Bruschette is an antipasto (in the US we call these appetizers) that is served before the main dish. Ironically, I find Italian Bruschette quite filling and just a few pieces can put me over the edge of enjoying any more dishes, much less a full pasta meal.
This Bruschette recipe, full of marinated mozzarella balls, thinly sliced tomatoes and red onions uses classic fresh flavors that are easily altered to be more or less depending on your favorite ingredients.
Btw, did you know that Bruschetta is the SINGULAR form? This means when you order Bruschetta you are asking for only one piece of bread versus ordering Bruschette, which is a whole plate.
Just a little bit of Italian for you to think about next time you are in Carrabba’s…..or Rome.
This marinade may seem a little tangy when first whisked, but once the rest of the appetizer ingredients are added, it thins out quite a bit and starts to balance out the flavors.
Whisk the following into a bowl and set aside (at room temp because olive oil solidifies in the fridge).
- 1/4th cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt & black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp lightly dried basil (usually comes in jars) or dried basil
Red onion can be quite overwhelming as an ingredient but really brings something special to this dish so try not to leave it out. One way to remove some of the super flavor of a red onion is to first slice and then soak the onion in cold water for about 30-40 minutes.
Cold water takes out some of the boldness of the red onion and then it can be easily added without overwhelming the rest of the dish. If short on time and cannot soak onions, cut down to bite sized pieces or reduce on each piece of Bruschetta to avoid too much taste.
- 1/2 red onion sliced thin in crescent moons, do not leave them too thick
- 2-3 on-the-vine red tomatoes – sliced thin and then cut again in half
- 8 oz. package of mozzarella pearls
- 1 loaf of Italian bread or Artisan Bread – sliced in about 1.5 inch wide pieces, which should allow you 5-7 slices
- fresh basil leaves
- (optional) fresh shredded Parmesan cheese or Italian cheese mix
Another optional ingredient that goes great in Italian Bruschette is Kalamata Olives. They are very pretty and have a super bold Mediterranean flavor. Simply add them in with the rest of the ingredients into the marinade step if so choosing. if you are unsure what a Kalamata olive is, check out this Roasted Greek Salad.
Need a recipe to complement this dish? Italian Bruschette goes amazing as a pre-courser to Baked Feta Pasta!
Once the vegetables are sliced and prepped, place them all directly into the marinade, leaving bowl on counter at room temperature, for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
After about 30 minutes, move on to toasting bread. I use Italian bread for big thick pieces that hold tons of heavy ingredients. You do not want weak bread here!
Place slices of bread on a baking sheet, drizzle tops lightly with olive oil and place sheet pan in oven to broil on HIGH for about 2-3 minutes.
ABOUT THAT BROILING: My recommendation is never to walk away from broiling bread. It can go wrong quite quickly. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone from not even cooked bread to burned bread by getting distracted. It is not worth opening the phone or heading to the bathroom. Just set the microwave timer and check every minute or so till bread is a light golden brown.
Spoon tomatoes/onion/mozzarella balls generously on 5-7 pieces of bread, reserving some of the olive oil liquid for dipping or drizzling if needed.
Just before serving, sprinkle on fresh basil and a bit of parmesan (if you like) and serve while bread is hot and toasty.
More Mediterranean Recipes
There is no doubt that Greek and Italian food goes down as some of my favorite foods to inhale. If you love them too, here are some other recipe options that I hope you love.
- Heirloom Tomato Salad – gorgeous, just….gorgeous.
- Layered Greek Dip with a Hummus Base
- Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini
- Mediterranean Salmon – goes great as a main dish with a slice of Bruschetta
- Feta Cheese Dip