Crunchy Garlic Herb Croutons are an amazing combination of garlic and herbs with a great crunch. They are a great addition to salads, soups or as is!
I thought that it would be a good idea to fire off another recipe this week for Crunchy Garlic Herb Croutons. Since this recipe and the previous for Tangy BBQ Sauce are not really stand alone recipes, putting two out in the same week seemed wise. These are the types of recipes that are really essential to whatever main dish you may be making but act as an accompaniment to it, they aren’t the headlining act! As I mentioned above, these croutons are great in a number of different dishes, one being my Scrumptious Tomato Bean Soup. The secret ingredient I use in that soup are croutons! So, they are not just for Caesar salads! However, if you are using them for salads, it is important to note that they should be added to the salad at the very last minute to ensure that they don’t get soggy. Click on the link to try out this great recipe. Scrumptious Tomato Bean Soup
Back to the creation of Crunchy Garlic Herb Croutons. These little square wonders are chock full of flavour. You really can’t go wrong with a combination of garlic, herbs and bread toasted to crunchy perfection. One thing that I have noticed when I am slicing up the bread to make croutons is that I have a tendency to cut the bread into pieces that are too large. You really are aiming for bite-sized chunks. If you try to cut them once you’ve baked them, they will crumble and this is not what you are wanting to have happen. Also, this is a great way to use up stale bread which is super cool as I hate to waste food!
I know, you are probably thinking….why not just buy them at the grocery store?? I mean, the packaged, store-bought croutons are decent enough, right? My response to this is cause you don’t need to spend money on something that is easy to make, takes no time at all and the flavour will run circles around the store-bought variety. Plus, you won’t have to run the risk of cracking a tooth on packaged ones that are usually hard as a rock. There will be no need for an emergency trip to the dentist when you make Crunchy Garlic Herb Croutons yourself. Another important factor to making your own is that you can control what goes into them….you can limit questionable ingredients like you see on the labels of purchased croutons.
It is a very important step in the creation of this recipe that you be sure to place the seasoned croutons in a single layer on the baking sheet. If they are squished together and on top of one another, they are not going to get nice and brown and crunchy. Soggy croutons is not what we are aiming for here!
Crunchy Garlic Herb Croutons will store well but I think that what you will find happens is that they get eaten up before you have a chance to freeze them for later!
The type of bread that you use is entirely up to you, though the bread should be sturdy, not too soft and squishy. Tossing the bread squares in the garlic herb mix will not work well with bread that is too delicate. I recommend using a loaf of French bread that is at least a day old and not sliced.
- 5 Cups Bread Cubes You can use any type of bread. I like to use French
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp Mixed Fresh Herbs - Oregano, Basil and Parsley Or substitute with 2 Tsp. dried Italian Seasoning
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese This is optional....I like to add it but it's up to you
- 1/2 Tsp Seasoning Salt
- 1/4 Tsp Pepper
Turn oven on to 350 degrees. Combine the butter, olive oil, garlic, herbs, parmesan cheese (if using), salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, remove from stovetop and allow it to sit while you cut up the bread into cubes. In a large bowl, big enough so that you have room to toss the cubes and so that they aren't all squished together, add in the bread cubes. Slowly drizzle the butter mix over the bread....a little at a time and in between, toss the cubes, then continue adding in more of the butter mix. You want to do this slowly so that the bread cubes at the top don't get more of the butter mix than the ones on the bottom so be sure to toss it well and coat them all as evenly as you can! Once you have added all of the butter mix, place on a baking pan lined with foil and sprayed with vegetable spray. The bread cubes need to be evenly distributed so that none are laying on top of one another. If necessary, use two baking pans to make sure that this is achieved. Place in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Watch them closely so that they turn a lovely toasted brown colour and don't get burned! Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing. This is important as well because if you put them away when they are still hot, the steam will cause the bread to become soft.
Here is a shot of the croutons prior to being baked. You want to be sure to evenly coat all of the pieces of bread by lightly tossing it in a large bowl. One final note……I really believe that once you go to a homemade crouton, there is no going back!