Homemade Croutons & National Herb Week

May 7, 2012

In the food world, almost every day is a celebration. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day, in October we celebrated Eat Better, Eat Together month, and this week we’re showing some love for herbs as we celebrate National Herb Week. I’ve written about herbs before, and as you may already know, herbs add wonderful flavor to food without adding calories, fat, and sodium. I always tell my clients who have high blood pressure to toss the salt shaker and buy fresh or dried herbs instead.

I love cooking with herbs – there’s nothing better than ripe tomatoes with fresh basil on a warm summer day or a refreshing watermelon salsa with cilantro. One food that is usually made with herbs but can also be high in sodium is croutons. I’ve never been a big fan of croutons because I find them very salty (I have more of a sweet tooth!), but last week I made croutons for the first time. I had half of a whole wheat French baguette that was hard as a rock (unfortunately baguettes don’t stay soft for very long!). As I was about to toss it in the garbage, I realized I could use it to make croutons. And so I did. I think it is the easiest recipe I have ever made (if you even want to call it a recipe)!

Homemade Herb Croutons

To make croutons at home, follow these steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut a day old whole wheat baguette into cubes.
  3. Toss with olive oil and herbs of your choosing (I used thyme and rosemary).
  4. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of Kosher salt.
  5. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool.

There you have it; easier than pie!

For some great tips on how to use herbs and herb and food pairings, check out Healthy Cooking with Fresh Herbs from the University of Nebraska Nutrition Education Program.

What is your favorite herb and how do you use it?

Disclaimer: I was not paid to promote National Herb Week and I have no relationship with University of Nebraska’s Nutrition Education Program. All opinions are my own.  

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