Digging into a bowl of caesar salad, you are most likely to find a cube-shaped crunchy, munchy snacky item. These bread cubes are called croutons and are found in salads and soups to complement the food, add a savory item to the multitude of greens, and contribute a munch-like flavor.
A crouton is a baked or sauteed bread that is often fried with oil or margarine and added to salads and soups to give a new flavor. It was first added into the famous caesar salad, but now home bakers and many recipes have allowed adding croutons to other salads. They make a great snack choice too.
Who termed them croutons? It is coming from the french word croûte, which means “crust.” When fried, these small cube snacks taste like bread crust.
Table of Contents
- Are vegan croutons available?
- Best vegan croutons in the market
Are vegan croutons available?
Looking at the usual crouton’s ingredients, you will see that vegan options are different from product to product. Sourdough bread, oil or butter, spices, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and pepper are popularly mentioned in many recipes. The problematic ingredient in this list is butter, which usually contains milk. There are also some other ingredients to watch for, so be sure always to double-check the list.
Anyway, there are available vegan options available, but before showing you, the best picks, let’s go through few quick inspections of the most consumed croutons.
Are Whole Foods croutons vegan?
Yes, these organic seasoned croutons by Whole Foods Market are vegan. The only “problematic” ingredient I’ve found inside is yeast, but you should know yeast is safe for vegans if you are new to veganism. Check the ingredients list at Amazon.
Are croutons at Ruby Tuesday vegan?
No, croutons at Ruby Tuesday are NOT vegan. Their ingredient list contains milk and eggs, and such they are not good for vegans.
Are Olive Garden croutons vegan?
No, the croutons from Olive Garden are NOT vegan. They contain the whey and romano cheese solids derived from cow’s milk. Check the ingredients list at Amazon.
Are Denny’s croutons vegan?
No, the croutons at Denny’s are NOT vegan. They contain milk and eggs, so if you are going for the House Salad or any other salad at Denny’s order without any croutons or cheese.
Making homemade vegan croutons
Another vegan-friendly option is to make homemade vegan croutons. Follow along with the instructions and make this recipe to get your own fresh easy-to-make homemade crouton version. If made with olive oil and white bread, a cup of homemade croutons will give you about 120 calories 1.
Step 1- The bread
Firstly you need to take a good variety of bread. Sourdough or a loaf of french bread is often preferred if you want the crouton’s right texture. Even leftover or stale bread can be converted into vegan crouton because the harder the bread gets, the easier it will be for the process. And even if you have decent sandwich bread, that shouldn’t stop you from making these crunchy munchies. You can chop the bread into bread cubes or tear them apart. Bread cubes look presentable and get an even brown roasting as well.
Step 2: The flavorings
You can go crazy while finding the perfect flavor options for your vegan croutons. You can keep it plain buttery, add some parmesan cheese or a simple garlic powder. Dried herbs like rosemary, oregano, and thyme also impart a nice Italian seasoning to the croutons. A tsp of lemon zest is another healthy fresh flavor you can opt for 4. Even a tsp of onion powder can be a good seasoning agent for these bread cubes. Of these, my favorite flavor is definitely garlic powder.
Step 3: Tossing the croutons for that flavor.
You can make it stir-fried or oven-baked. Both are equally tasty and go with either salads or soups. Before you bake or fry them, make sure you put the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss them with some olive oil. If you like butter, make sure you choose vegan butter. After an oil toss, you can toss it a second time with your choice of flavoring. Make sure you take a really nice large bowl to toss in, as your croutons are quite airy and will need good space for a good toss.
Step 4: Baking / Stir-frying the croutons
If you prefer the oven roast method, spread the croutons on a baking sheet leaving enough space between each crumb for air to move around, as this results in crispy crumbs. So about 10 minutes of prep time in an oven kept at 375°F is good to cook them to a golden brown state. Once they are done, you have to repeat the tossing with the flavoring agent step yet again.
Making them on the stovetop is also easy. All you got to do is toss the bread crumbs on a pan with olive oil. To make things more interesting, you can add some mashed garlic to the oil, let it heat for a while, and then toss the croutons in this oil. Make sure you keep stirring the pan to prevent the croutons from over-browning. All we want is a beautiful golden color. Once you are happy with the outcome, you switch off the flame and toss the croutons in the previous flavoring bowl again.
Step 5- Finale
After, you have given the hot croutons another chance to soak up the flavoring, store them in an air-tight container. The croutons taste good even until 2 weeks if stored well and up to 2 months if frozen.
My favorite ingredients in a vegan crouton
While making homemade croutons, I like adding an extra garlic punch to my croutons, either in the form of garlic powder or as an infused garlic olive oil. Secondly, I prefer adding croutons at the last minute to my dish, lest it gets soggy. Among the spices that I prefer, oregano and thyme work wonders for me. Among the different recipes that I tried, adding parsley was a good addition to the crouton.
A few other recipes have shown the importance of adding salt and black pepper to the flavor profile. Even butter adds a different taste to the croutons altogether, but in this case, if you are a vegan, make sure you go for vegan butter. The last reason I enjoy baking croutons is that I get to convert my stale bread into something yummy. While cooking food at home, and especially baking this crouton, you can add less salt and control the level of spices, and make a healthy version of this vegan recipe.
What can I eat croutons with?
As mentioned earlier, they taste delicious with salads and soups. So the number one dish that I would recommend is a Caesar salad. The next dish that I would love to add some croutons would be a hot bowl of creamy tomato soup or pumpkin soup. Croutons are also used as stuffings for your pork chops or your stuffed chicken dishes. And if you further powder them, they can be a perfect garnish for your curries as well. Croutons are also eaten with scrambled eggs, and some use it as bread crumbs to coat fish or chicken while marinating 5.
Best vegan croutons in the market
Are there vegan crouton brands in the market? Edward and Sons have an organic crouton packet available in stores 6. Kelly’s croutons is another vegan brand that packages croutons in two flavors: cinnamon and cheese 7. For those who don’t like the crunchy bread texture, you can also opt for Tofu Croutons. Made with protein-rich tofu, this crouton is baked/ air-fried and tossed with similar spices to make it look just like a regular crispy crouton 8.
Kelly’s Vegan Croutons
Made with organic vegan butter and some amazing flavors should be among the most favorite vegan options on the market. Be careful, easy to get addicted. Check reviews and ingredients at Amazon.
Olivia’s Garlic & Herb Croutons
Garlic and Herb flavor from Olivia’s series is also one of the best picks for all vegans. Perfect for all types of salads. It adds really amazing taste. Check reviews and ingredients at Amazon.
When such an easy recipe is available with minimum prep time, why will I spend so much money to buy croutons? I will make this recipe and store croutons for a fortnight. What about you? Do you like to purchase a store-bought crouton brand, or will you cook this easy-to-make homemade delicious crouton recipe?
If you are a vegan or planning to be one and would like to read more on our vegan series, look at our previous blog posts, where we have discussed whether popular food items like macrons and croissants are vegan or not. Comment if you like this series and which food item would you like us to analyze next.
- Nutritional Information, Diet Info and Calories in Croutons, Plain, Accessed online: fitbit.com, Retrieved on 02-04-2021
- How to make homemade croutons? Accessed online: foodiecrush.com, Retrieved on 02-04-2021
- Interesting ways to use croutons, Accessed online: newlywedsfoods.com, Retrieved on 02-04-2021
- Edward & Sons Organic Vegan Garlic Parmesan croutons, Accessed online: edwardandsons.com Retrieved on 01-04-2021
- Kelly’s croutons, Accessed Online: kellyscroutons.com Retrieved on 01-04-2021
- Herbys crispy Tofu croutons, Accessed Online: twomarketgirls.com, Retrieved on 02-04-2021