There’s only so much you can do with stray stale pieces of leftover bread. You could make croutons, or you could make these Cheat’s NYT breadcrumb crunch. They’re inspired by Samin Nostrat’s recipe, but a heavily simplified version that relies on a basic pantry instead of fresh herbs and shallots. The kind of recipe that you can whip up without going out to buy a handful of different herbs. Instead of using shallots I use onion flakes and instead of using fresh sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley I use the dried versions. You can switch out herbs for what you have on hand or prefer. I’ve made it with all and with only sage and thyme.

The result is a panful of addictively delicious crunchy breadcrumbs you can sprinkle on just about anything: Add them to a simple kale sale (recipe below), sprinkle on fried eggs, pasta dishes, fish or anywhere you want a little savory crunch.  

What bread to use?

Any bread will work just remove the crust. I used thick leftover challah slices. The quantities given in the recipe are based on what I used for four thick slices of challah which yielded about 4 cups of breadcrumbs. I suggest tasting and adjusting the seasoning as you like – starting with less and adding more. 


Cheat’s NYT Bread Crumb Crunch

A simplified version of Samin Nosrat's NYT bread crumb crunch for days when all you have is stale bread and a couple of dried herbs.
Course: Snacks
Dietary: Dairy Free, No Added Sugar, Nut Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan, Vegetarian


  • 4 thick pieces of bread I used challah
  • 2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoons dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Remove the crusts from the bread and tear it into pieces. Add to a food processor along with all the herbs, dried onion flakes and salt. Blitz until the bread becomes fine breadcrumbs no larger than pea sized.
  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and add the breadcrumb mixture to the pan. 
  • Cook on a low-medium heat, stirring often until the breadcrumbs have become golden brown, 3-5 minutes. 
  • Remove and allow to cool before using – they crisp up as they cool. 
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or enjoy immediately. 

Simple Kale Salad with Breadcrumb Crunch

A simple kale salad made better with some herby breadcrumb crunch
Course: Mains, Sides
Dietary: No Added Sugar, Nut Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegetarian


  • 1 bunch Kale stems removed and cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Cheat’s NYT breadcrumb crunch recipe above
  • Freshly grated Parmesan 
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Add kale to a serving bowl along with olive oil, lemon juice and some salt. 
  • Using your hands massage the olive oil and lemon juice into the kale. This helps soften the kale and reduce its bitterness. 
  • Top with a few heaping spoonfuls of Cheat’s NYT breadcrumb crunch and freshly grated parmesan. 
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