Though it took me about 20 years to warm up to the idea of salad, I have always loved croutons. I used to pick them off my mom’s salads and dip them in a bit of dressing. The weird thing is that now I love salad, but I really don’t like croutons mixed in — I eat them separately.
But croutons are versatile little nuggets. They’re an awesome way to use up slightly stale bread — especially if you bought a nice loaf and don’t want it to go to waste. And they can be added to non-leafy salads for a nice crunch — throw some croutons in with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and a bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar, and you’ve got an easy, summery salad.
And of course, you can always freeze them and throw some into your salads every once in a while. I feel almost silly giving this to you in recipe form, since it’s so simple, but here goes!
- Slightly stale bread (for this batch, I used about half a small loaf of sourdough)
- Olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop the bread into 1/2 to 1-inch cubes and mince the garlic.
Mix the bread cubes in a bowl with the garlic and a heavy glug of olive oil — basically, enough to lightly cover all of the bread cubes, but not so they’re soggy. I usually start with less than I think I need and add more as necessary.
Spread the cubes out on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, taking the sheet out and moving the cubes around about halfway through. You’ll want to check the bread fairly often, since different breads will take different times to cook. The croutons are done when the cubes are golden and crispy.
Take out, let the cubes cool, and enjoy!