These days, people might be more inclined to add toasted pecans or a handful of pumpkin seeds to give a salad some interesting crunch. But if you are a crouton fan and you don't eat gluten, you still have some choices -- other than making your own.
During a lazy dinner of leftovers and a salad, we put some commercial croutons through their paces. We tried not to compare to homemade, but rather to croutons we might find in a salad at restaurant with red-checked tablecloths.
Gluten-free bread that has good taste and texture can be hard to come by, so we were pleasantly surprised that all the croutons were pretty good. Let us know if you disagree with our assessment or if there are others you like.
Olivia's Croutons, garlic flavor, came out on top. The company is based in Vermont, and the bread for the croutons is made with millet, sorghum, brown rice and white rice flours, plus potato and tapioca starches, among other ingredients. The croutons also have fresh garlic, rosemary, basil, pepper and parsley.
We also liked Gillian's garlic croutons, from a company in Massachusetts. Like many other gluten-free products, this one has a personal story: The package told of a child (Gillian) being diagnosed with celiac disease, which meant even a small amount of gluten could make her sick.
Aleia's Parmesan croutons had good flavor but were a little crunchier than we would have preferred. We did like the company motto: "Life is sweet without wheat." Company founder Kim Snow says she thought her world "would end" if she became unable to eat gluten, but instead she found a way to eat the foods she loves. Her company is in Connecticut.
By the way, making croutons is fairly easy: Saute bread cubes in butter flavored with garlic or whatever you choose. Or toss the cubes in melted butter (or a mix of butter and olive oil) and flavorings and bake.