version of the Hillstone Macho Salad, and when I tell you that this salad will literally change your life, I mean it. I'll admit, I might have even cried when I nailed this recipe, because it truly is one that I love so much. And I know that you are going to love it too! This salad is naturally gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and is too good to pass it up!

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 2 Cups Cornbread Croutons
  • 4 Cups Red Leaf Lettuce chopped
  • Cups Green Cabbage chopped; this is about 1/2 of a cabbage
  • 1/2 Cup Cherry Tomatoes chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Canned Corn drained and rinsed
  • 6 Dates pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 Avocado chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Almonds chopped
  • 1 Cup Rotisserie Chicken shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Goat Cheese crumbled

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 1 Clove Garlic mashed
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Instructions

  • Start by preparing your cornbread croutons; make your cornbread according to the recipe or package directions and let cool.
  • Then, preheat your oven to 350 F (if not done so already).
  • Next, gently slice the cornbread into cubes. Be careful, as the cornbread will be crumbly and delicate!
  • Add your cornbread cubes to a small bowl and toss with olive oil and sea salt.
  • Add them to a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until crispy. Let cool and set aside.
  • Next, prepare the dressing. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until fully combined.
  • Then, prepare the salad by adding all of your salad ingredients to a large bowl.
  • Toss in the croutons, then add the dressing and mix to fully combine.
  • Serve immediately, and enjoy! If meal prepping, store your dressing, croutons, and salad in separate airtight containers in the fridge. Then, assemble as desired! This salad stays good for up to three days tossed, or up to one week separated.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made – tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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  1. This salad was incredible! I made it without chicken because we already had a protein for dinner, but it is just as good as a side salad. Thank you!!

  2. 5 stars
    I thought nothing would top my love for the incredible kale salad with tahini dressing but whoa, this is hands down my new favorite salad EVER! The combination of ingredients creates a flavor that is next level. I can’t wait to make this for my next dinner party…KJ salads are always on the menu and this one is sure to be another crowd pleaser.

    • Woohoo!! Shannon, I am SO thrilled to hear that! I love my kale salad recipe, but I really do love this salad SO much, so I’m so happy you love it too! Thank you so much for making this recipe, and for leaving the sweetest review!