Homemade Garlic and Parmesan Croutons

by Jenn on January 17, 2012

in Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains,Vegetarian

Garlic & Parmesan Croutons

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!

 

Also submitted to Gluten Free Wednesdays

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa January 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

They look lovely! I can understand how annoying it can be when people to know what GF means…

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn January 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Thanks Rosa!

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Archena January 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm

We don’t really need Gluten Free as much we try to look for vegetarian items and so I just love that I can make these Fresh with Whole Foods Vegetarian Parmesan. Sometimes I do add the garlic and always add a bit of olive oil and rosemary. These are yum!

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Jenn January 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thanks! Though I do have to ask about vegetarian parmesan – is there any parmesan that isn’t vegetarian? I always thought parmesan was just a cheese and did not have any meat in it…

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Archena January 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Oh yes, most all Parmesan I have noticed has Animal Rennet. Whole Foods Brand Vegetarian Parmesan does have Microbial Enzymes.

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Jenn January 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Interesting. I had no idea that some cheeses were not vegetarian…

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Meg January 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm

These look great! I can’t wait to try them.

Oh yes, the US is a nightmare at trying to eat out. I always feel the waiter thinks I am just some woman who is on one of those “fad” diets. We hardly eat out anymore because of this, unless I know the place has a gluten free menu.

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

Yeah we are the same when in the U.S., and even if there is a GF menu one still has to ask questions depending on the restaurant because there is no guarantee that someone thought through things like “hmmm are those fries that we put on the GF menu cooked in a dedicated fryer?” etc…

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Lisa January 18, 2012 at 12:17 am

My ‘lackadaisical’ answer to what GF is? Doesn’t contain gluten – the dough in your GF bread doesn’t spring back when you try to roll it out/work with it, no relax period needed LOL These croutons look phenomenal, Jenn..nice and cheesy, herby..exactly how I love them!

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 7:55 am

Thanks – Yeah, unfortunately asking “does this dish contain gluten” doesn’t always get you an actual answer, because so many people don’t understand that gluten is in bread, gluten is in flour, gluten is in pasta, etc…so from my husband’s experience it seems best to spell it out as clearly as possible when we are at a restaurant…

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Maureen January 18, 2012 at 12:57 am

I don’t have a problem with gluten but my best friend does. She copes well but I love it when she comes to visit and there’s nothing she can’t eat.

I love these croutons. I always make my own but there’s always someone with a better idea. Thanks!

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 7:55 am

Thanks!! Would love to hear how you make croutons :)

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jas @ the gluten free scallywag January 18, 2012 at 3:40 am

gorgeous, I love crunchy croutons in my salads! Or dry fried breadcrumbs on pasta… mmm….

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 7:55 am

Thanks Jas!

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Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are} January 18, 2012 at 3:46 am

Oh my goodness. These look mouth-watering. I could eat them just like that too! I’m sitting here still hungry after dinner b/c I realized I have put on a few pounds over the last couple of weeks and I’m trying to eat small and HEALTHY!! AGH! I want some! ;)

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

Thanks Sara!

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Chloe Boggs January 18, 2012 at 7:30 am

Just great! I love anything that is gluten-free. The picture did catch my attention. Looks really delicious. Love to try this one! Thanks for sharing this.

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 7:58 am

Thanks so much!

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Simone January 18, 2012 at 8:40 am

I regularly eat out with a friend who has a serious nut allergy and while most restaurants make sure he doesn’t get any nuts it also happens (too often) that he receives bread with nuts in it. I mean; seriously. That is just ridiculous. So I can understand how frustrating it must be for yr husband.

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Thanks Simone! Oh I can imagine, I would think nut allergies are much harder to deal with dining out…

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Meeta January 18, 2012 at 11:30 am

Love croutons like this. Make them in big batches and they are simply perfect for salads and soups!

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Thanks Meeta!

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Jamie January 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

These croutons look amazing! And really, garlic and parmesan croutons just make everything better, don’t they?

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Thanks Jamie! And yes, they do make everything better :)

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Nancy@acommunaltable January 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Those croutons look amazing.. and I agree with Jamie – garlic and parmesan definitely make everything better!

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Jenn January 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Thanks Nancy!

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Lana January 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I think someone set me free the day I made my first croutons! Yours look so rustic – I can almost smell garlic and parmigiano. I also prefer using European types of bread, for sturdier, crustier croutons (and if I make too many, I grind them for spicy bread crumbs:)
I can relate to your everyday battle with your husband’s gluten allergies. Our youngest daughter is Type 1 diabetic and it is a torture figuring out the carbs in restaurant meals (and we don’t frequent fast food places that list the nutritional info). It is not fair, but until the situation changes, we prefer to eat at home, with rare exceptions for special occasions.

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Jenn January 19, 2012 at 9:00 am

Thanks Lana – oh I can imagine that is much more difficult than dealing with gluten when eating out… we are like you, eating out on special occasions only…

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Terra January 19, 2012 at 4:18 am

I think homemade croutons are soooooo much better! Your croutons look like they are loaded with delicious happiness all over them. What a fun, yet simple recipe:-) Beautiful, Hugs, Terra

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Jenn January 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

Thanks so much !

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chinmayie @ love food eat January 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I always make croutons with my leftover bread. Never tried Parmesan with it. Sounds yum!

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Jenn January 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Thanks! I really liked the parmesan added :)

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Kiri W. January 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Looks amazing! Great recipe :)

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Jenn January 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Thanks !!

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missy January 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Nice! I am not gluten free, but I know the benefits as well as I run a catering operation and this comes up a lot! More than one woudl think. Gluten free resipes open my eyes and mind to what can be done to create well balanced and delicious Gluten free meals. Thank you for your posts, very helpful!

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Jenn January 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Thank you, I’m so glad they are helpful!

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Chrissy January 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I just love homemade croutons! They are SO easy and always taste 100 times better than ones that are purchased or even ones that are served at restaurants… except for my favorite place, called Natural Cafe. Now that place does their croutons right! Thanks for sharing :)

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Jenn January 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Thank you!

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Megan, The Frugalista Diaries January 20, 2012 at 3:53 am

these looks amazing, I want to make!

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Jenn January 20, 2012 at 7:41 am

Thanks :)

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Jonathan January 20, 2012 at 7:51 am

I totally feel you on the difficulties of eating out. Even though GF eating has taken off like wildfire in recent years here in the U.S., because it is so often associated with making “healthy choices” and “diversifying one’s diet,” it does seem to downplay the gravity of a gluten allergy/intolerance. Lucky for us, we know how to cook. :)

This recipe sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing, Jenn. :)

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Jenn January 20, 2012 at 7:58 am

Thanks Jonathan – and yes, luckily we can always cook :)

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Jeanne @ CookSister! January 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

mmmm, croutons! Some of my favourite accompaniments in the world for any soup or salad. Combine them with parmesan and you have my heart :)) The GF thing is interesting – once you have met somebody who has coeliac disease and you realise its devastating and instant effects if the sufferer eats wheat, you will never again laugh it off as a fad. A friend of mine eats GF AND Vegan – mostly no point at all in her eating in restaurants!

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Jenn January 20, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Thanks Jeanne! Yes I can imagine GF and vegan would be quite the challenge!

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a spoonful of yumm January 22, 2012 at 11:10 pm

these croutons look perfect for soup or i’d eat a whole bowl plain :D read some of the comments, i had no idea that cheese is not vegetarian :-/ that information is new to me !
happy clicking & eating ;-)

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Jenn January 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Thanks – ha my husband about did eat them all plain lol.

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Stacy January 26, 2012 at 7:28 am

This resonated with me as I am currently on a road trip and am playing the “is there meat in this” game. Common in the southwest US: lard in beans, tortillas, and even cookies, and chicken or beef stock in rice or sauces. I’ve been vegetarian so long that if I get “meat-juiced,” as we call it, I’m quite ill.

And as Archena said — many cheeses are made with rennet (“enzymes”) derived from the stomachs of animals. Strict vegetarians won’t eat cheeses unless they’re made with “vegetable enzymes.”

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Jenn January 26, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Thanks Stacy – I can imagine it is also quite difficult to eat out when you are are that sensitive to meat as well…

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Kevin (Closet Cooking) February 1, 2012 at 3:09 am

Those croutons looks amazing!

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Jenn February 3, 2012 at 3:20 am

Thanks Kevin!

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