Going to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday is a treat for us. Luckily, there’s a Ruby Tuesday right down the street from our house. They always keep the salad bar super-duper cold and super-duper stocked. Never have I gone up with my plate and said “oh no! there’s only one pea left!” (I love peas on a salad). When I get to the end of the salad bar, I find my two favorite things: Ranch dressing and pumpernickel croutons. Now, there’s an art and an order to putting them on your salad, mind you. You do NOT put the dressing on first. I used to think you had to to keep the croutons from sliding off. No, the croutons go first, and lots of them. Make sure you kinda wedge them in any nooks and crannies so they don’t fall off. Then drizzle with the dressing, getting half of the croutons nice and Ranchy while leaving the rest naked. Trust me on this. Do it next time you hit up the Ruby Tuesday salad bar.
I used a fresh loaf of pumpernickel bread when I made copycat Ruby Tuesday croutons. Fresh bread takes longer to bake but I think it makes for a better duplicate of the original: a little crunch but mostly soft and tender crouton. You do not want a hard, dry crouton that bursts into a billion pieces when you bite into it. If you do use older or stale bread, keep an eye on them while baking because they won’t take as long.
Also try my fried goat cheese croutons. Oh yeah. They’re very good.
Copycat Ruby Tuesday Croutons
- 4 cups pumpernickel bread cubes cut into 1/2" cubes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus a bit more
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Place breadcrumbs into a large bowl.
- Place butter into a small bowl. Stir in the garlic powder and salt.
- Pour butter mixture over breadcrumbs and toss gently to coat.
- Pour bread out onto a large baking sheet (or two) and spread out evenly.
- Bake for 10 minutes and check for crispness. Bake longer if needed, but check every minute or so.
- Remove and let cool before using. Sprinkle with more salt if desired.