Homemade Salad Toppings – Croutons and Vegan Bacon Bits

Spring has sprung! (Well, here in Minneapolis we woke up to more snow, but the calendar says it’s spring! Work with me here.) Birds are chirping! Farmer’s market season is soon upon us!

This time of year I find myself looking forward to the beautiful local produce,  wonderful salads, and vegetable-centered meals that come with spring and summer. I am honestly counting the days (26!) until my husband and I can hop on our bikes and head down to the farmer’s market. There’s just something so lovely about waking up with the sun, heading out to the market, and allowing the growing season create our shopping list for us.  Counting. The. Days. (26!!!)

Homemade Salad Fixings - Vegan Bacon Bits and Croutons

We got a little bit of a head start on those summer salads this week – we’re in the middle of some home renovations that have dominated our nights and weekends (more on that in another post), so cooking has been put on the back burner and we’ve been doing a lot of simple proteins paired with lettuce salads. These are not the most glamorous of dinners, and I’m sure the foodie police will be after me for admitting this, but sometimes other things in life take priority.

One way I’ve spruced up these simple salads has been to toss in homemade croutons and homemade vegan bacon bits. If you’ve never had homemade croutons before, you’re really missing out – they’re so much better than the store bought ones. They only take a few minutes to make, the ingredients are simple, and they’re a great way to use stale bread. I’ve made them with pita bread, rye bread, naan, a baguette that was hard as a rock, and every bread inbetween. Super yummy.

Bacos are already vegan, and I’ve certainly eaten my fair share of them, but making your own means you can cut out all of those unpronounceable ingredients. The coconut in these definitely comes through a little, so if you’re not a coconut fan you probably won’t like these, but I’ve really enjoyed the nice smokey flavor they’ve added to my salads.

Homemade Garlic-Onion Croutons

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4oz bread (of your choice, cut into cubes or strips)

Directions

Stir together spices and 2 Tbsp oil in a bowl or plastic bag. Add bread and toss vigorously until well coated.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread, and stir constantly until crisp and lightly toasted.

Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Recipe and photos from Mayhem in the Kitchen!
http://www.mayheminthekitchen.com/homemade-salad-toppings-croutons-and-vegan-bacon-bits/

 

Vegan Bacon Bits

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 cup coconut (shredded, unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Directions

Whisk together wet ingredients. Add coconut and paprika, and stir until evenly coated.

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Spread coconut mixture evenly on the pan. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes or until slightly crisp, stirring every 5 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe adapted from Fettle Vegan
Recipe and photos from Mayhem in the Kitchen!
http://www.mayheminthekitchen.com/homemade-salad-toppings-croutons-and-vegan-bacon-bits/

Has spring arrived where you are? How are you celebrating its arrival?

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