This Easy Tomato Bruschetta recipe is the best Italian appetizer with onion, and parmesan, mozzarella, feta or goat cheese, if desired, on a crusty bread. So much better than store bought.
What is Bruschetta?
Italian Bruschetta, pronounced brew-sket-taah, the “ch” is is silent and replaced with a “k” sound, originated in Italy during 15th century.
However, the dish can be traced back to Ancient Rome, when olive growers would bring their olives to a local olive press and taste a sample of their freshly pressed olive oil with a slice of bread.
We in North America, and outside of Italy, usually think of bruschetta as the tomato portion of this recipe.
Italian Bruschetta Recipe
The meaning of the word bruschetta, in Italian, actually refers to the preparation of the sliced, grilled bread, rubbed with fresh garlic, drizzled with olive oil and sometimes sprinkled with salt, not the tomato topping itself.
In Italy, bruschetta isn’t always topped with tomatoes, it can be made with various other ingredients such as cured meat, beans, vegetables or cheese and more, but this tomato version is my favorite!
Easy Tomato Bruschetta is a wonderfully fresh, light and so bright and colorful Italian appetizer, antipasto or starter dish made with tomatoes.
This easy tomato bruschetta recipe is perfect for those who want something light to begin a big meal, or for those wanting a quick healthy delicious snack.
Usually this tomato mixture, including fresh basil, purple onions, olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh garlic, is served on a toasted slice of crusty bread, also rubbed with garlic and drizzled or brushed with olive oil.
On occasion, this tasty treat is served with some cheese, either parmesan, mozzarella, goat or feta cheese inside the mixture or on top as well!
You can add some balsamic vinegar to your tomato mixture or drizzle your bruschetta with a balsamic glaze. It is super simple to make, adds great flavor and is definitely worth a try.
At least once.
For more information about the history of bruschetta and its origins have a look on wikipedia.
Best Bread for Bruschetta
You can serve this Easy Tomato Bruschetta with any kind of grilled or toasted bread, corn chips or tortillas or crackers for that matter.
However, I have used all kinds of things to transport the bruschetta into my mouth and overall find a baguette is the best bread choice to serve the bruschetta on.
I find that a french stick will work and hold your tomatoes on well but I prefer a smaller, individual serving size. Also, a french bread slice becomes more of a meal than a small baguette.
Except when you have 3 of them! 😉
Regardless, the choice is yours.
No matter what, I urge you to try rubbing fresh garlic on top of your freshly toasted or grilled baguette slice. The garlic practically melts right into the warm bread. Use as much or as little as you would like, right before you brush on your olive oil.
It makes all the difference in the world when creating the ultimate flavor explosion in your mouth!
Best Bruschetta Recipe
Nothing screams summer like a bazillion fresh tomatoes on my counter, waiting to ripen and become the best bruschetta, or our Easy Tomato Salsa, among other things. Bruschetta is the perfect summer appetizer or snack.
It reminds me of my grandfather who used to grow so many tomatoes that we literally were giving them away to all of the neighbors on my street. At times now I am in the same boat and do the exact same thing.
I wish I knew why tomatoes and zucchinis grow in abundance here. It’s almost uncontrollable but that is a good thing because I love both of those vegetables.
Grab and use the nicest tomatoes that are available. In the summer months there are loads of amazing tomatoes around. At other times throughout the year you may have more difficulty finding sweet, juicy, ripe tomatoes.
Also consider purchasing some purple, yellow orange, pink, green, streaked and striped looking cherry tomatoes to add some bright color to your Italian bruschetta.
They are a great addition. I could not believe the colors that are available now but they look so beautiful in your bruschetta and you don’t need many of them. Just a thought!
Make sure you leave your tomatoes on your counter so they are room temperature when you use them in your Italian bruschetta or anything else for that matter.
Refrigerated tomatoes just aren’t as sweet and full of favor and you want juicy tomatoes to enjoy the best bruschetta possible.
The only difficult part is dicing up your tomatoes, but time will pass before you know it. I’m telling you that once you prepare your own homemade Italian tomato bruschetta you will never buy store bought again, unless you absolutely have to.
This bruschetta recipe is the best with fresh basil, whether store bought or home grown! If you are able to grow fresh basil you are super lucky!
In a pinch you can also use fresh oregano, chives, parsley or cilantro.
Adding yellow, white or purple onion adds amazing flavor. So does fresh garlic, the jarred, minced garlic just doesn’t taste the same but will do in a pinch.
You can toast the bread in your oven, under your broiler, or on the grill so you don’t heat up the kitchen.
Watch you don’t put your bread slices too close to your broiler and risk the possibility of a fire. I keep my bread a few inches away, just to be safe. I’ve never heard of anything happening but better safe than sorry.
If you enjoy balsamic vinegar you have the option of adding a tablespoon or two to your bruschetta or make a simple balsamic reduction. You can purchase a balsamic reduction but I figure why bother when it is so easy and much cheaper to do it yourself.
Simply take 2/3 – 3/4 of a cup of balsamic vinegar and place it in your smallest saucepan. Over medium heat, stirring regularly, allow to simmer until reduced and syrupy, about 15 minutes. Easy, peasy and worth every moment!
Drizzled on top of your bruschetta, your taste buds will thank me.
This is the best bruschetta recipe. It is a quick, tasty, healthy snack or appetizer. This recipe is an oldie and a goodie and will satisfy your family and friends, every time you serve it.
Bruschetta with Onion
Not all bruschetta recipes include onions but I can’t help but add it. Whether you use white, yellow or purple onions, they add an incredible amount of flavor and crunch.
Green onions will also work in a pinch as well.
Bruschetta with onion is the only way to go in my opinion and use your favorite onion or whatever you have on hand.
All will work and work well.
Bruschetta Recipe with Mozzarella, Parmesan, Feta or Goat Cheese
I love making my bruschetta recipe with cheese. Cheeses of all kinds.
Usually, I see what I have on hand or what I am in the mood for. All cheeses work well in my opinion.
I even have another appetizer, Crispy Cheesy Bruschetta Bites, that you can use this bruschetta recipe in, that uses cheese and is TERRIFIC! I hope you will consider giving that recipe a try too at some point!
You have the option of using cheese inside your tomato mixture, on top of it, or both for this bruschetta recipe with cheese.
I love to include parmesan cheese with the tomato mixture and a mozzarella or mozzarella cheddar blend all over the top. Broiled to a nice golden brown color.
My husband loves to sprinkle crumbled feta or goat cheese on top of the bruschetta right after it is prepared and on occasion will mix it in with the tomatoes as well.
Honestly, like any other recipe, anything goes. Use your favorite cheese, anywhere you think is best. Experiment and please let me know what you come up with in the comments. I always love to hear.
Ingredients for Easy Bruschetta
- fresh basil
- garlic cloves, minced
- olive oil
- balsamic or red wine vinegar, if desired
- purple onion
- crusty bread
- garlic cloves cut in half
- parmesan, feta, goat or mozzarella cheese (optional, inside tomato mixture, on top or both)
- balsamic reduction, if desired
How to make Bruschetta at Home?
Preheat your oven to broil.
Mix tomatoes, purple onion, basil, salt, pepper and vinegar, if using, to taste in medium bowl. Add cheese if desired. Set aside.
Broil bread until golden brown on both sides. Place toast slices on large platter, rub half garlic cloves with cut side all over the tops, then brush with olive oil.
Use slotted spoon to divide tomato mixture among toast slices.
Sprinkle a pinch of cheese on top if desired and broil for a moment or two to melt. Use a lower rack in your oven so you don’t burn your toast. Your goal is to warm or melt the cheese only.
To make a balsamic reduction or glaze, simmer 2/3 – 3/4 of a cup of balsamic vinegar in your smallest saucepan, over medium heat. Stir regularly until your vinegar has reduced by about half, 15 to 20 minutes.
Allow the reduction to cool, then transfer to an airtight container, I use a glass jar and since it is shelf stable you can easily store it in your pantry.
Just remember to mark the jar so you don’t think it is molasses and ruin a perfectly good batch of cookies. Funny and very true. 😂
Drizzle with balsamic reduction or glaze if desired.
Serve immediately to avoid bread from getting potentially soggy.
We serve this bruschetta at room temperature. I mix it and usually leave it on the counter for at least an hour before serving.
How to Make Ahead, Store and Freeze Easy Bruschetta
Easy Bruschetta is best served freshly made but will store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 2 days in advance while all of the flavors combine and blend together.
You can prepare the sliced baguette by toasting it, rubbing your garlic cloves on both sides and brushing with olive oil, if you want up to 2 hours in advance.
You will need to use a slotted spoon to serve it to separate the tomatoes from all of the accumulated juices, no matter when you serve it.
We serve this bruschetta at room temperature. I prepare it and usually leave it on the counter for at about an hour before serving.
Bruschetta is best eaten fresh but if you have leftovers, store them in the fridge in a sealed container for a couple of days. You cannot store your bruschetta on top of bread as the bread will be too soggy to eat.
Do not leave your bruschetta out for more than 2 hours at a time.
You can freeze the tomato mixture but it will not longer be suitable to use as a fresh appetizer or snack. If you have leftovers and do freeze it, add it into pasta sauces, soups, stews or even stuff it in chicken!
Both are an absolute delight and I am embarrassed at how many I can eat in one evening.
Tips for making the Best Bruschetta
- You have the option to toast your bread in your oven, under your ovens broiler, in a toaster oven, on a grill or barbecue and I urge you to consider trying more than one way to toast your bread.
- The tomato mixture is totally gluten free so use a loaf of gluten free bread to enjoy this appetizer.
- Consider adding some parmesan, goat, feta or mozzarella cheese to the tomato mixture itself, on top or both.
- Use room temperature tomatoes before making and serving.
- Substitute a large can of drained tomatoes, drained and chopped, instead of the fresh tomatoes.
- Tomatoes are very perishable and tend to lose flavor when stored in the refrigerator, store them stem side down, on your kitchen counter, away from direct sunlight and aim to use them within a few days.
- A crusty bread or baguette is best but remember crackers, chips, pitas will also work well.
- Rub your cut garlic cloves into your toasted bread slices while they’re still warm. The juice from the garlic melts and adds a garlic flavor to each slice before brushing on your olive oil.
- Bruschetta can be served hot, warm or cold.
- If you are not a fan of balsamic vinegar try red wine vinegar instead
- If you are unable to find or dislike basil consider trying fresh oregano, chives, parsley or cilantro. Just be cautious when adding balsamic vinegar or a balsamic reduction because the flavors may not blend as nicely together as you want. Do a small taste test and decide for yourself before adding any.
- Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to the mixture. If you are unsure whether you will like it remove a spoonful of your tomato mixture and add a drop or two of balsamic vinegar. Stir it and allow it to sit for a minute, give it a stir and eat a spoonful. Make your decision from there.
- If you would like to try to drizzle balsamic glaze on your Bruschetta you can usually buy a balsamic reduction or glaze in your local grocery store or you can easily make your own. Simmer 3/4 cup of quality balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the vinegar is reduced by at least half and has thickened, between 15 and 20 minutes. Drizzle your bruschetta with the balsamic glaze moments before serving.
- Assemble your bruschetta when you are ready to serve, because bread covered in chopped tomatoes will eventually become soggy over time.
- Feel free to drizzle some of the tomato juices on top of each slice right before serving to add some additional flavor.
Other Easy Appetizers to Try
Delicious Dips to Try
Easy Tomato Bruschetta Video
Easy Tomato Bruschetta
This Easy Tomato Bruschetta recipe is the best Italian appetizer with onion, and parmesan, mozzarella, feta or goat cheese, if desired, on a crusty bread.
- 1 loaf crusty bread, sliced into 3/4-1 inch thick pieces, ends removed
- 4-6 garlic cloves, cut in half
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 medium tomatoes, pulp and seeds removed, cored and cut into 1/4 inch pieces In a pinch you can substitute a large can of drained tomatoes, drained and chopped, instead of the fresh tomatoes.
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup purple onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar, if desired, to taste
- If you are unsure whether you would like either vinegar remove a spoonful of your tomato mixture and add a drop or two of balsamic vinegar. Allow it to sit, give it a stir and eat a spoonful. Make your decision from there.
Balsamic Glaze or Reduction to Drizzle
- 2/3 - 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar, if desired
Preheat your oven to broil.
Broil bread until golden brown on both sides.
Place toast slices on large platter, cut garlic clove in half and rub the cut side all over the one side of each slice of bread, then brush with olive oil.
Mix tomatoes, purple onion, basil, garlic, salt, pepper and balsamic or red wine vinegar, if using, to taste in medium bowl. Set aside. I start by adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Once the mixture has sat for a while I decide if it needs more of either. If using balsamic vinegar I add one tablespoon first and after the mixture has sat for a while I decide if it needs more.
Stir the tomato mixture one more time and taste it to see if you need to add more vinegar, if using, salt or pepper.
Use slotted spoon to divide tomato mixture among toast slices. Put on a generous amount of the tomato mixture on to each slice.
Drizzle a little of the juice remaining at the bottom of the bowl over tomato mixture if desired or your balsamic reduction or glaze. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Sprinkle with a pinch of parmesan, mozzarella, feta or goat cheese if desired on top or add some to your tomato mixture, just to switch things up. Feel free to broil for a minute or two to warm mixture and cheese, if desired.
If you are unable to find or dislike basil consider trying fresh oregano, chives, parsley or cilantro. Just be cautious when adding balsamic vinegar or a balsamic reduction because the flavors may not blend as nicely together as you want. Do a small taste test and decide for yourself before adding any.
Balsamic Reduction or Glaze
If you would like to try to drizzle balsamic glaze on your Bruschetta you can usually buy pre-made glaze in your local grocery store. You also can easily make your own by cooking 2/3 - 3/4 cup of quality balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is reduced by at least half and has thickened. Usually about 15 minutes and worth every second.