A simple mix of herbs, spices, olive oil and Parmesan makes snack-worthy croutons that add crisp crunch to soups, salads, casseroles and more. The flavor-packed bites offer a practical way to make use of leftover bread, from baguettes to sturdy sandwich bread, with an excellent gluten-free option.
I’m usually one to skip the croutons. Sure they provide crunch, but often not much more than that. In my opinion, a crumble of tortilla chips can be more exciting, and nuts and seeds often provide a healthier, tastier way to deliver crunch.
But these croutons are different.
They’re crunchy and full of flavor, which truly enhances that which they adorn. I can eat them like potato chips!
As an added bonus, this recipe is an excellent way to use remnants of nearly any fresh bread, from a French baguette to sourdough and ciabatta－or even the last few slices of hearty white sandwich bread, like Pepperidge Farm. Because denser bread tends to work best, gluten-free alternatives work surprisingly well. To illustrate this point, I made the pictured batch with Canyon Bakehouse’s Mountain White bread (which despite what white bread seems to imply, happens to be 100% whole grain).
I could hardly keep my husband and son from eating them all off the tray, which was important as these things go since I was hoping to use them to use as a soup topper that evening. (They are especially tasty on split pea soup!⇩⇩)
What about wheat bread?
White bread does tend to produce the best crouton. You may use a whole wheat bread, but the bread cubes are likely to break apart and become mushy when mixed with the other ingredients prior to baking. They will dry out and crisp up in the oven, but the resulting croutons will likely be uneven and broken rather than uniform cubes.
I will note that any crumby bits are, in fact, worth saving. They might not yield the same crunch as a full crouton, but they will spread the amazing flavor into every crevice of your salad!
If you prefer to eat whole grains, you may wish to try one of the gluten-free “white” breads (even if you don’t follow a gluten-free diet) that list 100% whole grains in the ingredient list, as is the case with the Canyon Bakehouse option I mentioned above.
Once baked, the croutons will keep for a week or more, but if you don’t have a current need for them, simply freeze the leftover bread for use as needed.