The beauty of this garlic bread recipe is that it does not use butter or a store-bought garlic butter spread. Instead it uses extra virgin olive oil. This is a more heart healthy version of a starchy side that is usually slathered with fat-laden butter and occasionally cheese (depending on the recipe).
So if you’re wondering, can I make garlic bread without butter? The answer is definitely YES! And the results of this no butter garlic bread will not disappoint. In fact, when I first made this for my husband, he was amazed at how good it was. He even assumed I used butter instead of oil!
This simple homemade garlic bread recipe is the perfect side to serve with any soup or salad dish. And it can be prepared and ready to eat in less than 10 minutes!
Why Make Garlic Bread with Olive Oil Instead of Butter?
Using olive oil instead of butter is preferred for one major reason when it comes to health.
Olive oil is the world’s healthiest oil, containing large amounts of polyphenols and monounsaturated fats. Research shows that by replacing 10g per day of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, and/or dairy fat with the same amount of olive oil can result in a 8-34% lower risk of mortality (1).
Olive oil is also the main fat source in the Mediterranean diet, which is know for having many cardiovascular and other health benefits.
Major organizations like the American Heart Association also promote replacing saturated fats in your diet with mono or polyunsaturated fats for health (2). This is because consuming more of these types of fats may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels in your blood (2).
One specific study links increased olive oil consumption with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke (3). More specifically, the research states to consume 20-30 grams per day in order to get maximum benefits.
So, in this recipe, using olive oil, specifically extra virgin olive oil, in place of butter reduces the saturated fat to zero and you are doing your heart a favor. I can have my bread and reap a ton of health benefits? Count me in!
Ingredients and Instructions
Italian bread- freshly baked Italian bread in loaf form is what I always like to use. It’s only one dollar at Walmart. But you can also buy the kind with Italian herbs on top or a loaf of other nice and fresh Italian bread available in your area. I’ve also used pre-sliced Italian loaf before which also works well.
Olive oil- Extra virgin olive oil is a staple in my house and I go through so much on a monthly basis it’s ridiculous. If you have regular olive oil, or virgin olive oil, those are perfect as well. It’s the olive oil flavor that helps give that authentic taste.
Oregano- I use dried oregano in this recipe only because its so convenient and I can keep it all year round in my cupboard. Fresh herbs aren’t always easy to find but if you have access to fresh oregano then use half as much as this recipe calls for.
Basil- again, I use dried basil which helps add to the Italian flavor along with the oregano. If you’re not a big basil fan, you can omit this and use oregano only which I sometimes do. And if using fresh basil, use half of what the recipe calls for.
Garlic powder- here’s where the garlic flavor comes in. I use garlic powder because I always have it on hand and I find the tiny granules so much better to cover the surface of the bread. I have also used mince garlic from the handy bottles you can find in the produce section as well, which is also great for adding a fresh, more potent garlic punch to the garlic bread. But you can use any form of garlic you like here. Roasted garlic squeezed and spread over the bread would be an absolute DREAM as well.
Red pepper flakes- this ingredient is optional. I like to add some in order to add some heat to my olive oil garlic bread. It also adds some benefits from the capsaicin which studies show helps improve vascular and metabolic health (4).
Poor Man’s Garlic Bread
If you’ve ever made a last minute dinner such as spaghetti or maybe a soup that needed a little something on the side, perhaps you resorted to making a garlic bread alternative using whatever ingredients you had on hand.
I call this “poor man’s garlic bread”. Although I’ve also heard it referred to as ghetto garlic bread or budget garlic toast.
Poor man’s garlic bread can come in many forms. One bonus is that it usually ends up being a cheap garlic bread alternative.
To make this, you can use regular sliced bread, hot dog buns, hoagie rolls, or any other type of bread on hand as an alternative to the Italian bread. Then, you can use a garlic spread using butter or margarine if you don’t have olive oil. For the spices, you can try one or more of the following: garlic powder, garlic oil, oregano, garlic salt, basil, or parsley.
It may take a bit of imagination and ingenuity but it’s fun, quick, and cheap to make if you’re in a pinch. And it will help satisfy that garlic bread craving.
What to Serve with Garlic Bread
Try serving this addicting garlic bread recipe with any soup, salad, or Italian dish. Here are a few good entrees to serve it with:
- Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup. 🥣
- Unexpectedly Good Dilly Bean Stew with Cabbage
- One-Pot Spicy Vegan Brunswick Stew
- Best Kale Salad Ever!
- Grilled Chicken Summer Salad
- Traditional or vegetable lasagna
- Baked ziti or spaghetti
- Minestrone soup
FAQ Regarding Garlic Bread
Yes. If you do not have garlic cloves, you can use garlic powder (like this recipe), packaged pureed or minced garlic, garlic salt (minimally because of the salt), or garlic oil. They will all give your garlic bread that wonderful garlicky flavor.
Yes. You can freeze prepared or cooked garlic bread in the freezer after tightly wrapping in clingwrap, then an airtight bag or container. It will keep for up to 6 months. To reheat, defrost and heat in the oven or toaster oven.
Addicting Garlic Bread with Olive Oil
- 1 loaf Italian bread or other whole grain bread loaf
- 8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbsp oregano dried
- 2 Tbsp basil dried
- 4 Tbsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes dried (optional)
- Set oven to broil or if you do not have broil setting, 350° will work.
- Slice the bread along the long edge to make 2 long strips of bread. Place on baking sheet large enough to fit.1 loaf Italian bread or other whole grain bread loaf
- Mix together oregano, basil, garlic powder and red pepper flakes, if using.4 Tbsp oregano, 2 Tbsp basil, 4 Tbsp garlic, ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- Sprinkle spice blend evenly over both slices of bread. Drizzle with olive oil liberally.8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Broil or bake in oven for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully so it does not burn. You want it slightly browned and crisp on the outside but still soft on the inside.
- After removing from oven, carefully cut each bread section into 4 slices for a total of 8 garlic bread slices.
- You can most definitely use fresh or minced garlic in this recipe, which would be wonderful. For the sake of time, I often use powdered 🙂
- Feel free to omit the red pepper flakes if you are not a fan of too much heat.
Share with me: Did you try this addicting garlic bread with olive oil recipe? What changes would you make? Comment below!
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Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.