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This easy bruschetta appetizer is a delicious variation of the traditional tomato-based recipe and it includes BACON, so you know it’s gotta to be good!

You’ll love the vibrant color, bold flavor, and crunchy texture in this Red Pepper and Bacon Bruschetta! Served on crostini and topped with savory Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, it’s the perfect appetizer for summer dinner parties on the patio.

three slices of baguette on a plate topped with red pepper and bacon bruschetta with basil garnish and a jar of Mezzetta roasted red pepper strips in the background.

If you’re searching for an appetizer that compliments everything, this is it. It may well be a sophisticated Italian-inspired recipe, but this simple red pepper bruschetta is equally delicious alongside all-American grilled burgers and barbecue chicken, too!

Not only is this a beautiful dish you’ll be proud to put on your table, roasted red pepper bruschetta literally takes minutes to prepare!

Love Mediterranean flavors? Try my Mediterranean Appetizer Pinwheels or these Italian Nachos — both are crowd pleasers!

ingredients for red pepper and bacon bruschetta on a table.

Key ingredients and substitutions for Roasted Red Pepper Crostini

  • Mezzetta Roasted Red Bell Pepper Strips — These convenient peppers are flame roasted and have the perfect texture for this recipe. You’ll want to pick up an extra jar so you can make my Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade, too!
  • Red onion — Most red onions have a mild, sweet flavor, but sometimes they can be pretty strong. If that’s the case, you can tame them by placing them in a fine mesh strainer and pouring boiling water on top. In place of the red onion, you could also use a finely diced shallot.
  • Bacon — The bacon needs to be cooked crisp and finely chopped. Even when we only need a few slices for breakfast, I usually cook the whole package to have leftovers for recipes like this — and to crumble on top of salads!
  • Garlic — Use 1 or 2 cloves depending on how big your garlic is and how much you like. You can always just toss in a teasspoon of jarred minced garlic if you don’t have fresh on hand.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil — The Mezzetta peppers already have plenty of flavor, so if you only have a light olive oil it will be fine.
  • Sherry vinegar — Sherry vinegar is a great complement to roasted red peppers, but you may also use red wine vinegar.
  • Parmesan cheese — Use the fine grating side of a box grater to freshly grate a block of Parmesan, or even Pecorino Romano cheese.
  • Basil — Fresh herbs really elevate any dish! Luckily we have a big basil plant on our patio! Roll the leaves together and slice across to make a chiffonade cut.
  • Baguette — You’ll slice a French baguette diagonally into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and then toast to make crostini for serving.

How to make Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta

layering roasted red pepper strips with red onion and bacon for bruschetta.

STEP 1 | Drain the peppers and chop ingredients

Drain all the liquid from the jar of roasted red pepper strips and place the peppers right into the serving bowl — no need to dirty up anything else! I leave the peppers in strips, but of course you can give them a rough chop first if you prefer.

Next, chop up the bacon, onions, and mince a garlic clove using your garlic press. Now, give it all a stir to combine.

pouring olive oil over roasted red pepper strips in a white bowl.

STEP 2 | Season and rest

Drizzle equal amounts of extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar over the bruschetta mixture. You’ll want to give it another quick stir to make sure everything is well coated. If you like, add a few grinds of black pepper now, too.

That’s it —the bruschetta is done! Well… almost. Now you let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes (or even up to a half hour) to let all those delicious flavors meld together. Delish!

toasting sliced of baguette for bruschetta.

STEP 3 | Bake crostini

Last step is to prepare the bread for serving. Take a French loaf and slice it into pieces that are no thicker than 1/2 inch. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet.

Drizzle olive oil evenly over the bread then pop it in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. You want the bread to get nice and toasty on both sides.

tips

  • To grill the crostini: Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil, then toast on the grill grates for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden.
  • Sea salt: While the crostini is still warm, adding a sprinkle of sea salt is a nice touch.

a serving dish filled with red pepper and bacon bruschetta with basil garnish and a jar of Mezzetta roasted red pepper strips in the background.

STEP 3 | Garnish and serve

Once the baguette is toasted, add a layer of freshly grated parmesan cheese and garnish the red bell pepper bruschetta with freshly chopped basil leaves — isn’t that so pretty!

Now, watch this yumminess disappear!

Frequently asked questions

Isn’t bruschetta usually made with tomatoes?

Classic bruschetta starts with grilled bread rubbed with fresh garlic and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil. The warm garlic toast is then topped with a tomato and basil salad and is the most popular way to enjoy bruschetta in Italy. However, you may enjoy bruschetta with other toppings, even pesto!

Can I roast my own peppers instead?

The recipe will take a little longer to prepare, but you definitely can roast your own red bell peppers. Grill 2 or 3 peppers over medium heat with the lid closed for about 15 minutes, turning often until the skins are blackened and blistered on all sides.

Then, remove the pepper to a glass bowl and seal tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers steam for a few minutes to make removing the skins a little easier.

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three slices of baguette on a plate topped with red pepper and bacon bruschetta with basil garnish.

Red Pepper and Bacon Bruschetta

You’ll love the vibrant color, bold flavor, and crunchy texture in this Red Pepper and Bacon Bruschetta! 
4.13 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Appetizers
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 151 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 16-oz. jar Mezzetta Roasted Red Bell Pepper Strips drained
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 6 slices bacon cooked crisp and finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil finely chopped
  • 1 14-oz. French baguette sliced and toasted

Instructions
 

  • Drain the jar of roasted red pepper strips and place in a shallow serving dish. Add the red onion, garlic, and bacon, then stir gently to combine.
  • Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the sherry vinegar over the mixture and season with freshly ground black pepper. Let rest for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette into 1/4 inch slices and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Drizzle the slices with the remaining olive oil, then bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown, to make crostini.
  • When ready to serve, layer the parmesan cheese and basil on top of the bruschetta mixture. Serve at room temperature with the toasted pieces of bread.

Video

Notes

  • To grill the crostini: Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil, then toast on the grill grates for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden.
  • Sea salt: While the crostini is still warm, adding a sprinkle of sea salt is a nice touch.
  • To roast your own bell peppers: Grill peppers over medium heat with the lid closed for about 15 minutes, turning often until the skins are blackened and blistered on all sides. Then, remove the pepper to a glass bowl and seal tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers steam for a few minutes to make removing the skins a little easier.

Nutrition

Calories: 151kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 4gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 179mgPotassium: 49mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 79IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword bacon, crostini, easy appetizer, red bell pepper
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

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 Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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