. Garnishing with Croutons Seriously Soupy

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Garnishing with Croutons

Some soups are best left alone. However, others may seem incomplete without placing a little something extra on top such as garnish or an accompaniment. These little nuggets not only enhance the presentation of a soup, but can change the composition, texture, and even alter the flavor of a soup—all in a good way, of course. Personally I am a little misguided about garnishes. I appreciate when they are there, but honestly I'm not sure what type of garnish should go with what soup and in general, I usually opt for a heaping amount of parmesan cheese as my garnish. Oh boy, do I have a lot to learn! So, I decided to educate myself (and others) by writing an on-going series about the fine art of garnishing, including how to make them and what soups work well with them. For the first installation of the series, I am going to start out with croutons —a pretty basic garnish that most of us are familiar with and one that is actually fairly simple to make. Here's how to make complete your soup...or at least learn how to dress it up before it gets devoured!

How to Make Croutons
Since I am solely a soupy creator, I needed a little help with actually making the crouton itself. And luckily for me (and you), I discovered this incredible recipe from one of my favorite bloggers (www.savorysweetlife.com). I pretty much followed Alice's recipe word-for-word, except I used whole-wheat bread (made the croutons appear very dark) and fresh parsley instead of the dried variety (I had it on hand for tonight's soupy). But overall the process was so easy and quick that I may have to make my own variety of crouton very soon-maybe adding rosemary, garlic, or basil to the mix?

Also, do be sure to check out Alice's site for the fantastic crouton pictures and detailed tutorial that made this process pretty darn easy.

Homemade Croutons Recipe, adapted from http://savorysweetlife.com created by Alice

6 slices regular, gluten-free, or low-carb bread (fresh or day old), crusts trimmed and cubed
3 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder and a pinch of salt  OR 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Preheat over to 300 degrees. Mix melted butter, garlic powder/salt, and parsley flakes until garlic powder is dissolved and mixture is clump free.  Toss butter mixture with cubed bread in a medium bowl until cubes are evenly coated.  Spread coated bread cubes on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 15 minutes and check to see if they are dry, crispy, and golden brown.  Stir the croutons around and bake for an additional 15 minutes until done. Store croutons in air-tight container or ziplock bag.  Enjoy!

* Mine typically take 30 minutes baking time total – your baking time may vary.

Soups That Go Well With Croutons
In general, cream-based soups and vegetable purees go well with croutons. I also think that some bean-based soups work well with croutons, but really you can place a crouton on any type of soup you please and I'm sure it will work out just fine. Here's a listing of some popular soup and crouton pairings:
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Pumpkin Soup
  • Tomato and Cream of Tomato Soup
  • Lentil Soup
  • Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • Potato Soup
  • Split Pea Soup
  • Squash Soup
  • Mushroom Soup
  • Spinach Soup
  • Bean-Based Soups such as White Bean and Kale or Lentil
What type of soup would you put croutons on?

Seriously Soupy Serena


  1. oooh i love croutons! thx for the recipe. totally gonna try them :)

  2. I love them too! And what's even better is that they can be used in salads or as a bite size snack!