Tomatoes, garlic and basil, oh my! These three things go together like a good three-piece suit. Throw in a few extra ingredients, and you have yourself a delicious topping to add onto a cute little piece of toasted bread (which toasted bread itself is actually called bruschetta).
I work at an elementary school…yup, I’m a teacher! We were celebrating birthdays for the month of December. I needed something I could feed a ton of people with. I decided to create a “build-your-own bruschetta bar”. Basically, I put out a pile of little sliced pieces of toasted baguette (bruschetta), and tons of toppings (classic tomato bruschetta topping, roasted garlic, 3 different kinds of goat cheeses, jams, pesto, herbs, and honey). Super simple, but super fun! Heck, you can even have your guests bring a topping if you’d like. If you are entertaining for the holidays, this is an easy, yet elegant way to feed your friends and family. Add a few bottles of wine/champagne, and you have yourselves a sweet holiday party! Cheers!
Health tips: kidney-friendly, diabetes-friendly, vegetarian
Please feel free to halve this recipe; it does feed a lot of people. However, the best part of the recipe is the leftovers! The leftovers are a delicious, healthy topping on grilled chicken breasts or fish! You can add it into a salad, stir it into an Italian soup, throw some into a panini with mozzarella, or add it to some pasta. So basically, I am highly suggesting to make the entire recipe and do not halve it!
Ingredients: (serves 20 plus people, especially if you have other toppings available to put onto the bread)
- 8-10 roma tomatoes
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 20 (or more) fresh basil leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic (or more, depending on how garlicky you want it)
- 1-2 TBS olive oil
- 1-2 TBS white balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup Parmesan and/or Romano cheese, shredded
- Salt (optional)
- 2 or more loaves of your favorite baguette/crusty bread, sliced (I even found a whole grain option)
- Cut the end of each tomato off and halve tomatoes lengthwise and with your fingers; scoop out the seedy-watery part (yes, that’s my technical term).
- Chop* tomatoes and throw into a bowl. Chop onion so that the pieces are the same size, and add to the bowl.
- Finely chop or grate**/crush garlic and into the bowl. Add olive oil and vinegar. Give everything a gentle toss.
- Take a pile of basil leaves, roll them up like a cigar, and thinly slice them to make ribbons. Add these to the bowl and gently toss.
- Slice the bread and place on a baking sheet (or take the bread to the bakery department and have them slice it through their bread machine like I do ;-)). Place under the broiler for a few minutes on each side until they feel toasty or have a slight golden color. PLEASE STAY BY THE BRIOLER and check the bread often. DO NOT WALK AWAY. You may burn the bread if you do. Not that I do that or anything….If you want, when you can take the bread out, you can rub a piece of garlic on each piece of toast, for an extra garlicky flavor. This step is optional.
- Top the bruschetta with the tomato-basil topping. If you’d like to gild-the-lily a bit, you can drizzle a little balsamic glaze (or olive oil) on top to finish it up. But again, this is completely optional. Enjoy!
That’s it! So simple and so yummy! The leftovers are even better when you add them to something else you make. Please try the build-your-own idea. Below are some of the photos from the celebration at my work.
* Chopper! Now, if you don’t own one, I suggest you go out and buy one of these. When you are chopping many things, this will make your life easier and you will spend less time chopping. Usually, the chopper comes with 2 different sizes and I use both! These are so great to have if you are making a soup or another recipe that requires a lot of chopping. There only about $20 or less.
**Microplane! I own 2 of them; the fine grater (pictured) and the ribbon greater. I use them ALL THE TIME. I use the fine greater to zest citrus, grate ginger, and finely grate/paste my garlic (so there aren’t any chunks of garlic). I used my ribbon grater for grating cheeses, onions, garlic (it’s easier and quicker than trying to chop garlic), and other things. I suggest you buy a few, they are wonderful products!