A loaf of sliced whole wheat bread sits on a wooden cutting board with an old alarm clock in the background

Wondering What to Do with Stale Bread? Here Are 5 Tasty Uses

The next time your bread goes stale, don’t throw it out—give that loaf a new lease on life by transforming it into one of these simple recipes. From dips to soups to French toast, there are tons of ways to enjoy bread that’s past its prime. Apart from creating something delicious, you’ll also reduce the amount of food waste going into your trash, making this scenario a win for both you and the planet. It’s time to gather up your unused bread ends and get cooking!

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper Dip)

  1. Soak two 1-inch-thick slices of stale whole grain sourdough or Italian bread in a bowl of water until soft. Drain, squeezing excess water back into the bowl; reserve water. 
  2. In a food processor combine soaked bread slices; one 16-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained; ½ cup walnuts; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1 tablespoon lemon juice; and 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses (optional). Process until mixture is combined and mostly smooth. If the dip is too thick, add reserved soaking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency. 
  3. If you like, garnish with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and sprinkle with additional chopped walnuts. Serve with whole grain pita wedges or crackers. Makes 1½ cups

Garlicky Bruschetta Bases

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl stir together 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal and 2 teaspoons minced garlic. Stir in 1 cup warm water; let stand 5 minutes. 
  2. Lay 6 slices of stale bread on a baking sheet. Brush tops of slices with the flax gel. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Flip bread slices over; bake 5 minutes more or until crisp on both sides. Cool completely. Store bruschetta bases in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. 
  3. Top with your favorite bruschetta topping or this simple combo: Stir together 2 cups chopped tomatoes; 2 scallions, chopped; 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar; and 1 clove garlic, minced. Spoon ⅓ cup topping onto each bruschetta base. Makes 6 slices

Seasoned Bread Crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor pulse 2 cups of stale whole grain bread cubes until finely chopped. Add 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon each tahini, garlic power, and onion powder; pulse to combine. 
  2. Spread bread crumbs on a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until crisp and browned. Store bread crumbs in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 month. Use as desired in recipes. Makes 1 cup

Maple-Cinnamon French Toast

  1. In a shallow bowl whisk together ¾ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk, such as almond, soy, cashew, or oat; 2 tablespoons ground chia seeds; 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup; ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract; and a pinch sea salt. Let stand 5 minutes. 
  2. Dip 4 slices stale bread in the mixture, coating both sides and letting bread soak up liquid. Sprinkle one side of each slice with ground cinnamon. 
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Place bread slices in skillet cinnamon side down; sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Cook 4 to 5 minutes per side or until crisp and golden brown. 
  4. Serve with fresh fruit and additional maple syrup. Makes 4 slices

Pappa Al Pomodoro (Tuscan Tomato-Bread Soup)

  1. In a large saucepan cook 1 cup chopped onion and 2 teaspoons minced garlic in 2 tablespoons vegetable broth 3 to 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add one 28-oz. can no-salt-added crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 bay leaf, and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper to saucepan. Cover and simmer over medium-low 15 minutes. Stir in 2 cups stale bread cubes. Cover and cook 10 minutes more. Remove and discard bay leaf. 
  3. Blend soup with an immersion blender until bread has completely disintegrated into the soup. Just before serving, stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil. Garnish with additional basil and freshly ground black pepper. Makes 4 cups

About the Author

Headshot of Mary Margaret Chappell

About the Author

Mary Margaret Chappell

When Mary Margaret Chappell first started out in the plant-based food world as a writer, editor, and recipe developer, she was a bacon-loving former pastry chef who didn’t think she could ever cook without butter. Fourteen years, four cookbooks, dozens of cooking classes, and hundreds of recipes later, her favorite thing in the world is sharing the tips, techniques, and recipes that show just how easy and delicious whole-food, plant-based cooking can be. The former food editor of Vegetarian Times magazine has done away with her dependency on butter and is honing her skills at baking with natural sweeteners. Chappell lives in France, where plant-based eating can often be a challenge, but the fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes available are simply amazing. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
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