This easy bruschetta recipe combines toasted baguette slices with a tomato, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil topping. The resulting tomato bruschetta is flavorful, fresh, and perfect for serving as a vegan snack or appetizer!
Fresh and Flavorful Basil and Tomato Bruschetta
Last week I posted a recipe for a homemade gluten-free baguette, and I couldn’t get this bruschetta out of my head, so, as the bread was beginning to go a little stale, that’s exactly what I did with it. Yes, bruschetta may traditionally be served as a cold antipasto during the warmer months, but I’ll never say no to fresh, ripe tomatoes and warm homemade bread – no matter what time of the year!
In fact, the next time you’re in the mood for a healthy snack, ditch the chips n’ dips and turn to this classic bruschetta recipe instead! Or better yet, enjoy this easy bruschetta alongside your favorite dips – like this spinach artichoke dip, French onion dip, or hummus!
Best of all, this entire recipe takes just minutes of hands-on prep, and you can enjoy wholesome ingredients and bright, fresh flavors any time you like.
What is Bruschetta?
Bruschetta (often spelled like brushetta or bruchetta, too) is an Italian antipasto (starter) dish consisting of grilled bread topped with various toppings. The most common form is rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. However, there are several variations, including tomato bruschetta and others with beans, other veggies, cheese, and even meats.
This dish originally came about as a way to salvage stale bread- however, these days, you can make it with fresh and slightly stale bread, and it will be delicious either way!
How to pronounce bruschetta is a source of controversy too. If you want to pronounce the word the way Italians do, then it’s ‘brus-kehta’ with a hard ‘k’ sound for the ‘ch’ and an emphasis placed on the ‘e’ so it has a longer vowel sound.
In some places around the world, it is also pronounced ‘brushetta’ (for example, in the UK) – but this definitely isn’t the original pronunciation.
For this bruschetta recipe, I’ve actually used a very popular ‘Americanized’ topping that pairs tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. I’ve also used oven-roasted bread for ease (grilling instructions are also in the notes, though!).
- Bread: I used this homemade gluten-free French bread. Rustic Italian/French bread or ciabatta will also work well.
- Tomatoes: I used Roma tomatoes. Make sure to use the ripest tomatoes you can – they are the star of the show, after all.
- Basil: Use fresh basil – dried won’t have the same pizzazz!
- Garlic: Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic based on personal preference.
- Extra virgin olive oil: It’s important to use high-quality olive oil.
- Balsamic vinegar: This isn’t a classic addition but really adds zing and finishes off the dish perfectly.
- Salt & Pepper
Because of the simplicity of bruschetta, there are tons of ways that you can adapt and build-upon the basics. Below are just a few optional add-ins you can experiment with.
- Avocado, finely diced.
- Vegan cheese; Parmesan, feta, or mozzarella style dairy-free cheese.
- Alternatively, a small spreading of vegan ricotta or cream cheese below the tomato topping will also taste delicious.
- Red onion – or golden onion, finely diced.
- Chili/jalapeño – finely diced.
- Red, yellow, or orange bell pepper – finely diced.
- Kale – adding boiled Tuscan kale (also called Dinosaur kale or cavolo nero) helps transform this dish from Summery to Winter-y.
- Kalamata olives, thinly sliced.
For the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information, read the recipe card below.
How To Make Bruschetta
Step 1: Prepare the topping
- First, cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out most of the seeds. Then, finely dice the tomatoes and add them to a mixing bowl.
- Finely chop the basil and garlic, then add them to the tomatoes along with the balsamic vinegar, sea salt, ground pepper, and about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Stir with a spoon and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes (up to 60 minutes).
After marinating, taste the tomato mixture and adjust any of the flavors as needed; more garlic, balsamic, salt, pepper, etc. Then drain off the excess marinade (you can use it for your next salad).
Step 2: Toast the bread
Traditional bruschetta uses grilled bread. However, to make this recipe year-round, I like to toast the bread in the oven. Check the FAQs for the grilling process.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Slice the bread and brush each slice with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Transfer the bread to the prepared baking tray and toast it in the oven for about 10-15 min until golden brown, turning halfway through.
Step 3: Assemble
- If you plan to serve the bruschetta immediately, arrange the toasted bread on a platter, topped with a little of the tomato mixture, and optionally drizzle with a little extra olive oil or a balsamic glaze.
- Alternatively, arrange the bread on a platter with the topping in a separate bowl. I like to keep bottles of olive oil and balsamic near for those who want it.
How To Make Ahead & Store?
This vegan bruschetta is best made and enjoyed while fresh. You could prepare the topping up to 1 day in advance, omitting the basil until just before serving, but I wouldn’t recommend any longer than that.
The same goes for leftovers; the tomato basil bread topping can be kept for one day and used with freshly toasted bread the following day. Technically, the tomato mixture will be fine for a couple of days, but it is past its best after a day.
What is the difference between Crostini vs. Bruschetta?
While both are Italian in origin and consist of toasted bread with a topping, the differences lie in the bread used and the toasting method.
Bruschetta bread is traditionally made with rustic Italian bread or sourdough-style bread and has larger, thicker slices. They are then grilled over a fire (coals) to achieve a crunchy char.
In comparison, crostini are usually made with smaller rounder-shaped bread like a French baguette, in thin slices and toasted in the oven. The result is a dish that is more bite-sized. For that reason, this tomato bread recipe is actually somewhat in-between the two.
How to grill the bread?
To grill the bruschetta bread on a charcoal grill, you need to heat them until they become golden-brown with light char marks from the grill. This usually takes just a few minutes per side (3-4 minutes). You can do this with the bread alone or brush them with olive oil first.
Alternatively, you can use a griddle or grill pan or indoor grill/ panini press.
Can you enjoy bruschetta warm?
Yes- though it’s not typical. To enjoy the tomato bruschetta warm, place the topped tomato bread under the broiler for a few minutes until warmed.
Recipe Notes & Variations
- You can optionally rub each warm bread slice with garlic, as they do with traditional bruschetta, and omit or reduce the garlic in the topping.
- Balsamic vinegar can ‘muddy’ the color of the tomatoes somewhat. To avoid this, feel free to omit it from the marinade and drizzle a little balsamic glaze over the prepared and topped bruschetta when serving.
- Don’t skip the marinading time as it will allow all the ingredients to soak and blend for overall better flavor.
- For larger tomatoes, you may want to blanch them (for 1 minute in boiling water- after cutting a tiny ‘X’ at the base), then peel them. Chop in half, remove most of the seeds, then finely dice the tomato.
- Top Tip: During tomato off-season, if you can’t get your hands on any good quality ripe tomatoes, you can use high-quality canned whole tomatoes (like San Marzano). Drain the juice (and use it for something else), then chop up the tomatoes. It’ll do in a pinch!
Other Vegan Appetizers
- Easy Vegan Tomato Pasta Soup
- Vegan Cheese Fondue
- Baked Onion Rings
- Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas
- Best Oil-Free Hummus
- Parmesan Potato Wedges
If you try this tomato bruschetta recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan – I love seeing them.
- Watch the video for easy visual instructions.
- Cut the tomatoes into halves and remove most of the seeds. Finely dice the tomatoes and add them to a mixing bowl.
- Also, finely chop the basil and the garlic and add both to the tomatoes along with the balsamic vinegar, sea salt, ground pepper, and about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Stir with a spoon and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes (up to 60 minutes is fine). After marinating, taste the tomato mixture and adjust any of the flavors as needed; more garlic, balsamic, salt, pepper, etc. Then drain off the excess marinade (you can use it for your next salad).
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Slice the bread (you can use French bread or Ciabatta) and brush each slice with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. I used homemade Gluten-Free French Bread.
- Transfer the bread to the prepared baking tray and toast it in the oven for about 10-15 min until golden brown, turning halfway through. I recommend rubbing each toasted baguette slice with a halved garlic clove for an even yummier result!
- Arrange the toasted bread on a plate or wooden board with the bowl of the bruschetta mixture on the side. Or top each slice with some tomato mixture and serve immediately. Enjoy!
- You can optionally drizzle your bruschetta bread with a little balsamic glaze or with more olive oil.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically