Weeding out gluten from your diet can be taxing, to say the least. So many of our favorites foods incorporate it and a good example is the healthy, wholesome salad. To add a little satisfying crunch, croutons are often present, and this begs the question – are the croutons gluten-free and if not, are there gluten-free croutons?
Well, there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is that croutons are typically just dried bread, salt, garlic, and butter – definitely in the gluten category. The good news is that you can find or make gluten-free croutons and there are a number of tasty alternatives available to get back the crunch in your salad.
Today we’re going to talk about croutons and what you need to know if you’d like to restore the crunchy-integrity of your salad, while keeping that harmful gluten at bay. Let’s talk about croutons, gluten, and getting the latter out of the former for a salad that everyone can enjoy!
Are Croutons Normally Gluten-Free?
Sadly, no, croutons are not normally gluten-free, as they are basically dried or toasty bits of bread, which have been buttered-up, salted, and often given a little garlic-bath to add a sharp and tasty zing to go with that signature crunch.
Thankfully, there are certainly alternatives, though before we go into those, we’re going to take a peek at some gluten-free croutons that are commercially available.
As we’ve become more health-aware over time, more and more companies are realizing the demand for gluten-free goods, and with that in mind we’ve compiled a few of the best for you to review and to try out if they sound like something that you would like.
So, Is There Such a Thing as Gluten-Free Croutons?
Gluten-free croutons are definitely a thing and some of them are quite tasty. We’ve compiled 3 examples for you so that you can look for them at your local grocer or simply order online to add a little crunch to go with those crisp, fresh veggies in your favorite salad. Let’s take a look and we’ll see what you think!
Gillian’s Croutons – Gluten-Free Garlic
First up, we have Gillian’s garlic flavor gluten-free croutons and we have to say that these are definitely a delicious addition to your favorite salad spread. Seasoned with things like garlic, honey, parsley, and basil, they incorporate rice flours and tapioca starch to give you crunchy croutons without that unnecessary gluten. Give them a try – you won’t regret it!
Read More >> Gluten-Free Garlic Bread
Olivia’s Croutons – Gluten-Free Garlic
Next we have Olivia’s croutons, another gluten-free goody for garlic lovers and those who like a solid crunch to go with their veggies. Olivia’s packs a good crunch, thanks to utilizing gluten-free bread so that the croutons are essentially what you are already used to.
With seasonings such as honey, cider vinegar, parsley and pepper, along with tapioca and potato starch, sorghum, and brown and white rice flours, the end result is simply a wholesome crouton that you can eat without the worry of gluten and the troubles that come with it.
New Grains – Seasoned Parmesan Croutons
Our final entry is New Grains Seasoned parmesan croutons and if you like your croutons garlic-free, then these might just be a perfect fit for you.
Seasoned with buttery flavor and delicious parmesan cheese, New Grains slow-roasts these gluten-free croutons to a perfect toasty texture that is sure to deliver a tasty, cheesy crunch that will keep you coming back for more.
Read More >> Are Panko Breadcrumbs Gluten Free?
What are Some Good Gluten-Free Crouton Alternatives?
When you want a little crouton goodness, without the actual croutons, there are certainly some alternative options for spicing up your salad in a satisfying, crunchy way. For instance, chickpeas are a good example. Completely gluten-free, they’re crispy enough to satisfy and even make for a better-looking salad.
Kale chips are another option that is growing in popularity of late. People have realized the high health value of kale already, and crispy kale chips are available commercially that allow you to take advantage of their wholesome goodness, while getting the crunch that you crave in the process.
Finally, there’s an old Romanian staple food that allows you to add a crouton crunch without actually resorting to croutons, and this dish is called polenta. While normally, polenta has a mashed-potato sort of consistency, what it essentially boils down to is corn meal and water.
You can make a polenta with 4 parts being water, and the rest being cornmeal, and by spreading it out on a pan and baking it until it’s crunchy, you’ve got a quick crouton alternative that’s not only delicious, but made fresh for you and your guests!
Can I Make My Own Gluten-Free Croutons?
Making your own gluten-free croutons is actually a piece of (gluten-free) cake… well, more actually, gluten-free bread. You see, like with regular bread, when your gluten-free bread starts to go stale, you never want to throw it away – it’s perfect for whipping up some croutons. Here’s what you will need:
- 1 tsp. garlic powder (gluten-free)
- 1 tsp. onion powder (gluten-free)
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 4 cups of your favorite gluten-free bread, cut into cubes
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
To make it, simply line a baking dish with some parchment paper and go ahead and preheat the oven to 25 degrees. Dump your cubed bread into one bowl, and, pour in your olive oil and spices into another, mixing them well.
Pour your seasoning mix into the bread bowl and stir them up nicely to distribute your flavored oil, and then just spread them out on the baking-pan sheet and cook them for 1 hour, letting them sit for half an hour before you take them out to store or to use.
These may be stored in the freezer foe 4 to 6 weeks and thaw out quickly, typically 10 to 15 minutes just sitting in their plastic container on the kitchen counter. Recipes don’t get much easier than this and you’ll definitely be coming back for more of these yummy homemade croutons!
Some Closing Words on Croutons and Gluten
So, today we’ve talked about croutons and how they are indeed fraught with the perils of gluten, but thankfully there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Alternatives like baked polenta, chickpeas, and kale chips are available, or you can purchase gluten-free croutons commercially of whip up a batch yourself.
If you’ve been keeping croutons out of your salad until now and sorely missing them, then what are you waiting for? You can keep the croutons; it’s just the gluten that’s got to go!