Simple Mozzarella Bruschetta (Caprese Bruschetta)

5 from 5 votes
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This mozzarella bruschetta is inspired by Caprese salad, combining tomato bruschetta with mozzarella over garlic-infused toasted bread for a simple, fresh, and delicious tomato, basil, mozzarella appetizer to impress this summer!

Three bruschetta with mozzarella and basil

I’ve already shared my version of a traditional Italian tomato bruschetta. Now I’m adding a cheesy twist for this mozzarella bruschetta inspired by a Caprese salad (aka Caprese bruschetta or bruschetta alla Caprese). This simple tomato basil mozzarella appetizer combines simple flavors for a dish that can be enjoyed raw or broiled for gooey melty cheese.

I’m all about appreciating fresh, simple tomato dishes at the moment – especially as we come to the warmer months. I’ve recently shared recipes for tomato cucumber salad, gazpacho, pan con tomate, labneh topped with roasted cherry tomatoes, and even tomato juice (which I used to make up a large pitcher of virgin bloody mary mix!). 

Hand holding a mozzarella bruschetta

As a pizza lover, this bruschetta with mozzarella and basil is like a healthy pizza appetizer – you won’t see me complain about that (and it’s even lighter and fresher than these zucchini pizza bites)! Even better, this Caprese bruschetta can be made gluten-free (just swap out the bread) and/or vegan (swap out the cheese). Either way, it always packs a ton of flavor!

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The Ingredients

  • Tomatoes: use fresh, ripe, high-quality tomatoes for the best results, like heirloom and Roma tomatoes. 
  • Mozzarella: use high-quality mozzarella (soft, not hard), or make your own. You could also use bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls). For a vegan mozzarella bruschetta, you can use homemade vegan mozzarella
  • Basil: make sure to use fresh basil, even better if you have a plant at home so you can pick it just before serving. 
  • Bread: there are several types of bread you can use whether you want larger or smaller portions (like tomato crostini): french baguette, rustic bread loaves (particularly Italian), sourdough, ciabatta, etc. 
  • Olive oil: use high-quality extra virgin olive oil. You could alternatively use garlic-infused olive oil to avoid having to rub the bread with garlic manually. 
  • Aromatics: I used a combination of fresh garlic (adjust the amount to personal preference), salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar or glaze (optional but adds an extra dimension of flavor and tang).
Ingredients for mozzarella tomato bruschetta

Optional Add-ins & Variations

  • Red Onion: this is 100% optional, especially as raw onion can be pretty pungent. However, I like the addition of very finely diced red onion (on occasion). 
  • Other tomatoes: whether it’s not tomato season or you’re just in the mood for something different, you can substitute the fresh tomato for canned whole tomatoes (drain the juice and then chop the tomatoes) or roasted tomatoes (I like to use roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted on the vine to help them hold their shape better). 
  • For spice: you could add a finely chopped chili to the tomato mozzarella bruschetta. Alternatively, add a pinch of chili flakes to the top of the bruschetta with the mozzarella and balsamic. 
  • Pesto: the combination of fresh Italian-style pesto with mozzarella, tomato, and basil is a match made in heaven! Lightly spread the pesto over the toast before adding the tomato and cheese. Alternatively, drizzle a little over the ready bruschetta. 
  • Other cheese: swap out the mozzarella for goat cheese or feta instead or use a spread of ricotta/cream cheese below the tomato mixture. If you’re serving this tomato basil mozzarella appetizer at a cookout/BBQ, I highly recommend using a little grilled halloumi.
  • Avocado: maybe it’s the avo toast lover in me but adding finely diced avocado to this bruschetta with cheese is one of my favorite variations. Plus, it’s an excellent option for vegan guests if you don’t have dairy-free cheese. Just make sure to soak it in a bit of lemon juice to keep it nice and green!

How to Make Bruschetta with Mozzarella

Step 1: Toast the bread

If your bread isn’t pre-sliced, first slice it around ¼-½” thick. 

Brush the bread lightly with a little oil and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 450ºF/230ºC, until the edges start to darken. The time will depend on how toasted you like the bread and your specific oven. 

You could alternatively broil the bread or omit the oil for now and use a toaster oven. Traditionally, bruschetta bread is grilled (BBQed), so, weather permitting, feel free to do that instead.

Before and after toasting bread in the oven

Step 2: Infuse the toast with garlic

Rub the fresh garlic over the toasted bread. You can adjust how much you add to your personal preference. I use almost an entire clove per piece of bread, rubbing it on both sides for plenty of flavor.

Rubbing toasted bread with garlic

Step 3: Prepare the remaining ingredients

Using a sharp knife or mandoline, carefully and evenly slice the tomatoes and mozzarella (around 0.5 cm/0.2 inches in thickness). You can chop the tomatoes into large whole slices or dice them into tiny pieces. 

If you’re dicing the tomatoes, then feel free to scoop out the seeds to stop your Caprese bruschetta from becoming ‘soggy’ too quickly.

Sliced tomato and mozzarella

Step 4: Assemble the tomato mozzarella bruschetta

There are several ways you can assemble this tomato bruschetta with mozzarella and balsamic. For Caprese bruschetta, layer the sliced ingredients on your bread and sprinkle with ribboned basil or layers of basil (pictured below).

Holding a mozzarella crostino

Alternatively, if you’ve finely diced your tomato, you can place a large slice of mozzarella and a couple of basil leaves on top of the diced tomatoes. You can then enjoy immediately or optionally broil the toast. Alternatively, finely dice the mozzarella too for every element in each bite. 

To broil/grill: Place the tomato mozzarella bruschetta on a large tray. Place under the broiler until the mozzarella begins to soften and brown on top. This will cause the cheese to melt slightly, but as it also heats the tomato, it can cause the bread to become a little soggy. Only do this if you plan on eating the mozzarella bruschetta immediately.

Mozzarella bruschetta topped with pepper

How to Make Ahead and Store

To make ahead: prepare the toppings up to a day in advance (without the basil) and then assemble just before serving. I recommend toasting the bread freshly before serving and straining any liquid from the tomatoes before using. 

Fridge: Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator (covered) for 1-2 days – then strain the liquid before using it. However, the fresher, the better when it comes to this tomato bruschetta recipe with mozzarella. 

Freezer: I don’t recommend freezing any leftover Mozzarella bruschetta to use fresh again. However, you could freeze it to use within pasta dishes and other hot, cooked dishes. Freeze for between 1-2 months in an airtight container and thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Mozzarella bruschetta with a bitten off piece

Recipe Notes & Variations

  • Allow the tomato to marinate: if you dice the tomato, then allow them to marinate in a little oil with the seasonings, ribboned basil, and optionally a drop of balsamic. I recommend 30 minutes minimum to allow the ingredients to meld; 60 for the best results. 
  • Removing the tomato seeds: this is especially important if you plan on dicing the tomatoes. While it’s not 100% necessary, the watery seedy part of the tomato will make your toast go soggier quicker. For that reason, I recommend chopping the tomato in half and scooping out the seeds with a spoon. 
  • Use day-old bread: rather than confining that bread to a life of croutons or breadcrumbs, day-old bread is also perfect for tomato bruschetta with mozzarella. It won’t get soggy as quickly but isn’t so crunchy that it’s unpleasant to eat. 
  • The tomato size: if you plan to slice the tomatoes only, then use tomatoes that fit the size of your bread. That seems simple enough but worth mentioning. 
  • Use authentic Italian ingredients: Okay, this isn’t necessary, but using Italian olive oil and balsamic can give you that authentic Caprese experience. Look out for PDO or PGI seals on the bottles. 
  • Serving to a crowd? Avoid soggy mozzarella bruschetta by creating a “bruschetta with mozzarella station” – place the toasted bread slices on a large platter next to bowls filled with the tomato mozzarella diced mixture or sliced tomatoes and sliced mozzarella. Add a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic to the table, too, for people to drizzle over their creations!
  • The garlic: instead of brushing each toast with garlic, you could finely mince the garlic and add it to the tomato mixture to marinate. 
Three bruschettas with mozzarella

More Tomato and Cheese Recipes

If you try this mozzarella bruschetta recipe (Caprese bruschetta), 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!

Simple Mozzarella Bruschetta (Caprese Bruschetta)

5 from 5 votes
By: Samira
This mozzarella bruschetta is inspired by Caprese salad, combining tomato bruschetta with mozzarella over garlic-infused toasted bread for a simple, fresh, and delicious tomato, basil, mozzarella appetizer to impress this summer!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 slices of bread french baguette, rustic Italian loaf, sourdough, ciabatta, etc.
  • 2 tomatoes Roma or heirloom, in-season; cherry tomatoes would also work
  • 4.4 oz mozzarella cheese dairy or dairy-free, fresh, soft
  • 1 tsp olive oil extra virgin, Italian if possible
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • 6-8 basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze

Instructions 

Step 1: Toast the bread

  • If your bread isn’t pre-sliced, slice it around ¼-½ inch thick.
  • Brush the bread lightly with a little oil and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 450ºF/230ºC, until the edges start to darken – the time will depend on how toasted/hard you like the bread and your specific oven.
    You could alternatively broil the bread or omit the oil for now and use a toaster oven. Traditionally, bruschetta bread is grilled (BBQed), so, weather permitting, feel free to do that instead.

Step 2: Infuse the toast with garlic

  • Rub the fresh garlic over the toasted bread. You can adjust how much you add to your personal preference. I use almost an entire clove per piece of bread, rubbing it on both sides for plenty of flavor.

Step 3: Prepare the remaining ingredients

  • Using a sharp knife or mandoline, carefully and evenly slice the tomatoes and mozzarella (I like to cut them around 0.5 cm/0.2 inches in thickness. You can chop the tomatoes are large whole slices or dice them into tiny pieces.
    If you’re dicing the tomatoes, then feel free to scoop out the seeds to stop your Caprese bruschetta from becoming ‘soggy’ too quickly.

Step 4: Assemble the tomato mozzarella bruschetta

  • There are several ways you can assemble this tomato mozzarella bruschetta.
    For Caprese bruschetta, layer the sliced ingredients on your bread and sprinkle with ribboned basil (pictured above).
  • Alternatively, if you’ve finely diced your tomato, you can place a large slice of mozzarella on the top and a couple of basil leaves. You can then enjoy immediately or optionally broil the toast.
    OR, finely dice the mozzarella too for every element in each bite.
  • To broil/grill (optional): Place the tomato mozzarella bruschetta on a large tray under the broiler until the mozzarella begins to soften and brown on top. This will cause the cheese to melt slightly, but as it also heats the tomato, it can cause the bread to become a little soggy – so only do this if you plan on eating the mozzarella bruschetta immediately.

How to Make Ahead and Store

  • To make ahead: Prepare the toppings up to a day in advance (without the basil) and then assemble just before serving. I recommend toasting the bread freshly before serving and straining any liquid from the tomatoes before using.
    Fridge: Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator (covered) for 1-2 days – then strain the liquid before using it. However, the fresher, the better when it comes to this tomato bruschetta recipe with mozzarella.
    Freezer: I don’t recommend freezing any leftover Mozzarella bruschetta to use fresh again. However, you could freeze it to use within pasta dishes and other hot, cooked dishes. Freeze for between 1-2 months in an airtight container and thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Notes

Optional Add-ins & Variations: 
  • Red Onion: This is 100% optional, especially as raw onion can be pretty pungent. However, I like the addition of very finely diced red onion (on occasion). 
  • Other tomatoes: Whether it’s not tomato season or you’re just in the mood for something different, you can substitute the fresh tomato for canned whole tomatoes (drain the juice and then chop the tomatoes) or roasted tomatoes (I like to use roasted cherry tomatoes roasted on the vine to help them hold their shape better). 
  • For spice: You could add a finely chopped chili to the tomato mozzarella bruschetta. Alternatively, add a pinch of chili flakes to the top of the bruschetta with mozzarella -balsamic. 
  • Pesto: The combination of fresh Italian-style pesto with mozzarella, tomato, and basil is a match made in heaven! Lightly spread it over the toast before adding the tomato and cheese or drizzle a little over the top of the toast. 
  • Other cheese: Swap out the mozzarella for goat cheese or feta instead or use a spread of ricotta/ cream cheese below the tomato mixture. If you’re serving this tomato basil mozzarella appetizer at a cookout/BBQ, I highly recommend using a little grilled halloumi.
  • Avocado: Maybe it’s the avo toast lover in me but adding finely diced avocado to this bruschetta with cheese is one of my favorite variations. Plus, it’s an excellent option for vegan guests if you don’t have dairy-free cheese. Just make sure to soak it in a bit of lemon juice to keep it nice and green!

Recipe Notes & Variations
  • Allow the tomato to marinate: If you dice the tomato, then allow them to marinate in a little oil with the seasonings, ribboned basil, and optionally a drop of balsamic. I recommend 30 minutes minimum to allow the ingredients to meld;  60 for the best results. 
  • Removing the tomato seeds: This is especially important if you plan on dicing the tomatoes. While it’s not 100% necessary, the watery seedy part of the tomato will make your toast go soggier quicker as the bruschetta will be ‘runny.’ For that reason, I recommend chopping the tomato in half and scooping out the seeds with a spoon. 
  • Use day-old bread: Rather than confining that bread to a life of croutons or breadcrumbs, day-old bread is also perfect for tomato bruschetta with mozzarella -balsamic. It won’t get soggy as quickly but isn’t so crunchy that it’s unpleasant to eat. 
  • The tomato size: If you plan to slice the tomatoes only, then use tomatoes that fit the size of your bread. That seems simple enough but worth mentioning. 
  • Use authentic Italian ingredients: Okay, this isn’t necessary, but using Italian olive oil and balsamic can give you that authentic Caprese experience. Look out for PDO or PGI seals on the bottles. 
  • Serving to a crowd? Avoid soggy mozzarella bruschetta by creating a ‘bruschetta with mozzarella station’ – place the toasted bread slices on a large platter next to bowls filled with the tomato mozzarella diced mixture or sliced tomatoes and sliced mozzarella. Add a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic to the table, too, for people to drizzle over their creations!
  • The garlic: Instead of brushing each toast with garlic, you could finely mince the garlic and add it to the tomato mixture to marinate.
Course: Appetizer, Side, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 1-2 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 363kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 950mg, Potassium: 418mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1511IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 389mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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