Salads. You know you don’t crave them. You’re not marking your calendar trying to get that reservation where they sell themselves out on mouthwatering frisée. Heck, you probably have a few bags of the Italian Blend mix in your bottom fridge drawer sadly wilting away.
I get it. We get it. Our population just doesn’t obsess about a salad.
But let me try to convince you why I aim to have at least 3 a week. Enter eye roll, I can take it friends:)
For one, I treat my salads like a clean palate. Starting with whatever lettuces I have, I then layer on the good stuff. For me, that includes any leftover or freshly roasted veggies. Zucchini, carrots, and eggplant are frequent salad add-ins here. Leftover corn is another favorite. Next is a cheese, I go for Feta or fresh mozzarella pieces. I add in some crunch with toasted walnuts or just salted almonds work as well. Any cold pasta I have goes in. A protein on top, usually chicken but steak or shrimp could fit the bill. And finally, the one item my salad NEEDS is croutons.
Not just the boxed ones found in aisle 7.
These croutons! OMG so good. You will be popping them right from the oven I promise. But control yourselves, they really take your average salad to a level where you’re actually looking forward to it. The seasonings are spot on and when forked with a piece of roasted veg, a chunk of sharp feta and a good dressing to tie it all together- you are in business! Really, the croutons make your salad a feast in and of itself. Coated with zesty herbs and almost fried-like from a good olive oil toss, they put the store bought ones to shame.
Now c'mon, you can't really tell me you aren't ready to try these out, can you? Go ahead, scour your freezer for bread ends, bits and/or bagels to transform. You and your salad will thank me! Enjoy...
Makes: about 3 Cups
Leftover bread pieces- about 1-2 Italian bread loaves and/or 3 leftover bagels, any end slices of sliced bread, and/or 3-4 rolls
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 -1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare the bread. Cut bread pieces into thick slices (about 1 inch) and then cut again to make 1inch cubes.
Spread bread cubes evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. If you have a lot of cubes, you may need 2 sheets.
Evenly sprinkle all the seasonings and seeds over the cubes.
Drizzle the cubes with the oil, start with about 1/4 C. Using your hands, toss the cubes very well to get the oil absorbed by most pieces and seasonings spread about. You want each piece to look as if ‘misted‘ by oil, not soaked!
If the majority of the cubes still look dry, sprinkle the additional 1/4 C of oil slowly and toss until you get a glistening coating of oil on most the cubes.
Bake for about 15 minutes. If at this point, the cubes are toasted and golden on edges, they are ready! If not, bake for an additional 5-8 minutes or until your pieces are toasted and golden on edges.
Remove sheet from oven and let cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container.