I will say that my absolute favorite food category is pizza, but salad is a VERY close second. I love a good crunchy fresh salad. They can be big, small, varied in taste and textures, customizable, cheap to make, seasonal, and colorful, and therefore nutritious. Eat the rainbow, taste the rainbow, am I right? But if you were to ask me what my favorite part of a salad is, I would have to tell the truth and say the croutons. I don’t use them all of the time because I find that if I buy a package of croutons, I WILL eat the entire bag within 3 days. This is not a good thing. One serving of the store-bought variety is typically only 5-7 croutons, and who actually has the willpower or control to stick with that? I’m also getting on this kick of eating a little cleaner and steering away from heavily processed foods. A salad can be topped with other nutritious crunchies like nuts and seeds, but sometimes they just don’t satisfy like a crouton.
That’s why I sometimes just NEED to make these golden squares of wonder. Homemade croutons are super fast and easy to make, and the best part is you have 100% control over how you season them and how much oil you use. I feel like they elevate my salads to a higher level, like something I would get at a restaurant. They also incorporate stale bread. So if you’re like me, and occasionally like to buy baguettes or fresh loaves at the bakery, and you have a hard time finishing them before they go completely stale, then this recipe is for you.
Servings: 2, Total time: 5-10 minutes
- 1/6 of a stale baguette, or freshly baked loaf of bread OR 4 slices of whole wheat or white bread
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- season to taste with: salt, pepper, thyme, dried parsley, oregano, garlic powder
- Dice the bread with a serrated knife into desired size.
- Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and whichever other herbs and flavors of your liking in a bowl.
- Heat a small pan over medium low heat, do not add any extra oil so as to toast the bread more easily. Place the croutons in the pan and toss around until they reach the desired degree of toastiness. I personally prefer nice and crunchy on the outside, but still a little soft on the inside.
My version may not be as diet-friendly as the store-bought version, but in my opinion it tastes WAY better, and will likely always prefer these to any store-bought alternative. What’s your favorite salad topper??