Whole Wheat Banana Bread Croutons are simple to make and it all starts with a favorite banana bread recipe. They are a great salad topping and even a delicious snack. Surprise your friends and family with this special addition to salads.
Green leaf salads are a magical appetizer. They can be loaded with chopped veggies in endless variations. There can even be fruit added. Maybe sliced strawberries or maybe even just a strawberry vinaigrette.
But I have a surprise for you that you may never have thought of. Something that is a perfect addition and helps make a good salad great.
We all know about croutons. Those lovely little bread squares that are roasted and sometimes seasoned. Sprinkle them over salads and have as a snack.
Well, here's a twist. Banana Bread Croutons! Whole Wheat Banana Bread Croutons to be exact. I've been wanting to give this recipe to you for a long time now.
Last summer a bunch of my relatives and I went on a trip to Maui. We walked over to one of our favorite restaurants and my niece got this beautiful salad and in a surprised voice she says, "These are banana bread croutons!" "What?", I said, just as surprised.
We both looked at each other with the same look on our faces and she says "You can put these on your blog!"
So here I am passing along this 'little something extra' that you can do at home - just like that cool fancy restaurant.
I've made this recipe using my recipe for Banana Bread Squares. It's really popular on the blog but you can use any banana bread recipe that you like.
Pro Tips for this Homemade Croutons Recipe
- It's very easy to make croutons from a recipe that was made in an 8"x8" pan. You can make a loaf also but then you have to cut it in 1" slices through the depth of the banana bread.
- You can see below how easy it is to handle if you use an 8"x8" pan.
- You just take the banana bread out of the pan and make even slices through the bread, 3/4" to 1" each.
- Don't cut into squares yet. It is easier to handle in larger pieces. Cut each slice into 2" lengths and it is much easier to dot with oil.
- Brush the baking sheet first and then lay the pieces on the pan. Then brush the top of each banana bread slice with more oil. This will help them brown beautifully.
- See the photo below for a quick visual of what I mean.
- See, those 2" strips are much easier to brush with oil. Then cut those in half after they've been baked/broiled for the squares. All done.
- You don't need to brown the last one side that has been cut. The other sides of the square are crispy enough and actually just right. Aren't they pretty?
They taste as good as they look. That lovely sweetened toasted flavor mixed with a fresh green salad makes for a feast.
How To Store Croutons
I store my croutons in an airtight food storage container or a zip-top bag for up to three days. This is a big bunch of storage containers but you'll be surprised how much you'll use them. All of them!
You can store them in the refrigerator for about five days.
Homemade croutons can also be put in the freezer. I use the same freezer storage container as shown above. You can also use zip lock freezer bags. When ready to use, spread the croutons onto a baking sheet and bake at 250-275 degrees F for about 10 minutes to defrost and make crispy again.
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What Do You Think?
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Whole Wheat Banana Bread Croutons
- 1 recipe baked Banana Bread Squares
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Make sure you use a square pan even if you use your own recipe. It makes the slicing much easier.
- Remove from the pan and let cool. Slice in about 3/4" to 1" strips.
- Don't cut in squares yet. It is easier to toast this way.
- Brush oil on a baking sheet.
- Lay the strips of banana bread on the baking sheet with one of the cut sides down.
- Brush more oil on the top of each strip.
- Turn on your broiler and broil for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until just golden brown.
- Don't walk away. Check at 45 seconds and then at a minute. In the last few seconds they start to get very brown very quickly.
- Remove from the oven and flip each strip over so that the other cut side is up.
- Brush with oil again and lightly brown under the broiler as you did the other side. Remember don't walk away. It just takes seconds.
- Take out of the oven an let cool. Cut into cubes.
- The newly cut edges do not have to be toasted. The croutons will be crunchy enough as they are.
- After they have cooled keep in an airtight container or zip lock bag and serve on fresh salads.