Let’s talk salad for a second. There’s a billion and one ways to make a salad, so the tastiness of it really depends on what you decide to put in it. Usually I prefer a really loaded salad, meaning I like to add all sorts of vegetables, seeds, and tasty “dressings” like salsa to make my salad flavorful but still healthy. Sometimes though, salad just gets boring to me, and I feel like I need something new to make it exciting again. Enter these croutons.
Why did it never occur to me before to make my own croutons? It took a batch of miserably-failed bread to trigger the idea in my head, and once I made them the first time I seriously couldn’t believe I’d never done it before. Not only are these homemade croutons way better than some you might buy at the store, but they’re also not the kind of croutons that will turn a healthy salad into an unhealthy one. Of course, you should probably make sure your salad is still primarily made of vegetables, but luckily the croutons are so bursting with flavor that just a few will make a big impact! The other thing is, making croutons is pretty much the simplest thing to do ever. The hardest part is cutting up a loaf of bread into cubes. That’s it.
So basically, there’s no good excuse for buying croutons, because when you make your own, it’s tastier, it’s healthier, it’s easy, and you use up a bunch of leftover bread, giving yourself an excuse to make a fresh loaf. Done! :)
Crunchy and flavorful Garlic Croutons are a snap to make at home with some leftover bread and a few other kitchen staples.
- 9 cups cubed baguette bread, or any other bread with a similar texture**
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried minced chives***
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil to evenly coat. Toss in the sea salt, pepper, garlic and chives, dispersing evenly throughout the mixture.
- Divide the mixture between the two prepared baking sheets, spreading the bread cubes out to a single layer on each sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking cycle and tossing the bread cubes every 5 minutes or so to promote even cooking and prevent burning. Cool on baking sheets and store in an airtight container.
*You can easily scale this recipe to make more or less croutons.
** Preferably day-old bread (or older!)
*** Dried minced onion or shallots would work as well.
P.S. Whatever you do, DON”T try to pop a crouton in your mouth when it’s fresh out of the oven. I speak from experience when I say it can burn you!