When chefs create a recipe, they include elements of salt, acid, fat and heat (and sometimes, a pinch of sweetness).

It’s all about flavor: Salt enhances flavor; acid balances flavor; fat delivers flavor and mouthfeel; and heat (pepper, chiles, etc.) is a counterpoint.

But what about texture?

Good recipes take time to add texture as well: crunchy vegetables as well as leafy ones in a salad, meat in soup or croutons on top, nuts or brittle atop ice cream or a cookie alongside. It’s all about the crunch.

We all love to crunch, hence the popularity of chips and pretzels and other crunchy munchies (here’s why humans like crunchy foods).

You can crunchify foods at every meal of the day. For example, at breakfast alone, nuts and seeds can be added to:

  • Breads and muffins
  • Oatmeal and other hot cereal
  • Cottage cheese and yogurt
    At other meals of the day:

  • Sandwiches with spicy radish slices or crushed chips instead of bland iceberg lettuce
  • Soups and salads, with crackers, croutons, nuts and/or seeds
  • Chicken and fish, breaded with panko crumbs, Corn Flakes, crushed pretzels
  • Plate garnishes, such as vegetable chips
  • Desserts with crunchy toppings

    Savory Crunch

  • Asian accents: Chinese fried noodles, Japanese arare* (Oriental rice crackers mix), roasted edamame, wasabi peas
  • Chips and crisps, any kind, including pita chips
  • Corn nuts, soy nuts, roasted chickpeas
  • Crackers, including cheesy crackers
  • Croutons or panko bread crumbs
  • Fried pork cracklings/rinds (chicharrones)
  • Pretzels, mini or sticks
  • Raw veggies: bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, fennel, jicama, radishes, sugar snap peas, etc.
  • Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, etc.
  • Nuts, toasted
    Sweet Crunch

  • Banana chips
  • Biscotti
  • Caramel corn
  • Crushed hard peppermints
  • Diced apples
  • Dry cereal: Frosted Flakes, etc.
  • Graham crackers and other cookies
  • Pocky sticks
  • Toffee chips, crushed brittle
    So plan ahead for a trip to the market, or just search the cupboards, for crunch. As one of our colleagues says, “Crunchiness is next to godliness.” (She’s referring to the god of cuisine.)


    Jumbo Croutons
    [1] Salad croutons the size of biscotti. Here’s the recipe from Morningstar Farms.

    Panko Baked Fish
    [2] Panko, Japanese breadcrumbs, add crunch to chicken and fish. Here’s the recipe from Martha Stewart.

    Gazpacho Garnish
    [3] Gazpacho with crunchy cucumber garnish (plus chiles and peaches), from Botanica Restaurant | L.A.


    *Arare are a classic Japanese bar snack: crunchy, seasoned mini rice crackers, some wrapped with nori; wasabi peas and nuts (photo). The crackers are made in different sizes, colors, and shapes: a fun and tasty snack!


    THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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