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Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Tomato Basil Bruschetta is a quick and easy classic Italian appetizer or snack that’s bursting with super fresh summer flavors (but you can actually enjoy it all year round)!

I love summer not just for the beautiful warm and sunny weather, but also for the awesome fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs that come along with it. Vine-ripened tomatoes and freshly picked basil are tops on my list of favorite summer eats.

This bruschetta is a perfect way to enjoy them!

Up here in the Northeast, we just started our summer garden a few short weeks ago. We have 12 tomato plants! I’ve already got some little yellow flowers that will soon be beautiful tomatoes. I can’t wait! I also have some basil in a pot right outside my kitchen door.

If everything goes well, I am going to have more tomatoes than I’ve ever had! Good thing I have lots of recipes that use tomatoes!

This Tomato Basil Bruschetta is one of my all-time favorites that I’ve been making forever. When summer comes, I can’t get enough of it!

two pieces of bruschetta with a bowl of tomato basil topping and extra toast pieces in the background

FUN FACTS:

Did you know that “bruschetta” is actually just grilled or toasted bread that’s rubbed with garlic (holy YUM!), drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt (Italians so know how to eat good!)?

The toppings are a bonus! The most popular topping and the one we all probably think of when we think of bruschetta is a tomato basil topping.

Oh, and did you also know that the correct way to say bruschetta is bru-sket-a (with a hard K) and not bru-shet-a? Yep, I’ve been saying it wrong all these years. How about you?

grape tomatoes and fresh basil

This is one of those recipes that has just a few simple, basic ingredients but is so delicious and full of flavor – which means that you need the best ingredients you can get your hands on!

Fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes from your garden or the farmers’ market are the way to go when summer hits! I love using grape or cherry tomatoes because they are always so sweet – but any kind of tomato will do.

And fresh basil is a MUST! Dried basil – although good for many recipes – will leave you very disappointed here. No substitutions, please!

And even though in-season summer tomatoes are the best, you CAN absolutely enjoy this bruschetta all year long! Sweet and tasty grape tomatoes are always easy to find in the grocery store – even in the winter – and you can also usually find some fresh basil there too (or, hey, you can just grow some yourself in a little pot in your kitchen – it’s easy to grow!).

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • Fresh tomatoes (I like to use grape or cherry tomatoes)
  • Sweet onion
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Baguette or other bread
  • Garlic

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE TOMATO BASIL BRUSCHETTA:

three images showing steps to make tomato basil bruschetta
two images showing steps to make tomato basil bruschetta

If you use tomatoes that have a lot of seeds, scoop out the seeds before you chop the tomatoes. This is another reason I like to use grape or cherry tomatoes. They don’t usually have too many seeds, so I can just quickly chop them up.

For the bread, I like to use a baguette or a long, thin loaf of ciabatta so that the slices of bread are not too big (like no more than about 3 inches).

Grilling is my preferred method to toast up the bread, especially if I am serving this to guests. It toasts up the bread nicely, and you get those pretty marks.

But, if I’m not grilling anything else, I usually just pull out my handy-dandy grill pan. You can also just toast the bread in a pan or under the broiler (a toaster probably isn’t the best choice here since the pieces of bread are so small).

bowl of tomato basil bruschetta topping with pieced of grilled bread on the side and one piece of grilled bread topped with the tomato topping

This bruschetta is best the day you make it so it’s super fresh, although leftovers will last a day or two in the refrigerator (the tomatoes will get a lot softer, and the basil may get dark).

I also think it’s best when it’s served at room temperature rather than cold. If you’re making the topping way ahead of time, keep it in the refrigerator and then take it out and let it come to room temperature before serving.

When I serve this for a party or picnic appetizer or snack, I put the tomato basil topping in a bowl with a spoon and put the grilled pieces of bread rubbed with garlic in a basket on the side or I pile them up on a board or tray around the bowl of topping. This way, everyone can top their bread themselves.

The one thing you don’t want to do is top the bread ahead of time. If you’re doing a sit-down dinner where you’d rather just serve a few pieces to each person, top the bread right before you serve it. Topping the bread too far in advance will result in soggy bread. You want that bread to be nice and toasty!

close up someone holding a piece of bruschetta with a bowl of tomato topping and slices of grilled bread in the background

For a delicious variation, you can make this a Caprese-style bruschetta by adding some diced fresh mozzarella cheese to the tomato topping right before you serve it. YUM!

AND the tomato basil topping is also really good served over grilled chicken or pork chops!

I hope you try this recipe for Tomato Basil Bruschetta and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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2 pieces of tomato basil bruschetta on a wooden cutting board with extra toasted bread in the background

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Tomato Basil Bruschetta is a quick and easy classic Italian appetizer or snack that's bursting with super fresh summer flavors (but you can actually enjoy it all year round)!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12 pieces
Estimated Calories: 80

Ingredients

TOMATO TOPPING:

  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (I use 1 pint of grape tomatoes, quartered)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (regular or extra virgin)
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

BREAD:

  • 12 slices French baguette or other thin bread (½-inch thick slices)
  • 1 clove garlic, halved

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine all of the tomato topping ingredients (tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper). Cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • While the topping is sitting, grill or toast the bread on both sides. Rub each piece of bread with the cut side of the garlic clove.
  • Divide the topping evenly among the toasted slices of bread using a slotted spoon. Serve immediately. If you are not serving immediately or would like to put this out for a party, don't top the bread with the tomato topping. Instead, put the toasted bread slices on a tray or in a basket next to the bowl of topping with a slotted spoon and let everyone top their own bread. This will prevent the bread from getting soggy.

Notes

  • If you use larger tomatoes that have a lot of seeds, scoop out the seeds before dicing the tomatoes. 
  • This is best served at room temperature rather than cold, and it is best served fresh the day you make it. Leftover topping will last in the refrigerator for a day or two, but the tomatoes will get soft, and the basil will get dark. 
  • Variation: For a Caprese-style bruschetta, add some diced fresh mozzarella cheese to the tomato basil topping.
  • The tomato basil topping is excellent served over grilled chicken or pork chops.
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