Tomato bruschetta is crunchy, juicy, garlicky, and perfect as an appetizer, dinner, and brunch. The recipe is simple; you can make it in 10 minutes with a few basic ingredients.
Here we show you how to make Italian tomato bruschetta and a delicious variation with avocado.
Check out our best vegan appetizer recipes collection!
Tomato bruschetta, pronounced "bruˈsketta," is a humble yet incredibly delicious meal made from thick grilled slices of stale bread rubbed with garlic and topped with a mix of good quality olive oil, salt, and tomatoes.
It has become such an iconic Italian dish that these days you'll find bruschetta served during aperitivo in hip neighborhoods around Rome, Florence, and Milan.
If you are lucky to travel around the Italian countryside, you can try it made with homemade sourdough bread toasted on a charcoal grill rubbed with garlic while still warm and topped with cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt.
The combination of these simple ingredients is a match made in heaven.
In this post, we make a classic tomato bruschetta recipe and a more modern version with avocado. However, you can top your bruschetta with pretty much anything you have at hand. See the "variation" chapter below for more ideas.
Choose good bread from your local baker, a big wide loaf made from mainly wheat flour, and even better if made with sourdough. Get one with a compact crumb and a nice crust, and cut slices at least 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) thick.
Avoid packaged toast bread for bruschetta; its texture is too soft and weak. It won't hold your toppings and won't be as satisfying when you bite into it.
Italians usually don't use baguettes for bruschetta; the slices are too small. However, you can make homemade crostini from a baguette and serve them with many different crostini toppings.
To brush on the bread and for the tomato mix.
Extra virgin olive oil
If you can afford it, invest in high-quality extra virgin olive oil. The best oils are generally cold-pressed, but they can get costly.
Vine tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, beef tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes must be ripe but not overripe to have the best flavor. If it's not tomato season, opt for small cherry tomatoes.
If you can, look for a quality stamp that says "Aceto Balsamico di Modena I.G.P." That means the vinegar is made in a protected and specific geographical area around Modena in Italy, following traditional production methods.
Fresh basil is my favorite for this bruschetta. However, you can replace this with dried or fresh oregano.
Salt and black pepper
Required to add flavor to the tomatoes. We recommend sea salt or kosher salt.
(optional) while avocado is not a traditional bruschetta ingredient, we think it makes the bruschetta even more delicious. Try to add some chopped to the tomato mixture.
We use a serrated knife to cut the bread and the tomatoes. This way is easier.
Rinse the tomatoes, dry them, then with a paring knife, remove their stem. Cut the tomatoes into slices with a serrated knife (bread knife). Then cut the tomato slices into small dice of similar size.
If you use cherry or plum tomatoes, cut them into 4 or 8 pieces, depending on how big they are.
Add the diced tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed and peeled garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and basil leaves that you tear apart with your hands.
If the tomatoes release a lot of water, discard some of it.
Mix well with a spoon until all the ingredients are well combined. Taste and, if necessary, adjust the flavor. Let marinate at room temperature for about 10 - 15 minutes.
In the meantime, slice the bread into 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) thick slices. Toast the bread in the oven - preferably with the broiler function - until golden and crunchy.
You can also toast the bread on a grill or grill pan.
At this stage, if you want, add the avocado. Cut in half, remove the stone, cut it into dice and scoop out the flesh. Then add it to the tomatoes and mix it with a spoon gently.
Put the toasted bread on a cutting board or serving plate, rub it with garlic while still warm, then put some tomato mix on top with a spoon. Add some juice too to moisten the toasted bread.
If you want to make white bruschetta, you need to rub the toasted bread with some garlic and add some good quality extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
Use the right tomatoes
During tomato season - from May to October in the northern hemisphere - try to get your hands on organic red ripe tomatoes from sunny regions. In winter, opt for small cherry or date tomatoes.
Keep the tomatoes out of the refrigerator
Eat raw tomatoes at room temperature for the best flavor. When you eat your tomatoes cold, they won't taste as much.
Marinate the tomatoes
Marinating your tomato mix is important to get a fuller flavor. The garlic will infuse your mixture without overpowering it, and the tomatoes will absorb some of the salt and vinegar to enhance their taste. You only need 15 minutes at room temperature for this.
Drain off excess tomato water
If your tomatoes are watery (and if you buy them at the supermarket, they will be watery), remove at least half of their water, or else your bruschetta with tomatoes will be too wet. On the other hand, you want to leave some of the water as it is full of taste and will help soften the bread.
Rub with garlic
Rub the garlic on the bread while still hot. The heat will help the garlic aroma infuse into the bread crumb's little cracks. It will taste so much better than just adding garlic to your toppings.
It's pronounced broo-sketta, not bruh·sheh·tuh!
Yes, if made with healthy plant-based ingredients. For example, making it with artisan sourdough bread, tomatoes, good olive oil, sea salt, and garlic is a healthy meal.
Yes. But you should assemble it last minute. Slice the bread and prep the tomato mix (or any other topping) ahead of time. Then when your guests arrive, toast the bread and top it up with your tomato mix.
No. Bruschetta with tomatoes cannot be frozen.
You can top the bruschetta with almost any vegetable. The most important thing is that you season or cook the vegetable first. Here are some of the best bruschetta recipes:
- Sautéed mushrooms: in a pan, sauté some chopped mushrooms with a tablespoon of olive oil and a clove of garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley.
- Red peppers: roast whole red peppers in the oven for 1 hour. Peel and clean them, then marinate them for 15 min in olive oil, vinegar, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, and fresh basil.
- Eggplant bruschetta: eggplant is perfectly paired with toasted bread. Try air fried, oven-roasted, eggplant dip, or grilled.
- Avocado mash: make guacamole or avocado spread, or mash avocado with a fork, then add olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of cilantro-lime dressing on top
- Cauliflower mash: steam or boil the cauliflower, then mash it with a fork in a bowl. Then add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, finely chopped parsley, and a clove of crushed garlic. Mix with a spoon and let marinate for 15 min.
- Chickpea tomato mix: add drained and rinsed chickpeas to the tomato mix described above. Chop red onion and add to the mix for extra crunch.
- Air fryer asparagus: ready in just 15 mins; add a drizzle of chili oil on top and serve with your bread.
- Sautéed spinach: in a pan, warm up a tablespoon of olive oil with a crushed clove of garlic. Then add the spinach and sauté until the spinach water has evaporated. Add salt, pepper, and some chili flakes.
- Any type of hummus: classic chickpea hummus, red pepper hummus, white bean dip. Rub the bread with garlic for the best hummus bruschetta, then drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
- Make it cheesy: with our melted vegan cheese ready in 5 minutes. You can also spread the bread with vegan ricotta or tofu cream cheese for a creamy addition to the tomatoes.
In Italy, bruschetta is usually served as an appetizer and, more recently, as an aperitivo before dinner.
But you can easily enjoy it as a main meal in the evening next to a big salad or a source of protein. Here are some of our favorite pairings:
- Chickpea salad with fresh veggies
- Vegan fish with Italian herbs
- Easy chickpea farinata
- Mushroom tofu
- 15-minute lemon tofu
- Vegan Frittata with zucchini or asparagus
More bread recipes
If you love crusty and bready recipes, take a look at these bread recipes:
- Crostini with 11 topping ideas
- Air fryer croutons
- Homemade croutons with herbs
- No-knead focaccia with an overnight option
- Flatbread pizza 4 different ways
- Zucchini focaccia
Or try any of our vegan Italian recipes to find your next meal.
Enjoy this tomato bruschetta as soon as it's ready to preserve its fragrance and crunch.
You can store the toppings in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container. You can also keep the bread in a bread basket for up to a week before turning it into bruschetta.
Farmers prepared bruschetta with stale bread in the past, so don't worry if your bread is a bit dry. It will regain crunch and moisture once you warm it up and add some toppings.
For many more starter ideas, check out our starters category page.
- 18 ounces bread slices 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) thick.
- 18 ounces tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic
- 15 leaves basil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 avocado optional
- Rinse the tomatoes, dry them, then with a paring knife remove their stem. With a serrated knife (bread knife) cut the tomatoes into slices. Then cut the tomato slices into small dice of similar size.If you use cherry or plum tomatoes, cut them into 4 or 8 pieces, depending on how big they are.
- In a bowl, add the diced tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 crushed and peeled garlic clove, salt, pepper, and basil leaves that you tear apart with your hands.If the tomatoes release a lot of water, discard some of it.
- Mix well with a spoon until all the ingredients are well combined together. Taste and if necessary adjust flavour. Let marinate at room temperature for about 10 - 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, slice the bread into 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) thick slices. Toast the bread in the oven - preferably with grill function - until golden and crunchy.If the edges of the bread get dark and burned, scrap away that part with a knife as it is very unhealthy to eat.If you have a charcoal grill, go ahead and toast your bread there. Your bruschetta will be even tastier.
- At this stage, if you want, add the avocado. Cut in half, remove the stone, cut it into dice and scoop out the flesh. Then add it to the tomatoes and mix it with a spoon, gently.
- Put the toasted bread on a cutting board or serving plate, rub it with garlic while still warm, then with a spoon put some tomato mix on top. Add some juice too to moisten the toasted bread.
- If you want to make white bruschetta rub the toasted bread with some garlic, then add some good quality extra virgin olive oil and sea salt on top.
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