It happens to everyone; you buy a loaf of bread, and it goes stale before you can eat it all. Well, before you throw it away, let me tell you that there are lots of things you can do with stale bread. When I was a kid, my mother would always save stale bread to use in recipes. Sometimes she even bought bread purposely to let it go stale.
Bread is delicious when it’s fresh, but it’s also versatile and extremely useful when it goes stale. If you can buy day-old bread at reduced prices at the market, do it! It’s a great deal! Here are some ideas on how to repurpose stale bread.
All you have to do is throw some stale bread cubes in a blender or food processor and you’ve got breadcrumbs. For toasty breadcrumbs, bake the stale bread at low heat (about 200 degrees) until it gets dry and brittle. Then throw it in the blender or food processor. You can add herbs, spices or any seasonings you like. Add lemon and make this Whole Wheat Pasta With Sundried Tomatoes and Lemon Breadcrumbs. Store your breadcrumbs in an air-tight container in the fridge or freeze them to make them last longer.
Use your breadcrumbs as a binder in veggie burgers or meatballs, as a topping for casseroles or mac and cheese, or as a coating for fried tofu or these (Fish-Style) Parsnip Fillets. Use your handmade breadcrumbs to make this Orecchiette With Cauliflower, Breadcrumbs and Sun Dried Tomatoes, Buffalo Avocado Wings,
One of the most common uses for stale bread is probably stuffing. About a week before the holidays, my mother would start stockpiling bread to let it go stale in order to make stuffing. To me, the stuffing is the best part of holiday dinners and every time I eat it, I wonder why we don’t eat stuffing all year round.
To use stale bread in stuffing, all you have to do is cut it into cubes. Add the cubes to sauteed veggies in a pan, season and moisten with broth. After letting it cook a few minutes, transfer the stuffing to a baking dish and bake until it’s golden brown. Try it with these 12 Delicious Stuffing Recipes.
Crunchy croutons are great on top of a salad or bowl of soup. Again, you can buy a box of croutons but you can make your own in the time it takes you to put your salad together. To make croutons, toss small cubes of stale bread in a bit of olive oil with your favorite dried herbs and spices, nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan. My choices are garlic powder, paprika, and oregano. Arrange the cubes on a single layer on a baking sheet and bake them for just ten minutes or so in the oven. Use your croutons to make this Mixed Kale Salad With Rosemary Ciabatta Croutons and Lemon Poppy Vinaigrette, Bahn Mi Salad With Pickled Vegetables and Vietnamese Croutons, Caesar Salad Nouveau, and Creamy Pumpkin Soup.
Speaking of soups, an old trick to thicken soups is adding some stale bread into the pot. Let it get mushy and then blend the soup. It also works with sauces and stews. Of course, the most common bread-soup combination is French onion soup which is topped with cheesy bread. Stale bread is a good choice since it will take longer to get mushy from the soup. Try making this Fantastic French Onion Soup, Soothing Vegan French Onion Soup, and French Onion Soup With Cheese Toasts.
5. Bread Salads
If you want a salad that’s a little heartier, Panzanella or “bread salad” is a good way to use up stale bread. Panzanella is a classic Mediterranean dish. Just toss stale bread cubes into a bowl with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, onions, and whatever veggies you like. Toss it all with your favorite salad dressing and you have a delicious and satisfying salad. This Panzanella has tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and bell peppers with lots of herbs and an oil and vinegar dressing. This Warm Autumn Panzanella With Cinnamon Cider Dressing has roasted veggies, dark leafy greens, and warm spices that make it a perfect dish in the colder seasons.
6. Bread Pudding
Stale bread can make yummy desserts like bread pudding. Combine the stale bread cubes with fruit, pumpkin, almond milk, maple syrup, and whatever spices you like such as cinnamon. Put the mixture into ramekins and bake until it’s thick and golden brown. This Banana Bread Pudding has bananas and peanut butter with warm cardamom while this Blueberry and Oat Breakfast Bread Pudding is made with wholesome ingredients for a delicious breakfast treat. This Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding has apple, cinnamon, and maple nestled all warm and cozy together in a perfect individual serving then drizzled with a creamy, sweet, slightly salty caramel sauce.
7. French Toast and Cinnamon Toast
French toast is a great way to use stale bread. After all, you’re going to dip it in milk or batter; fresh bread would just get mushy. Use stale challah to make this Challah French Toast or French bread to make this Chai Spiced French Toast. See how to Start Your Morning With These 10 Egg-Free French Toast Recipes. Stale bread is also good for making cinnamon toast or your own Homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
8. Grilled Sandwiches and Panini
The whole point of grilling sandwiches is to make them crispy. If you start with stale bread, your sandwich will be even crispier. Try using stale bread to make this Green Goddess Griller and Avocado Pumpkin Panini with Caramelized Onions. Of course, the most popular grilled sandwich is the grilled cheese. Try this Grilled ‘Cheese’ and Tomato Soup Sandwich, Fancy Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese, and Southwestern Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
9. Bruschetta, Crostini, and Open-Faced Sandwiches
I love nothing more than crusty bread topped with savory toppings. If you’re going to put slices of bread into the oven to crisp up, why not start with day-old stale bread? You can make simple garlic bread by rubbing the bread with a garlic clove and drizzling some olive oil on before baking. My favorite type of bruschetta is my Tomato Garlic Bruschetta made with halved grape tomatoes cooked in garlicky olive oil. Another delicious bruschetta is this Simple Red Pepper Bruschetta with Homemade Roasted Garlic Ricotta.
Similar to bruschetta are crostini like this Crostini Topped with Creamy Macadamia “Cheese” Spread and Fresh Curried Fig & Golden Grape Tomato Chutney, Roasted Rainbow Caponata Crostini, and Tofu Ricotta Crostini. Stale bread can also be used to make these Asparagus Tofu Tartines With Light Hollandaise Sauce.
Who needs breadsticks when you have stale bread? Cut the stale bread into long pieces so you can dip them into your favorite dips and spreads like hummus, salsa, soft vegan cheese, and spinach artichoke dip. For ideas, check out How to Make Clean Eating Dips and Spreads That Eliminate Oil and Dairy and these 15 Double-Dip Worthy Vegan Dips. Fondue is the most fun thing to dip your stale bread in. Cut the bread into cubes for this Creamy and Cheesy Nut-Free Chickpea Fondue. It’s a dairy-free fondue that’s easy to make with chickpeas!
So before you throw out that stale bread, think again! There are so many delicious ways to use it, and you’ll reduce food waste while you’re at it.
Lead image source: Warm Autumn Panzanella With Cinnamon Cider Dressing