This Italian bruschetta recipe with tomatoes combines a fresh tomato and basil topping over garlic-rubbed toast for a simple and delicious summer appetizer or snack. Even better, this tomato bruschetta recipe requires just 5 ingredients, 30 minutes, and is naturally vegan, and can be gluten-free, too!
Along with a fresh Caprese salad, tabbouleh, and tomato and cucumber salad, I can’t think of a dish more perfect for enjoying the summer bounty of ripe tomatoes than this Italian bruschetta recipe. This tomato bruschetta appetizer combines just a few simple ingredients. This includes tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper – for a quick and flavor-packed treat!
Whether you have guests arriving or just want a quick and nutritious snack, this homemade bruschetta requires just minutes of hands-on prep. Then just let it marinate for 30-minutes before it’s ready to serve up!
Summer is all about getting out in the open air with friends and family. So this tomato basil bruschetta is definitely part of my list of cookout and garden party appetizers. I love adding it alongside a selection of dips and crudites like labneh with roasted tomatoes, spinach yogurt dip (borani), and creamy hummus!
What is bruschetta?
Bruschetta (the correct pronunciation is brus-ketta, not broosh-etta) is a traditional Italian antipasto dish. It is made up of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and then garnished with a selection of toppings. The most popular is tomato with olive oil, basil, and salt & pepper.
Classic bruschetta was actually a way for the poor to bring life back to stale bread in a low-cost way. Thus, it was often enjoyed simply with garlic, oil, salt, and pepper.
Nowadays, there are all sorts of toppings to choose from: mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, etc. For this easy bruschetta recipe, I’ll be using a simple combination of tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and the seasonings. Tomato bruschetta is actually an ‘Americanized’ version of the classic Italian bruschetta. I also have a version of Caprese bruschetta with mozzarella.
Interestingly, different Italian regions have their own versions of bruschetta, whether it’s adding ham, sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. So feel free to experiment! However, this naturally vegan bruchetta relies on just 5 simple ingredients (plus salt and pepper)!
The Tomato Bruschetta Ingredients
- Tomatoes: I love using large ripe beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes. But you can use whatever you have in at hand. Make sure they are at room temperature before you start this recipe.
Best Tomatoes for Bruschetta
The best tomatoes for bruschetta are fresh, flavorful, and ripe. They can be high-quality vine-ripened heirlooms, beefsteak, or Roma tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes also work. Kumato tomatoes are great off-season.
- Basil: make sure to use fresh basil leaves. It’s even better if you have a plant at home so you can pick the leaves just before serving.
- Bread: there are several types of best bread for bruschetta. Whether you want larger or smaller portions (like tomato crostini), you can choose from French baguette, rustic bread loaves, sourdough, ciabatta, etc. Use gluten-free bread if needed. Day-old bread will work perfectly for this Italian bruschetta recipe, too!
- Olive oil: use high-quality extra virgin olive oil (if possible of Italian origin for the most authentic flavor). You could alternatively use garlic-infused olive oil to avoid having to rub the bread with garlic manually.
- Garlic: plenty of fresh garlic is needed for this Italian bruschetta recipe. Feel free to adjust the amount to personal preference.
- Salt and pepper: Season to taste.
How to Make Bruschetta with Tomatoes
Learning how to make the best bruschetta recipe with tomato and basil is quick and easy. There are just a few simple steps to follow and it takes about 15 minutes.
How to Cut Tomatoes for Bruschetta?
First, finely dice the tomatoes and combine them with the oil, salt, pepper, and ribboned (or finely chopped) basil.
For a super easy bruschetta – use a mandoline/knife to evenly slice the tomatoes instead of dicing them.
Allow the mixture to marinate for 20-30 minutes. This will allow all the flavors to meld.
Optionally, before dicing the tomato, chop them in half and scoop out the watery seeds and flesh. This will allow you to create a tomato bruschetta topping that isn’t as “wet” and won’t make the toast soggy quickly.
How to Toast Bread for Bruschetta?
First, slice the bread of your choice into thin slices – around ½ inch in thickness. Then lightly brush each slice with olive oil.
To toast a large batch of slices, I like to toast them in the oven. It takes about 5-7 minutes at 450ºF/230ºC until the edges start to darken. Or until they achieve your preferred toastiness.
Alternatively, use your broiler, making sure to flip the bread over after 2-3 minutes. Traditionally, bruschetta is actually grilled. So if you’re able to, feel free to grill the bread for a few minutes per side until adequately toasted.
Infuse the toast with garlic
Using a garlic clove, rub it over the toasted bread slices (both sides) until well coated. While the bread is warm, the garlic practically melts into it. Feel free to adjust the amount you use to personal preference (I use 1 clove per toast almost).
Alternatively, skip this step and add minced garlic to the tomato bruschetta mixture in step 1.
Assemble the Italian bruschetta with tomatoes
If you have tomato slices, arrange them over the bread. Then drizzle a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and some freshly chopped basil.
For the chopped tomato, spoon over some of the tomato mixture on each bread slice. Then, optionally, top with a little additional olive oil or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or glaze. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Unless you know that everyone will be enjoying the tomato bruschetta toast immediately, then I actually recommend serving the appetizer deconstructed.
Pile up the toasted bread on a large platter and have a large bowl of tomato topping beside it. Optionally, keep the bottle of extra virgin olive oil (and some balsamic) on the table for people to drizzle over the prepared toast if wanted.
There’s no need to blanch the tomatoes unless you prefer them to be skinless. If you want to blanch and peel the tomatoes, first cut a small “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Then place them in boiling water for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and cool until they’re just cool enough to handle and peel off the skins. Don’t allow them to cool too much, or the peel will become harder to remove.
You sure can, and there’s no need to de-seed them either. When using cherry tomatoes, I simply halve or quarter the tomatoes and allow them to marinate with the ingredients.
More Healthy Summer Appetizers
- Pan Con Tomate (Tomato Bread)
- Crispy Fried Squash
- Lettuce Wraps Recipe
- How to Make Parmesan Crisps
- How To Make Crostini (Tips + Toppings)
If you try this homemade Italian bruschetta recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Best Bruschetta Recipe
Check the recipe notes for lots of optional add-ins!!
Step 1: Prepare the tomato bruschetta topping
- Finely dice the tomatoes and combine them with the oil, salt, pepper, and ribboned (or finely chopped) basil.For a super easy bruschetta – use a mandoline or sharp knife to evenly slice the tomatoes instead of removing the seeds and dicing them.
- Allow the mixture to marinate for 20-30 minutes. This will allow all the flavors to meld.Optionally, before dicing the tomato, simply chop them in half and scoop out the watery seeds and flesh from the middle. This will allow you to create a tomato bruschetta that isn’t as ‘wet’ and won’t make the toast soggy as quickly.
Step 2: Prepare the bread
- Slice the bread of your choice to around ½-inch in thickness. Then lightly brush each slice with olive oil.
- To toast a large batch of slices, I like to toast them in the oven for between 5-7 minutes at 450ºF/230ºC, until the edges start to darken – or until they achieve your preferred toastiness.Alternatively, use your broiler, making sure to flip the bread over after 2-3 minutes. Traditionally, bruschetta is actually grilled – so if you’re able to, feel free to grill the bread for a few minutes per side until adequately toasted.
Step 3: Infuse the toast with garlic
- Using a garlic clove, rub it over the toasted bread slices (both sides) until well coated. While the bread is warm, the garlic practically melts into it. Feel free to adjust the amount you use to personal preference (I use 1 clove per toast almost).Alternatively, you can skip this step and add minced garlic to the tomato bruschetta mixture in step 1 (allowing it to marinate).
Step 4: Assemble the Italian bruschetta with tomatoes
- If you have tomato slices, arrange them over the bread and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and some freshly chopped basil.For the diced tomato, spoon over some of the topping on each bread slice and then, optionally, top with a little additional olive oil or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or glaze. Serve immediately and enjoy!
How to Make Ahead and Store
- Make ahead: While this homemade bruschetta tastes best with 30-60 minutes of marinating time, don’t allow it to sit for too long as it will become watery. I recommend only making the tomato bruschetta topping up to a day in advance (minus the basil) and then drain any juices (and add the basil) before serving.Fridge: Any topping leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator (covered) for 1-2 days – then strain the liquid before using it. Topped bread should be eaten as soon as possible, or else it will go soggy from the tomatoes.Freezer: I only recommend freezing the tomato leftovers if you plan to use them within sauces and cooked dishes as their texture changes upon thawing. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
- Balsamic: You can use balsamic vinegar or glaze (which is thicker and sweeter) to drizzle over the prepared homemade bruschetta for extra flavor. If possible, try to source Italian balsamic for truly delicious balsamic bruschetta.
- Other vegetables: Finely diced red onion or bell peppers would both work.
- For spice: You could add a finely chopped chili or a pinch of chili flakes to the tomato bruschetta mixture.
- Pesto: For the best bruschetta with pesto, I recommend an authentic Italian pesto for the best flavor – lightly spread over the toasted bread.
- Avocado: Finely diced or sliced and soaked in a little lemon juice to keep the pieces nice and green- avocado bruschetta is a fave of mine!
- Olives: You can make a simple bruschetta with olives using thinly sliced kalamata olives (green, black, or a combination).
- Capers: Can help to give the Italian bruschetta a kick of tangy flavor.
- Oregano: A little sprinkle of oregano over the assembled tomato toast can really help to finish off the dish. You could even substitute the basil entirely for oregano.
- Labneh: Labneh lies somewhere between cream cheese and Greek yogurt but can be slathered over the toast before the tomato mixture for a creamy, delicious treat.
- To grill the bread: This is fairly straightforward; place the bread slices on the grill and cook until golden-brown with some light char marks. This should only take 3-4 minutes per side.
- Don’t forget to marinate: Just 30 minutes of marinating time will allow the tomatoes to soak up all the delicious flavors and meld everything together. So don’t skip this step, please!
- To chiffonade the basil: Stack a few basil leaves on top of one another and then roll them up like a cigar. Then, using a sharp knife, make thin slices – avoid dulled blades which can bruise the basil and cause it to wilt quicker.
- Don’t skip the olive oil: The olive oil on the toasted bread will actually help to create a kind of ‘barrier’ to stop the tomato mixture from making the bread soggy too quickly.
- To use the leftovers: If you don’t want tomato bruschetta two days in a row, I recommend spooning some over the protein of your choice. For me, it’s this crispy tofu – delicious!