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Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, Extension Educator
Making your own croutons is a tasty way to use bread that has dried out slightly. You'll save money, too! Homemade croutons also are a terrific treat for enjoying those last few slices of bread from the Farmers' Market.
Making croutons from scratch is so easy and also lets you control the type of seasonings and amount of sodium. You may decide to switch to always making your own croutons. Enjoy this recipe for either plain croutons or croutons made with Italian seasoning.
(Allow equivalent of about 1/2 to 1 slice of bread/person)
- Whole grain bread (1/2 to 1 slice/person, depending on size of salad)
- Olive oil
- Italian seasoning (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lightly brush top side of bread with olive oil. If desired, sprinkle with Italian seasoning after bread is coated with oil. Cut into about 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes. Leave the crust on — it adds to their wholesome, made-at-home appearance!
Alternative method: First, cut bread into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes, leaving the crusts on. Transfer to a bowl that allows enough room to stir the croutons. Drizzle on a little olive oil — about 1 to 2 teaspoons per slice of bread, stirring to distribute while you add the olive oil. A "spoonula" or spoon spatula works especially well to help scrape any olive oil from the side of the bowl and mix it throughout the croutons. Next, if desired, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, while stirring the croutons to distribute the seasoning among the crouton surfaces.
- Spread in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. You don't have to turn croutons while they're baking.
- Enjoy! These croutons taste best if eaten the same day they're made.
- If desired, use low sodium bread; check with your grocery store or local health food stores for availability in your area.
- Besides using croutons in salads, toss them atop soups just before serving.
- Experiment with additional seasonings — for example, lightly sprinkle croutons with garlic powder.
Photo and recipe by Alice Henneman