Bruschetta is a very simple yet iconic classic Italian dish. It's just toasted bread with a hint of garlic, topped with marinated tomatoes and basil. Tomato Bruschetta is served at every Aperitivo, birthday, barbecue, or any dinner party in Italy. Because it's so easy to make and everybody loves it!
Bruschetta (pronounced broo-SKET-tah) comes from the verb "bruscare" which means "to toast" in Roman dialect. We don't know exactly where this recipe comes from but it's hypothetic that it comes from Central and/or Southern Italy. One reason is the origin of its name, another reason is that the South of Italy is prosperous with good extra-virgin olive oil and juicy tomatoes.
This classic dish is nowadays famous and used all throughout Italy and it's one of the most common appetizers. If you order an "Antipasto Misto" (Mixed Appetizers) in a restaurant, among the cheese, cured ham, and crostini, you'll certainly find a Tomato Bruschetta.
At every birthday party, dinner party, barbecue, you can find a big tray of homemade Bruschetta. Because it's so quick and easy to make, and so easily scalable, it's a perfect way to feed many people in no time. The perfect Italian Bruschetta recipe is probably the easiest recipe you'll find. It has a few ingredients but you can also customize it as you prefer.
How to make Tomato Bruschetta:
The first thing you want to do is marinate the tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes in medium-large chunks and add them to a bowl (1), season with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, chopped basil, and a pinch of oregano (2). Mix with a spoon and let the tomatoes marinate for 15-30 minutes at room temperature. Do not put them in the fridge as tomatoes lose flavor with cold temperatures.
Meanwhile, slice the bread and toast it on a grill pan or under the broiler for a couple of minutes until crunchy but not completely dry. Peel a garlic clove, then rub it on the toasted bread to give it a garlic flavor (3).
Only at the moment of serving, spoon the marinated tomatoes on top of the bread slices and also pour a bit of the delicious juice to soften the bread (4). Serve immediately, otherwise, the bread will become soggy.
The recipe in this post is for the classic Italian Bruschetta which is usually made and served, but I like to make variations when I make it at home and you can also find some variations in modern restaurants. Below are some of my favorites and most common combinations with tomatoes.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top to give it an extra kick
- Smoked Paprika: Add a pinch of smoked paprika to the tomatoes to give them a smokey flavor.
- Fresh Herbs: Add all the fresh herbs you like to the tomatoes, like parsley, fresh oregano, thyme, marjoram, chives, and so on.
- Feta: This is one of my favorite combos. Add cubed feta to the tomatoes for a refreshing flavor.
- Avocado: Another classic combo, add cubed avocado to the tomatoes and an extra pinch of salt. They go so well together!
- Mozzarella: The classic Caprese but on a Bruschetta. You can't go wrong, just add cubed fresh mozzarella (try also with buffalo mozzarella or Burrata) with the tomatoes.
- Pesto: Add a tablespoon of fresh basil Pesto to the tomatoes to give them a fantastic summer flavor.
- Any other ideas? Let me know in a comment! 🙂
FAQ & Tips
For the best result, use crusty Italian bread. Otherwise, you can also use any crusty sourdough bread, Baguette, or Ciabatta bread.
You can grill the bread in advance and prepare the tomatoes a few hours in advance and let them marinate at room temperature. Do not keep the tomatoes in the fridge or they'll lose flavor. Top the bread with the tomatoes only at the last minute, otherwise, it will become soggy.
The best tomatoes for bruschetta are tomatoes on the vine. But you can choose any tomato good for salads, such as the red beefsteak tomatoes, cocktail tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes.
If you like this recipe, try also these other Appetizers recipes:
If you want to learn more about Italian Aperitivo, check this Guide for the perfect Italian Aperitivo at home.
Classic Tomato Bruschetta
- 8 Bread slices
- 1 clove Garlic
- 4-5 Tomatoes
- 5-6 Basil leaves
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Chop the tomatoes in medium-large chunks and add them to a bowl, season to taste with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, chopped basil, and a pinch of oregano.
- Mix with a spoon and let the tomatoes marinate for 15-30 minutes at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, slice the bread and toast it on a grill pan or under the broiler for a couple of minutes until crunchy but not completely dry.
- Peel a garlic clove, then rub it on the toasted bread to give it a garlic flavor.
- Only at the moment of serving, spoon the marinated tomatoes on top of the bread slices and pour a bit of the delicious juice to soften the bread.
- Serve immediately, otherwise, the bread will become soggy.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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