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!
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.
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.