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How to Make Bruschetta

Roma tomatoes, red onion, basil, and garlic mingle together to make a fresh, delicious topping for bruschetta, the famous Italian grilled garlic toast appetizer.

This classic appetizer starts with grilled bread rubbed with fresh garlic and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil. Warm garlic toast topped with tomato and basil salad — or bruchetta di pomodoro e basilico — is the most popular way to enjoy bruschetta in Italy.

If you know how to make bruschetta like the Italians, you know the toast may be served warm with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, with basil pesto, or topped with my personal favorite fresh tomato and basil salad!

Bruschetta (pronounced brew-SKET-uh) with tomato is perfect for Summer entertaining. Serve the toast warm from the grill alongside a bowl of the tomato basil salad and let your guests add their own topping. When made with fresh, in-season tomatoes, bruschetta boasts the most amazing flavor.

Craving more Italian-inspired appetizers? You may like my Mediterranean layer dip made with a homemade white bean hummus. Or, this easy roasted red pepper and artichoke dip is delicious served with pita chips and is a lovely accompaniment to grilled chicken, fish, or even angel hair pasta.  

three slices of baguette on a plate with bruschetta piled on top of each one.

Why you’re going to love it!

  • Simple, fresh ingredients
  • Prepare the toast indoors or outdoors
  • Delicious, authentic Italian flavor!
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Freaky Friday blog hop

Today is FREAKY FRIDAY, y’all! That may not mean a thing to you, but it’s pretty exciting for me. Freaky Friday is a fun blog project (the brainchild of Michaela from An Affair From the Heart) where a group of food bloggers secretly cook or bake a recipe from another blog they were assigned, then reveal the recipes at the same time on one Freaky Friday morning — that’s TODAY!

Tomato with Bruschetta: behind the recipe

And now for the big Freaky Friday reveal… meet Amy Nash, creator of House of Nash Eats!

Friends, you just don’t even know how much I admire Amy and continually drool over her beautiful blog. She’s a California girl who shares recipes for “modern comfort cooking” and a big number of those have a Southern flare, like Blackberry Cobbler Ice Cream (oh, yeah!!) and even Fried Green Tomatoes. We must be soul sisters!

Besides being an amazing cook, Amy is a sweet, giving person with a heart for adoption. She has lots of stories and recipes inspired from her travels around the world, like these French Cream Puffs, Thai Coconut Mango Sticky Rice, and Authentic Carne Asada.

Truthfully, there were so many delicious recipes to choose from that it was hard to settle on just one to share with you today, but her easy tomato bruschetta recipe was calling my name! I absolutely love Italian food and can’t resist a good in-season tomato, so it was a win-win!

ingredients for bruschetta on a kitchen counter: roma tomatoes, basil, garlic, red onion, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Key ingredients and substitutions

  • Bread loaf — Choose a rustic bread that’s soft on the inside and crusty on the outside, like a French baguette.
  • Garlic — This aromatic adds so much flavor to so many dishes! I love how fresh garlic transforms a simple piece of bread in this recipe!
  • Extra-virgin olive oil — It’s important to use a good quality olive oil that’s EXTRA-virgin (not light) for a bolder flavor.
  • Roma tomatoes — Look for tomatoes that are bright red, and firm yet slightly soft to the touch. Roma tomatoes are the Italian’s first choice, but sweet Campari tomatoes are also tasty.
  • Basil — Mix torn fresh basil into the tomato salad and save some to garnish the top.
  • Balsamic vinegar — You can make a balsamic reduction or use a high quality balsamic vinegar instead. I buy an 18-year aged balsamic vinegar at a local shop and am addicted!
process steps for making bruschetta: dice tomatoes and red onions; add olive oil; add balsamic vinegar; add basil and parmesan cheese.

How to make bruschetta

STEP 1 | Prepare the tomato salad

  • Dice the tomatoes (do not peel) and place in a bowl with finely chopped red onion and garlic. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (if using) over the tomato mixture. Stir gently.
  • Add the basil and Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Garnish with more basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.
preparing slices of baguette to toast for bruschetta: 1) rub with garlic clove 2) drizzle with olive oil.

STEP 2 | Toast the bread

  • The toast may be prepared outdoors on a grill or toasted in a 400-degree oven.
  • Cut the bread loaf into 1/2-inch thick slices, either straight or on the diagonal for larger slices.
  • Drizzle the bread with olive oil and place on a hot grill. Cook until toasted, turning, often.
  • Immediately rub the toasted bread with a halved garlic clove to infuse it with more flavor.

tip

  • When toasting the bread in the oven, I sometimes rub the bread slices with a garlic clove both BEFORE and AFTER taking the bread out of the oven.

STEP 3 | Serve

  • If you like, drizzle the toast with a bit more olive oil.
  • If serving immediately, place the toast on a plate and top with a spoonful of the tomato salad. Drizzle with a little balsamic reduction and garnish with more basil, if desired.
  • Keep in mind the bread will get soggy if it sits too long with the tomato salad on top, so you may prefer to serve to let guest top their own toasts.
bruschetta in a white dish on a table with toasted baguette slices.

Frequently asked questions

How long does bruschetta last?

Truthfully, bruschetta is best eaten fresh so it’s best to only toast what you plan to eat at one sitting. That being said, you may store the tomato salad covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. When ready to serve, remove the tomato salad from the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you toast fresh slices of bread.

Can you make bruschetta with canned tomatoes?

Technically, yes, but please don’t! Canned diced tomatoes can never have the same flavor as fresh, ripe tomatoes in today’s tomato bruschetta topping.

Can you make the tomato salad ahead of time?

You can make the tomato salad a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator. If you do, remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to serve so that it can come to room temperature. Also, when making it ahead of time you may want to add the fresh basil after you remove it from the fridge (basil will turn brown when refrigerated).

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Yield: 6 servings

Bruschetta with Tomato

three slices of baguette on a plate with bruschetta piled on top of each one.

Roma tomatoes, red onion, basil, and garlic mingle together to make a fresh, delicious topping for bruschetta, the famous Italian grilled garlic toast appetizer.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • 1 French baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch slices

Instructions

  1. Dice the tomatoes (do not peel) and place in a large shallow bowl with finely chopped red onion and minced garlic. Season with the salt and black pepper.
  2. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (if using) over the tomato mixture and stir gently.
  3. Add the basil and Parmesan cheese, if using, and stir to combine. While you prepare the garlic toast, let the tomato salad rest at room temperature so the flavors can meld.
  4. Use a serrated knife to cut the bread loaf into 1/2-inch thick slices, either straight or on the diagonal for larger slices. Rub each slice of bread with a halved garlic clove, then drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Heat the oven or grill to 400 degrees. Place the bread slices on the hot grill (or on a baking sheet in the oven) and cook until toasted, turning often.
  6. Rub the toasted bread with a halved garlic clove to infuse it with more flavor. Serve the toast alongside the bowl of tomato salad. If desired, garnish the salad with more fresh basil, grated Parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar reduction.

Notes

Original recipe by House of Nash Eats

To make a balsamic reduction: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the balsamic vinegar to cool and thicken.

Leftovers: Bruschetta is best eaten fresh, so only toast the amount of bread you plan to eat at one sitting. However, you may store the tomato salad covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. When ready to serve, remove the tomato salad from the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you toast fresh slices of bread.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 152Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 218mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

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Take a look at all of our 2021 Freaky Friday Summer Edition Recipes:

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Simple Tiramisu
  2. Aunt Bee’s Recipes –Roasted Tomatillo Salsa {Salsa Verde}
  3. Devour Dinner – Pepperoni Bread
  4. Fresh April Flours – Bananas Foster Cake
  5. The Fresh Cooky – Old Fashioned Lemon Squares
  6. Hostess at Heart – Kentucky Butter Cake
  7. House of Nash Eats – Apple Pie Ice Cream
  8. Lemon Blossoms – Strawberry Cake
  9. Lemoine Family Kitchen – Grilled Peach Burrata Arugula Salad
  10. Life, Love & Good Food – Bruschetta with Tomato
  11. Off the Eaten Path – Fresh Garden Salsa
  12. Sue Bee Homemaker – Jalapeño Popper Dip with Bacon
  13. The Speckled Palate – Lemon Zucchini Bread
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My previous Freaky Friday recipes!

sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Home Cook, Wife, Mom, Nana

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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