I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t love bruschetta. Seriously. Because I mean, can’t we all agree with Oprah that bread is simply amazing? It is incredibly adaptable, can be adjusted to take into account allergies, and a fresh loaf right out of the oven is basically a carb filled hug. So I’m reminding you that when you are wracking your brain for a new and unique appetizer (one can only eat so many meatballs, am I right?), you should look at the bread you have on hand and transform it into bruschetta. Here are some easy and versatile bruschetta recipes that will please any and all types of crowds.
First off, let’s talk about what bruschetta entails. It’s pretty simple really and consists of grilled bread that is rubbed or topped with additional ingredients. That’s it. It can be a simple snack for the after school crowd or something sophisticated that you would serve when your boss comes over to dinner.
The most important thing is that you start with a solid base such as ciabatta, French baguette, or a rustic loaf of multigrain bread, and then the rest is delicious fun. Just be sure to get a good grill mark on your bread (this can be easily done by placing a piece of bread on either an indoor or outdoor grill at high heat for 2-4 minutes, and then turning the bread so that you create a beautiful criss-cross grill mark pattern).
As for what you decide to top your bruschetta with, the sky is the limit. The savory route seems to be most popular and everyone tends to expect some type of basil, tomato, and cheese concoction when they hear the term “bruschetta.” But you can totally surprise your guests and turn your recipes up a notch by experimenting. The key is that you create a balance of flavors…something a little sweet, something a little salty, and a pinch or two of heat.
I recommend taking some help from the grocery store and using some of the spreads their in-house chefs have created, as well as picking what looks especially delicious from their salad bar and other prepared food sections. No matter how many times I have tried, I cannot replicate the delicious flavors of the Kirkland brand jarred pesto that is sold at Costco so that is my stand by when making bruschetta…just don’t tell too many people about my delicious party secret.
Sweet OR Savory Bruschetta Recipes
Toasted bread, smear of jarred pesto, slice of tomato, slice of fresh mozzarella. Put the bruschetta under the broiler until the cheese starts to brown (about 2-4 minutes), let cool and enjoy!
Pancetta & Dates
Taking a cooking class at the Chicago Botanic Garden inspired this bruschetta dish. Out of all the ones on my list, it takes the most prep work but it is definitely worth it. First, bake pancetta at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Once fully cooked, your pancetta slices will shrivel up and fit well onto your grilled bread. Add a dollop of creamy goat cheese and top with a sliced date. Finish off your bruschetta by adding just a touch of honey on top.
Sausage and Onions
If you think this combination is delicious on pizza, be sure to try it on grilled bread. Uncase and cook the sausage fully in a frying pan, then add one large sliced onion to the same pan. Cook the mixture until both the sausage and onion are browned (about 8-10 minutes total from start to finish). Place the mixture onto grilled bread and top with crumbled gorgonzola or shaved parmesan for a unique kick.
Goat Cheese, Honey, and Berries
It might sound like a strange combination, but I swear there is nothing better than the combination of a smooth, creamy cheese and tart berries (you can also substitute dried berries if fresh ones are not in season). Adding a drizzle of honey ties all of the flavors together, and you can even add a pinch of fresh rosemary to make the bruschetta fresh and vibrant.
Garlic & Parmesan
The most traditional way to enjoy bruschetta is also the simplest. After grilling your bread, rub a clove of garlic against the bread, top with a drizzle of olive oil and finish the bruschetta with a light topping of freshly shaved parmesan cheese. So simple yet oh so delicious.
Nutella Pistachio Bruschetta
For nut lovers, serve them a decadent slice of grilled bread covered in Nutella and topped with strawberries and pistachios. Add coarse salt to the bruschetta before serving in order to achieve the ultimate sweet and salty combination.
Fruit Pizza Bruschetta
Make your own version of fruit pizza as a bruschetta dish by mixing ½ cup of sugar into 1 cup of cream cheese and coating the bread with the sweetened mixture. Next, top the bruschetta with any berries that are in season. I like to add a garnish of either fresh mint or basil on top of the berries to add a finishing touch.