Bruschetta

$8.40 recipe / $0.84 serving
by Monti - Budget Bytes
5 from 3 votes
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Bruschetta is a scrumptious appetizer that’s as easy to make as it is economical. This OG Italian Budget Byte is a simple combination of toasted bread topped with garlicky chopped tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve it at your next gathering and watch it disappear in minutes! Bonus: if you serve it on baguette slices, like we did, it’s vegan-friendly! (Other traditional choices, like ciabatta or boule, can be made with milk and eggs, and are not vegan.)

Overhead shot of white platter with bruschetta on it.

How Do You Pronounce Bruschetta?

When pronouncing bruschetta, the CH is a hard K sound: brews-KEH-ta. So if you pronounce it brew-CHEH-ta (as I occasionally do, even though I know better), you’re doing it wrong. But who cares? Mispronounciations are a part of life. And you’re making a truly delightful appetizer from scratch! #winning

What is Bruschetta Topping Made Of?

The choices are endless, truly. But traditionally, bruschetta is a slice of crusty or day-old bread that’s brushed with olive oil, toasted, rubbed with raw garlic, topped with chopped tomato and torn basil, and finally, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Simple? Yes. Bigger than the sum of its parts? 100%!

Can I Prep Bruschetta Ahead Of Time?

You can definitely prep the tomatoes in advance. Chop, salt, and then dress them. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three days. Slice and toast the baguette slices until barely golden. Store them in an airtight container lined with a paper towel for up to a day. Toast them for a few minutes to warm them before assembling them.

Overhead shot of a hand holding a slice of bruschetta in the foreground and a platter of bruschetta in the background.

What Kind Of Tomatoes Are Best For Bruschetta?

Since tomatoes are, after all, the star of the show, the best kind for bruschetta are the tastiest. They should be ripe and heavy for their size. When you press a finger against their skin it should leave a dent. Hold them about six inches away from your nose and breathe in deeply. Only buy them if they are floral and perfumed. Try plum (Roma), cherry, grape, heirloom, vine-ripened, or a combination of any of the above.

Can I Use Canned TOmatoes For Bruschetta?

This might be a controversial statement for the Food Police, but canned tomatoes are a much better choice than out-of-season or unripe tomatoes. You will need to doctor them some, of course. Press whole canned tomatoes in a colander to release their juices and seeds. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread the pressed tomatoes in a thin layer on the pan. Bake them at 350° until most of the liquid evaporates, and their texture transforms to a thick jam-like consistency. Taste them and add a splash of vinegar and a pinch of sugar if necessary, to recreate a perfect tomato’s natural sweetness and acidity.

What Can I Substitute Balsamic Vinegar With?

I get it. Balsamic vinegar can be pricy. You can always substitute it with red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Just make sure to add a pinch of sugar to the mix, to make up for the natural sweetness of the balsamic.

Side shot of white platter with bruschetta on it.

What Kind Of Bread Is Best For Bruschetta?

When you’re making bruschetta, day-old bread is best. Traditionally, a crusty ciabatta is used. But use what you have, or better yet, whatever you find on sale in your grocer’s day-old bread section. I love a baguette, but any thick, hearty bread that can withstand a heavy topping will do just fine.

Why Is My Bruschetta Soggy?

You will always get soggy results if your topping is too liquidy or if it’s been sitting on the toasted bread too long. You can definitely toast the bread ahead of time and prepare the filling ahead of time, but for a texturally perfect bruschetta, top when you’re ready to serve.

How To Remove Seeds And Liquid From Tomatoes

  • The easiest move is to chop the tomatoes and add them to a colander.
  • Place the colander in a bowl to catch juices, and gently agitate and press down.
  • Add salt, which will force the tomatoes to release their liquid.
  • Mix everything a few times and then wait twenty or so minutes.
  • Finally, use your hands to press the tomatoes against the sides of the colander to remove even more liquid.

Don’t throw out those juices, PS. Drink them up. They’re SO tasty. (You don’t have to drink them straight out of the bowl, as I do. Kitchen folk aren’t the classiest, but we’re salt of the earth. Promise!)

Overhead shot of white platter with bruschetta on it.
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Bruschetta

5 from 3 votes
Bruschetta is an easy and scrumptious Italian appetizer of toasted bread slices topped with garlicky tomatoes and fragrant basil. It's as easy to make as it is economical. Serve it at your next gathering and watch it disappear in minutes!
Side shot of bruschetta on a sheet pan.
Servings 10 2-slice servings
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 6 plum tomatoes ($3.24)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 baguette ($2.99)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided ($0.52)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($0.26)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves ($1.25)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper* ($0.06)
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar ($0.06)

Instructions 

  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 450°F. Dice the tomatoes into pencil eraser-sized pieces.
  • Deseed the tomatoes. Place them in a colander and agitate them, gently pressing down, so the seeds slip through the holes.
  • Salt the tomatoes. Sprinkle liberally and mix to incorporate the salt throughout. Wait 20 minutes for the salt to force the juices out of the tomatoes.
  • While the salt is working its magic on the tomatoes, cut your baguette on the diagonal into inch-thick pieces.
  • Brush the olive oil onto both sides of the slices. Place them on the lined sheet pan and toast them for about five minutes or until lightly golden.
  • Agitate the tomatoes once more to release juices. Mince the garlic and chop the basil. Add the garlic, basil, and pepper to the tomatoes.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the tomatoes. Mix to incorporate. Taste the mixture and add more salt, pepper, and balsamic if necessary.
  • Top each toasted baguette slice with a heaping tablespoon of the tomato mixture.
  • Transfer the bruschetta to a serving platter. Serve immediately.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.



Notes

*if you are using finely ground black pepper, only use 1/4 teaspoon.

Nutrition

Serving: 2slicesCalories: 124kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 3gFat: 6gSodium: 389mgFiber: 1g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Overhead shot of bruschetta on a sheet pan.

How to Make Bruschetta – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of sliced and diced tomatoes on a white chopping board.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 450°F. Dice 6 plum tomatoes into pencil eraser-sized pieces.
Overhead shot of a hand deseeding tomatoes in a silver colander.
Deseed the tomatoes. Place them in a colander and agitate them, gently pressing down, so the seeds slip through the holes.
Overhead shot of a hand salting tomatoes in a silver colander.
Add a teaspoon of salt to the tomatoes. Sprinkle liberally and mix to incorporate the salt throughout. Wait 20 minutes for the salt to force the juices out of the tomatoes.
Overhead shot of a baguette being sliced by a knife on a white cutting board.
While the salt is working its magic on the tomatoes, cut a foot-and-a-half long baguette on the diagonal into inch-thick pieces. You will have about 20 slices.
Overhead shot of slices of baguette being oiled with a brush on a white cutting board.
Brush 3 tablespoons of olive oil onto both sides of the slices. Place them on the lined sheet pan and toast them in the 450°F oven for about five minutes or until lightly golden.
Overhead shot fo a white bowl with chopped tomatoes, basil, and minced garlic.

Mince 3 cloves of garlic (about 1 tablespoon) and chop 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves. Add the garlic, basil, and a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper to the tomatoes.

Overhead shot of a white bowl with tomato mixture.

Add 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to the tomatoes and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Mix to incorporate. Taste the tomatoes and add an additional teaspoon of balsamic if necessary. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. (You are adding these to taste, so add the amount you prefer.)

Overhead shot of a sheet pan with 13 baguette slices, some topped with chopped tomato mixture and others bare.
Top each toasted baguette slice with a heaping tablespoon of the tomato mixture.
Overhead shot of white platter with bruschetta on it.
Transfer the bruschetta to a serving platter, serve immediately, and enjoy the ooohs and aaahs that will surely follow.

What Can You Serve With Bruschetta?

Try adding these fabulous dishes to the mix when serving bruschetta.

Overhead shot of a sheet pan with bruschetta on it.
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  1. I must admit that I’m one of those (snobby?) people who only buy tomatoes when they are in season. The rest of the year it’s only home canned tomatoes for me. It’s been more than 20 years since I bought hard, tasteless December tomatoes. I’ll save bruschetta for the summer when it’s made with warm from the sun, vine ripe tomatoes.

    1. Hi Mary,

      Perhaps you could consider commenting once you’ve made this recipe with summer-ripe tomatoes? :)

  2. A tip: regular Italian bread like ciabatte are always vegan, at least in Italy. Only ‘special’ bread (like bomboloni) contains eggs and/or dairy. Actually now that I think about it it’s easier to find Italian bread that contains lard, than one that contains milk and/or eggs. I am in the camp that prefers focaccia made with lard. When in doubt you can always ask the baker or read the label.

  3. I swear Bruschetta is better with old tomatoes, my theory is that the tomatoes have started to dehydrate and there is more concentration in the flesh. So feel free to whip up the recipe when you’ve got a bunch on the counter that need to be used up asap. Also good for the random forgotten pint of cherries tomatoes.

  4. While this topping recipe is bang on and totally delicious, I do my toast a little differently–broil until lightly browned and crunchy, then rub with whole garlic cloves, finishing with a brush of olive oil. The toast acts like sandpaper and ends up deliciously garlicky. Monti’s method is faster. One way to keep things from getting soggy so quickly is to spread the finished toasts with a thin smear of goat cheese or cream cheese before piling on the topping. It will still happen, just not so fast.

    Although some folks believe that bruschetta means the tomato topping, it is the grilled toast itself and there are many delicious options. The first time I ever ate it–in a long gone Italian restaurant about 45 years ago–it was served with an eggplant topping similar to ratatouille or caponata and with herbed goat cheese. I had it later in Italy with a spectacular wild mushroom topping. Another version is similar to pico de gallo with plenty of chopped avocado–the tomato basil one is most often on our table and this recipe is perfect. It not only makes a great appetizer any time of year, but a particularly delicious summer supper when tomatoes are in season. I often add a few chopped kalamata or Italian olives to the diced tomatoes. I’d do it tonight, but we just had first frost and my fresh basil is gone.

  5. This dropped just in time for my neighborhood’s annual holiday potluck this weekend, and the red and green topping will be so festive!! I will definitely transport the topping and toasted bread slices separately to avoid sogginess.