Recipes
Make Pepperoni Croutons for a Better Salad
These will change the way you crouton forever.
07-21-2021
Danielle Lapierre

Salads are some of the most customizable dishes in the world, but they all follow a similar formula. You start with a base (typically greens or other vegetables), and then you add toppings and a dressing. In my opinion, one of the most important components of a salad is the crunch, especially when that crunch is a crouton.

I’m a crouton fanatic—I’ve been known to eat them straight out of the bag like potato chips. And they’re even better when you make them yourself with cubes of bread. But what else can you “crouton”? Our test cooks found a way to do it with pepperoni.

Cook’s Country test cook Morgan Bolling added a unique twist to her new house salad recipe by using diced pepperoni and bread together to create pepperoni croutons. The key here is to use a link of pepperoni, not the sliced stuff. The link will help ensure that you get that crouton-like dice.

Once you have your pepperoni and bread diced, all you have to do is cook the pepperoni alongside the bread cubes in a bit of oil. Some pepperoni fat is rendered out and then absorbed by the bread cubes; this infusion makes the bread a little spicy and more savory. And once the crunchy bread and pepperoni are tossed in your salad, the contrasts in flavor and texture will help take it to a new level.

Pepperoni Croutons

Makes about 1¼ cups

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, crust removed, cut into ¼-inch dice (about ⅔ cup)
2 ounces link pepperoni, cut into ¼-inch dice (about ½ cup)
⅛ teaspoon table salt

1. Heat oil in 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add bread, pepperoni, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is toasted and pepperoni is rust-colored, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towel–lined plate and let cool for 5 minutes.