Which key ingredient do fried chicken parm, Tukey-Day stuffing, and baked broccoli casserole have in common? Bread crumbs—by the boatload. Whether they’re store-bought or homemade with a leftover loaf, bread crumbs add coating, crunch, and flavor to so many of our favorite meals.
What Are Bread Crumbs?
Breadcrumbs is a pretty broad term, so let’s break it down. These fine granules are basically broken down pieces of bread mixed with herbs and seasonings. You could easily toss Saturday’s sourdough ends into a food processor or bake small pieces of your almost-stale baguette.
If you’re shopping at the store for a quick solution, you might spot regular Italian breadcrumbs or something called Panko. Panko is typically lighter and airier than the standard blend, mostly due to the fact that it’s made with crustless bread. On average, panko has fewer calories, lower sodium, and less fat than breadcrumbs. The two can be used interchangeably, but people tend to purchase Panko for tempura batter and baked pasta toppings.
What Are Some Delicious Bread Crumb Alternatives?
If you’re gluten-free, cutting back on carbs, or just looking to jazz things up, there are solid substitutes out there!
You can find this cereal in any convenience store. The unsweetened variety (while not so exciting for breakfast) is extremely versatile and works well in a number of savory dishes. Here’s a fun way to get out some daily frustration: simply pour a cup or two of corn flakes into a plastic baggie and get crushing. Not only will these flakes deliver extra texture, but you’ll also squeeze in a serving of fiber.
If the “anything but the bagel” seasoning trend has taught us one thing, it’s that seeds are tasty on breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Due to their small bodies, sesame, poppy, chia, flax, and sunflower seeds can make for an excellent coating. This will pack in the nutty flavor, vitamins, minerals, and even some protein.
Ground almonds have a flour-like consistency, which is great for breading cutlets and veggies. They also boast vitamin E, magnesium, and antioxidants for an extra boost. If you’re looking for more of a crust, roughly chop them to coat salmon, halibut, or pork chops.
Yes, we are in fact giving you permission to eat potato chips for dinner. Crinkle cut, sour cream and onion, or barbecue…we’ll leave that up to you. Not the most nutritious, but definitely delicious. If you want to lighten up the meal, look for low-sodium, baked chips!