My favorite gear for
making croutons & dressing salads
This afforable knife makes cutting bread cubes a snap:
Bake the croutons on this sheet, cool them, & cover them for storage until it's time to eat. If they need re-crisping in a day or two, remove the lid & return them to the oven for 10 min. All in one pan--easy!
I recently purchased 2 of these for mixing and storing my homemade dressings in the fridge. Love them!
These easy croutons use whole grain bread and replace butter with olive oil, for a much healthier recipe than traditional croutons. Buy a loaf of bread for making these or use up leftover stale bread. These croutons add delicious crunch to soups and salads. Choose from 3 flavors: Garlic Parmesan, Fiesta, and Pesto. Or, don't choose--try them all!
This is a Secret Recipe Club (SRC) post. In case you're new to this, here's how it works. Each of the food bloggers participating in the SRC is secretly assigned another food blog. The assignment is to choose a recipe from that blog, make the recipe (or an adaptation of it) and feature it in a post. The blog matches are a secret to the other blogger until reveal day. That day is today! Make sure you read to the end of this post for links to the other participants and their recipes. Someone will be blogging about one of my recipes, but I don't know who. That's why it's called:
This month, my SRC assignment was to choose a recipe from The Cookaholic Wife. It's a fun blog by Nichole. She is 27 and has a goal of "28 before 28," meaning there are 28 difficult or unusual recipes that she wants to make before she turns 28. Check out her list; she's making progress!
Nichole has a variety of great looking recipes that are fun to browse. I immediately saw that we share a love of Sriracha sauce, so I knew Nichole was my kinda gal. It took me awhile to decide which of her recipes to try. I had just about settled on her recipe for Korean Street Tacos; they sounded delicious and they used Sriracha sauce--can't really go wrong. But then, I saw her recipe for Parmesan Croutons. Making croutons was perfect timing for me, because:
My adaptations. I started with Nichole's Parmesan Crouton recipe and tweaked it a bit, substituting whole grain bread for white, fresh garlic for garlic powder, and olive oil for butter. They are so fast and easy to make, and they turned out crunchy and delicious.
2 additional flavors. I came up with two more easy, distinct flavors: fiesta (using taco seasoning), and pesto (using, uh, pesto). Same procedures for all three flavors. Easy and much healthier than traditional crouton recipes.
"Healthified" -- here's how I made my croutons healthier than traditional crouton recipes:
Nutritional Info. for 1 serving Garlic Parmesan Croutons (approx. nine 1-inch croutons):
Step-by-step photos for making
Whole Grain Croutons -- 3 Flavors
Specific amounts of each ingredient are listed with the recipes of each crouton flavor. Click on the big purple bar below each flavor and that links to the printable recipe with detailed ingredients and instructions.
Flavor #1: Garlic Parmesan Croutons
Step 1. You need 4-5 cups of bread cubes. These can be an assortment of leftover bread that you cut into cubes (like my bag of bread cubes above). Stale bread works great, so this is a good way to use up leftover bread that might otherwise be thrown away. Or, you can purchase a loaf of bread specifically for making croutons. Either way, cut your bread into cubes. Mine are 1" cubes, but you can cut them any size you prefer. I used a multi-grain bakery loaf here. Half of a 1 pound loaf makes enough bread cubes for a full recipe of croutons.
(click here to view my favorite budget-friendly bread knife on Amazon)
Step 2. Assemble these ingredients: olive oil, garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, fresh Italian parsley, freshly group black pepper, bread cubes
Step 3. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and ground pepper to a bowl, and give it a stir.
Step 4. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat at full power for 20 seconds. This helps the oil absorb the seasonings.
Step 5. Add the bread cubes to the seasoned oil and toss, and toss, and toss--until the bread cubes are evenly coated.
Step 6. Add the parmesan cheese and toss again. The cheese distributes and sticks better if it's added after the bread is coated with oil.
Step 7. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet; bake for 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees until toasted and crunchy. (click here to view my 13x18" inch baking sheet on Amazon)
Done! So easy and amazingly delicious. These are great on any salad or soup. Very versatile. We're eating them on our garden-grown greens tossed with my Everyday Vinaigrette.
Flavor #2: Fiesta Croutons
Exact same procedure, except you add taco seasoning to the olive oil, microwave, toss with bread cubes, toss with Parmesan cheese, bake. The spice of the taco seasoning adds some great flavor. You can use store-bought taco seasoning or make your own. Here's my recipe: Fiesta Taco Seasoning recipe
These are delicious on any salad. Especially good as a substitute for tortilla chips in a taco salad. Try them sprinkled on corn chowder, bean soups, and chili. I added Fiesta Croutons to salad greens with corn, tomatoes, red onion, and black beans, tossed with my Honey Lime Vinaigrette. Yum! (These croutons are my favorite of the 3.)
Flavor #3: Pesto Croutons
Exact same procedure again, except you add pesto to the olive oil (a little less olive oil than the other crouton recipes, because pesto already has some olive oil in it), microwave, toss with bread cubes, toss with Parmesan cheese, bake. The pesto has lots of flavor and seasonings, so it's an easy way to flavor croutons. You can use store-bought pesto, or make your own. Here's my recipe: Classic Basil Pesto
These croutons will complement lots of soups and salads. They're particularly good on my Everyday Italian Salad.
Store or freeze. Store the croutons in an airtight container. If they lose their crunch after a day or two, return them to the oven for 10 minutes to crisp them up again (they'll get crunchier as they cool). You can also freeze them and reheat them the same way.
These are all crunchy and tasty. My challenge was saving them for our salads. They're good to snack on all by themselves. Tempting. Very tempting.
If you can't choose one flavor to make, try all 3! It would be fun to serve a selection on a soup or salad bar. Which flavor would you choose?
Make sure you scroll down to view all of the other recipes from the Secret Recipe Club.
Make it a Yummy day!