There’s something about ripe, juicy tomatoes that just says SUMMER.
Jonathan and I are both big fans of the tomato, so when we’re craving something light & fresh but packed with flavor, our go-to recipe is balsamic bruschetta.
I kind of stumbled upon creating this bruschetta during college when I wanted to replicate the fancy $8 appetizers from Italian restaurants but for A LOT cheaper. Because I could pick and choose exactly what I wanted in mine, I was blown away at how much BETTER it was than any I’d had before.
Confession: I say the word recipe, but I’ll go ahead and let you in on a little Lange kitchen secret… We don’t really follow recipes for anything other than baking. We MIGHT glance at one and get an idea of what all goes in something, but for the most part, we mix, sprinkle, stir, sample, and repeat until the dish tastes just right. You’ll just have to embrace our lack of exact amounts and measurements.
With that said, I encourage you to not follow my recipe exactly if when you decide to make this. Let it really be your own; if you want it more tomato-y, throw in more tomatoes! If you want it more acidic and strong, douse it with more balsamic vinegar! You get the idea.
What You Need
* The ingredient amounts I use here make enough for a whole big family (or two really hungry people).
* The beauty of this recipe is that everything is FRESH. Don’t make a mistake by taking shortcuts and throwing in dried basil or minced garlic. Trust me.
- Tomatoes (maybe 8-ish Roma or the equivalent amount of any kind you want)
- Red Onion (1 medium to large)
- Garlic cloves (maybe 3 cloves, and it really needs to be fresh)
- Fresh basil (like, the equivalent of a few handfuls. And yes, it HAS to be fresh!)
- Olive Oil (it’s up to you how much)
- Balsamic Vinegar (eyeball it, and be careful.)
- Salt and fresh-ground pepper (like 4-5 pinches of each)
- Bread of your choice (we like a simple Italian loaf)
- Italian seasonings
- Fresh mozzarella cheese or some shaved parmesan cheese
- Fresh lemon juice for the bruschetta
What You Do
- Preheat your oven for the bread.
- Slice and dice the tomatoes and onions into a big bowl.
[I like them diced really small, but DON’T put then in a food processor because you really want to keep the integrity of the tomato flesh and onion.]
- Mince the garlic and add to the bowl.
[DON’T use a jar of minced garlic. Just don’t do it.]
- Slice and dice the fresh basil and add to the bowl.
[If you kind of ball it up first, it’s so much easier to handle and cut.]
- Add some salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste.
[I am a salt fanatic so I probably over-do it, but you will really need quite a bit.]
- Add some olive oil and vinegar. And here’s where you can add some lemon juice if you want.
[Taste test it! You want it to taste just right for YOU, so splash a little, stir, taste. Splash a little more, stir, taste. We like our bruschetta really juicy, so we always put extra olive oil and vinegar, but just cut down on the olive oil if you’re aiming to make it a little healthier.]
- Stir it all up!
- Slice up your bread and lay it on a baking sheet.
- In a little bowl, mix some olive oil and Italian seasoning, then drizzle some of this mixture on each piece of bread.
[You can skip this step if you want to save some calories … it won’t make a HUGE difference.]
- Toast the bread until it’s however you like it.
- Slice some fresh mozzarella, if you want to.
[Jonathan likes to melt his cheese on his bread in the oven. I like it better cold and on the side.]
Confession: We turn this “appetizer” into our entire meal. We usually just make a huge heaping bowl of this stuff, toast up the croutons, slice some fresh mozzarella cheese, and we are good to go. Sometimes we even just eat out of the same giant bowl to save on dishes. Don’t judge.