OK guys this is officially the easiest thing ever. Plus, it’s made with four ingredients you very likely have in your house right now at this very moment. I’m definitely adding this to the list of things I’m never buying at the store again, along with peanut butter and hummus!
I’ll keep the bulk of this short and sweet. Cube some whole wheat bread, and in a bowl mix the bread with olive oil, salt, and pepper. If you want, add other spices as you see fit (crushed red pepper, garlic powder, oregano, etc.). Spread on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until toasted.
…..yep. That’s it.
Parchment paper is my new best friend (my baking sheets like it, too, because it keeps them looking like new! Whoa, did I just make a jingle there? I think I have found a new career calling.)
There are three great things about this.
- You can keep these in an airtight bag or container for about a week (maybe more, I don’t know because I keep eating them as a snack. Don’t feel bad for me- I promise that “croutons for a snack” is not as pathetic as it sounds. It was actually quite delicious and I would do it again. Which I will. Right now. Pardon me. Yum yum crunch crunch yum.)
- It is MUCH cheaper than buying store-bought (a package of croutons is about $2-2.50, whereas a batch of these costs less than $1).
- You control the ingredients you use. Have you ever looked at an ingredients list on store-bought croutons? It’s not pretty. Take, for instance, the ingredients in Pepperidge Farms Onion and Garlic croutons (source: labelwatch.com):
Unbromated Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flours, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Vegetable Oils (Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil and/or Soybean Oil), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Onion Powder, Salt, Garlic Powder, Contains 2 Percent or Less of Maltodextrin, Dehydrated Romano Cheese (Milk, Salt, Cheese Cultures, Enzymes), Whey, Disodium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Natural Flavors, Yeast, Vinegar, Distilled Monoglycerides, Malted Barley, Dextrose, Wheat Flour, Spices and Turmeric (Color).
As long as you make sure your whole wheat bread is 100% whole wheat and doesn’t have any other additives that you have a hard time pronouncing, making your own croutons is 100% clean/real!
Put a few of these on top of some baby greens with homemade ranch dressing and viola! You have a delicious side salad for any occasion- dinner with the family or for a party or cookout. (NOTE: For the record, even though I think these croutons make a great snack, I wouldn’t go so far as putting these alone in a bowl for a party with toothpicks on the side as an hour d’oeuvre. Glad we cleared that up.) :-)