Not Your Average Cornbread

By Regina Braun

Marrying my husband introduced me to a range of South American food traditions. One of the dishes my mother-in-law prepares is Sopa Paraguaya, and it quickly became my favourite.

Despite the name—sopa—there’s no soup at all! The best way to describe it is deluxe cornbread filled with salty cheese and flavourful sautéed onions. The first time I had it was as a side dish with dinner and I absolutely loved it. I enjoy leftover Sopa Paraguaya as a snack pretty much any time of day.

It wasn’t until after my first visit to Paraguay that I set out to make Sopa Paraguaya myself. During the time my husband and I spent in his birth country, we bought Sopa Paraguaya at the bus depot to tide us over through long trips across the country. Alongside empanadas, Sopa Paraguaya was the snack of choice for us and locals alike.

Paraguayans use a salted farmer’s cheese to make this cornbread. With guidance from my mother-in-law, I created my version, which uses a combination of grated mild cheese and cottage cheese as a substitute.

Sopa Paraguaya: Cheese and Onion Cornbread, Courtesy of Regina Braun,, Calgary, AB

This zesty and satisfying bread from Paraguay makes a great side dish, snack or on-the-go breakfast.


Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
Yield: one 8-inch (2 L) square pan, or 16 servings

¼ cup (50 mL) butter
1 large onion, sliced
3½ oz (100 g) mild cheese, shredded
1 cup (250 mL) cottage cheese
1 cup (250 mL) milk
5 eggs, beaten
2 cups (500 mL) cornmeal
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180ºC). Line 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish with parchment paper.
2. In large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese (it will melt), cottage cheese, milk and eggs.
4. Sprinkle cornmeal, salt and baking powder over cheese mixture; stir to combine.
5. Scrape batter into baking dish. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

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I am a busy mom of one little girl who is already a great eater and future kitchen helper. On my blog, Leelalicious, I like to share nutritious and delicious recipes for the entire family!