Healthy Gluten-Free Carrot Croutons / Vegan “Bacon” Bits Recipe for Spring Garden Salads (Perfect for Easter, Showers, Luncheons, & Brunches)

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This easy recipe for colorful carrot croutons transforms any spring garden salad into a healthy gluten-free creation. Roasting carrot slices enhances their inherent sweetness while herbs and olive oil impart crouton flavor. Use baby carrot slices for healthy vegan “bacon” bit crunch with no cholesterol. This modern twist on old favorites is a continuation of the undercover veggie series, which makes it simple to get your little bunny to eat her carrots!

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Ingredients:

  • sliced carrots (large carrots make crouton chips, while baby carrots make bits)
  • extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle over carrot slices before roasting)
  • your favorite dried herbs & seasoning (to sprinkle before roasting, I used sea salt and dill, but try grilling spices for bits)
  • fresh garden salad (I used baby kale, baby chard, baby spinach, diced English cucumber, orange heirloom cherry tomatoes, sprouted pumpkin seeds, & chopped fresh parsley)
  • dressing of choice (try a lemon vinaigrette with a 3 to 1 ratio of extra virgin olive oil to lemon juice plus herbs like dill & parsley)

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Instructions:

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Wash the carrots, and peel the large varieties. These baby carrots are a peel-free shortcut to orange vegan “bacon” bits. Slice as many as you like, keeping in mind that they will shrink with roasting. (A cookie sheet full is enough to top 6 side salads.)

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Disperse the sliced carrots over a parchment lined cookie sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, or generously spray them with a Misto. Sprinkle dried herbs and seasoning over them. (I chose sea salt with dill for a light garden fresh taste, but grilling spices with black pepper would be more bacon bit like.)

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Roast in a 350ᵒ oven for about half an hour… this will vary greatly depending on carrot size and oven temperament! Just keep an eye on them once the edges brown, with the oven light on. (If utilizing a dehydrator, cook them at 145ᵒ for 30 minutes, and then reduce heat to 115ᵒ for 24 hours until crunchy.)

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Spoon the crunchy carrot bits over any variety of fresh garden salad.

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Roasting makes them more flavorful than regular old carrot slices. (Find the bunny ears napkin ring craft tutorial here.)

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Bunny sandwiches are the perfect accompaniment for a carrot topped garden salad. (Cut the bread shapes with a cookie cutter before filling them.)

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The colorful carrots are a beautiful way to coordinate with any existing orange elements in your menu or décor. (See more from the leaping bunny garden party here.)

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These are not only gluten-free, but also guilt-free… because no pigs or waist lines are harmed by consumption!

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For more undercover veggies and a creamy dressing, see my Heartbeats Recipe here.

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Faithfully Yours,

Leigh

P.S. The Easter Bunny approves this message.

WildBackyardBunnyLeigh

(This is one of the wild backyard bunnies visiting my porch!)

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