I love a good salad, but it’s one thing I generally prefer ordering in a restaurant because they have all those lovely extras. Red onion, fancy olives, avocado, a variety of greens, and decent croutons.
But I’m making a new effort. For one thing, I’ve found that baby arugula is pretty fabulous and if I keep it on hand—and mix it with other leaf lettuce—I’m more inclined to save money and make salads myself.
Also, with COVID 19, we should be getting our greens on at home, anyway.
One easy way to make salads stand out is to make your own croutons. It was hard for me to cut up that beautiful Country Loaf. You’ll probably relate to this, but we never have “leftovers” of that sourdough bread. But I took a deep breath and did it anyway—all for your edification, dear reader. Okay, I did get to eat the salad.
But so can you.
Preheat the oven to 375°F
I cut up about 3-4 cups of bread cubes.
Try to get the size fairly uniform so they’re done at the same time.
I then combined in a small bowl:
- Garlic—powder is easier, but I just soaked about a clove of minced garlic in the oil. Do about a half teaspoon of garlic powder, if that’s what you’re using
- A half teaspoon of thyme powder. You can use Italian seasoning or oregano—or whatever sounds best to you. I always, always choose rosemary for everything, because it’s my favorite, but I’m trying to restrain myself and go for variety. (Besides, I keep running out of rosemary.) Poultry seasoning would work, too.
- I didn’t use onion powder, but a half teaspoon of that also would be a great choice.
- Salt to taste
- A teaspoon of dried parsley
- A mix of olive oil and melted butter, equalling about a ¼–⅓ cup
Mix the oil and spices together and drizzle a bit over the bread cubes, toss, drizzle, toss, and drizzle again. Then mix well one last time. The goal is to spread out the mixture evenly, so all chunks are equally delicious.
Spread on a cookie sheet. I put foil or parchment first so clean-up is easy. Bake for about ten-fifteen minutes, tossing occasionally for an even crisp. But time-wise, it will really depend on how small you cut up the croutons and on how old the bread is, so keep an eye on them.
You can add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese at the end for an added bump of flavor. It’s all up to you.
Let the croutons cool completely.
Of course, you can make less if you just want to make a salad for one. You could do croutons for one using only one cup, adjusting the seasonings, and pan-frying.
Happy cooking! And stay safe, friends.
Author: Michelle Hubbard is a graduate of Brigham Young University with an English degree and an editing minor. She won Leading Edge’s “Best First Chapter” award and later joined the publication as a slush reader and editor. After attending the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference in Sandy, Utah, she became a volunteer and this June will be her ninth year as an assistant. She is also a writing officer for Misha Collin’s charity Random Acts. A draft of her middle-grade novel, Oscar and the Ghosts of Paris, placed second with the Utah Arts Council. She lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah, with her husband, sister, two children, and far too many pets.