I’m making this salad for the 4th of July, but it would be great for Memorial Day or Labor Day too. It’s fun, festive, delicious, AND nutritious.
What makes this salad special is the star croutons and you only need 5 ingredients to make them.
Start by melting coconut oil over medium low heat. While the coconut oil is melting measure out the gluten-free baking mix, parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper and salt into a mixing bowl.
Add the warm water and melted coconut oil to the flour mixture and combine thoroughly. Use a rubber spatula to gather the dough into a ball.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator or freezer if you are not immediately rolling out the croutons.
When you’re ready to roll out the dough, do so between two sheets of plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Don’t try and roll out the entire ball of dough at once. Instead pinch off pieces of dough that are a tad smaller than the size of a golf ball. This will make the rolling and cutting more managable. The trickiest part of this recipe is getting the dough rolled out thin enough. You want to roll it out really thin – between 1/8 and 1/16th or an inch thick. If the dough is not rolled thin enough the croutons will be tough and chewy instead of crispy and crunchy. Rolling pin rings REALLY help with getting the dough to the right thickness for this recipe. Rolling pin rings are plastic or silicone rings that fit onto the ends of your rolling pin and help you roll out dough evenly and to a specified thickness. They come in a variety of sizes depending on the thickness of dough desired, and are available on-line and in cooking stores.
Once the croutons are baked they’ll be crispy and slightly golden brown. They make the salad taste so good! They’re not greasy and salty like boxed croutons or the ones you typically get on restaurant salads.
The crouton recipe makes many more croutons than are needed for 2 salads so package up the leftovers and store them in a zip lock bag in the freezer. You can pull them out whenever you need gluten free salad croutons. It’s fun to make other holiday themed shapes too for Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
- 2 ounces baby spinach or other salad greens
- ¼ cup/1 ounce goat cheese
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ¾ cup fresh raspberries or sliced fresh strawberries
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
- ½ cup gluten-free all- purpose baking flour
- ¼ cup/1 ounce finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ Tablespoons hot water
- Balsamic Vinegariette
- 3 ounces balsamic vinegar
- 1 ounce olive
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To make the gluten-free croutons preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the gluten free baking flour, salt, parmesan cheese, coconut oil, cayenne pepper, and hot water. Once the dough comes together, gather into a ball and turn it onto a lightly floured (dust with more of the gluten free baking flour) surface. Gently knead it a few times.
- Roll out the dough until it is very thin, approximately ⅛th to 1/16th of an inch thick.
- Using a star cookie cutter, approximately 1 inch in diameter, cut out the croutons and place them on the baking sheet.
- Bake 9-11 minutes, or until they start to brown around the edges.
- Notes: This crouton recipe makes more than enough croutons for 2 salads so you’ll have extra left over. Alternatively you can make enough croutons for 2 salads (approximately 1 dozen) and then using a larger cookie cutter make crackers with the rest of the dough.
- Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and set aside. Divide the baby spinach or salad greens between two bowls. Top each bowl of greens with goat cheese, berries, almonds, and 5 or 6 star croutons. Dress with balsamic vinegariette and serve.
- Serves 2