Croutons are one of those things that my gluten free husband usually has to deny himself. And inevitably croutons cause him some of the most frequent problems for eating out, as they invariably end up on soups or salads when someone doesn’t understand that croutons are made of bread and thus fall into the “no bread, pasta, or flour because I am allergic to gluten” request that my husband is so well experienced in asking. This also means asking the server “yes can you please give me another salad prepped in a clean bowl” and “no, it is not ok to just remove the croutons”.
This has always been more of a problem for my husband in the U.S. than in Europe it seems – in Europe, while there may not be many gluten free options depending on the country and their culture of cuisine, it seems everyone we’ve come across knows what gluten means. In the U.S., explaining that he actually has a problem with gluten, isn’t doing it just for a diet, and yes gluten does include anything made with bread, pasta and flour (including to check the sauces) seems to be a more common occurrence. It’s almost so laborious to make sure everything is ok dining out that it’s not even worth it.
And on top of that, in the U.S. gluten free is becoming so popular for reasons other than celiac or sensitivities (some even use the word “fad”, despite the fact that for many like my husband staying gluten free will be a necessity for the rest of their lives), that the seriousness of the issue often becomes diluted – it’s been more than once that my husband has dutifully explained his intolerance to gluten at a restaurant and his requests have been ignored or forgotten. Sometimes I wonder if some restaurants think people use “gluten free” as an excuse to cover up being a picky eater, and thus don’t know to treat an allergy request as an actual health issue could affect the safety of their customers (really, should a restaurant be questioning the motives of the diner?).
So whether due to confusion or limited options, we’d rather eat at home where we can control exactly what goes into each dish. And since we’re dining at home, why not make that restaurant nemesis that often causes so many problems with being able to enjoy a GF night out? Besides, I’d never made homemade croutons before, and like most things, even if I could find a GF store-bought equivalent, I was pretty sure a freshly baked homemade version would taste better anyways.
I did use store-bought GF bread, because I haven’t quite figured out homemade GF bread yet (I’m sure there will be a gluten free ratio rally theme on bread sometime though that will force me to figure it out ). Overall this was super easy – cut up bread into cubes, toss with olive oil herbs & cheese, and bake in the oven til the garlic aromas wafted through our entire home and the bread was a crispy golden brown. And the result? Amazing. We ate them on soup. On salad. Heck my husband would just eat them out of the container plain!
Adapted from Food.com
Prep Time: 15 minutes to cut up bread and peel garlic and grate cheese
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 250g (1/2 lb.) your favorite gluten free bread
- a couple glugs olive oil, a bit more than 1/4 cup
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated*
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. dried italian herbs
*note – to be truly vegetarian, check that your parm is vegetarian
1. Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F). Slice bread into cubes, about 1.5 cm (or 1/2″) dimensions.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, cheese, garlic and herbs. Add the bread cubes and toss until evenly coated.
3. Spread bread onto a baking sheet – make sure bread stays in one layer, so depending on the size of your baking sheets you may need to do this in batches.
4. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Enjoy.
Also submitted to Gluten Free Wednesdays