Get exclusive deals from Dr. Sinatra Subscribe Now!

[searchandfilter fields="search,post_types" post_types="post,product" types=",checkbox" headings="Search for: ,Search in:"]

Give Bread a Chance with Easy Bruschetta

When I was a child, a loaf of crusty, fresh bread was enjoyed at every meal regardless of what else was on the menu. That was, of course, the Italian way…A meal without bread was simply incomplete. As bread lovers, Italians have found many ways to enjoy bread as the center a meal, and – for me – bruschetta stands out among them.

What Is Bruschetta?

Vervana natural salt blend and whole peppercorn combination pack
Vervana Savory Salt Blend of Himalayan Pink, California Sea, and Sel Gris (gray) salts and Vervana Pepper Blend with Juniper Berries

Bruschetta (pronounced “Brew-sheh-ta”) is grilled artisan bread. At its simplest, it’s rubbed with a halved garlic clove to infuse it with fresh garlic flavor – the “original garlic bread,” really. It might also be called the original avocado toast, since avocado is among the many other delicious toppings Italians are known to make bruschetta with.

The most common bruschetta topping we find in the U.S. is a delectable combination of chopped fresh tomatoes with fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil…and with a few grinds of natural salt and peppercorns, magic happens. At least that’s what I found when making Tomato Bruschetta. While I like to order bruschetta appetizers in Italian restaurants, I prefer to make it at home –  I can control the quality and quantity of my ingredients, plus there’s something incredibly satisfying about DIY bruschetta.

How to Make Bruschetta

Good bruschetta starts with really good bread. As Viana LaPlace writes in her delightful cookbook, Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style: “To successfully reproduce Italian-style dishes calling for bread, the bread must be honest, made with pure ingredients, and touched by the hand of a baker. It must be the kind of bread that satisfies our deepest, most primitive hungers.”

In Italy, you see, breadmaking is an art, and various regions have their own special varieties. As LaPlace explains, the commonalities they share are crustiness, strong flavor and a firm crumb.

Rather than use the Italian and French breads we traditionally find in American supermarkets (which are too soft anyway), make your bruschetta using good quality, artisan bread – plain or with additional flavors baked in, such as fresh rosemary, garlic or olives.

One you have a hearty, country bread base, grill it or toast it in the oven, then rub it with a a half of a clove of fresh garlic. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil or flavored olive oil – Basil, Garlic, Rosemary, Oregano, Jalapeño or Jalapeño Garlic all work well with certain toppings, some of which we’ll explore below. 

Next, add choice of toppings to your grilled garlic bread:

  • Chopped heirloom, plum or cherry tomatoes
  • Chopped fresh basil leaves
  • High quality olive oil
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • Chopped red onion
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sauteed peppers and onions
  • Chopped garlic (you can use the halved garlic clove after rubbing the bread with it)
  • Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • Fresh rosemary, chopped (or, use Rosemary Olive Oil instead and skip the extra virgin olive oil)
  • Cheese – fresh Mozzerella slices, goat cheese crumbles, or Parmesan shavings

Here are some brushetta recipes I like to make:

Easy Tomato Bruschetta Recipe

You’ll need:

  • 2 to 6 slices (depending on size) of fresh, artisan-baked bread
  • 1 ½  to 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (a colorful mix is always nice)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 to 14 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Natural Salt Blend
  • Pepper & Juniper Blend
Dr. Sinatra's easy bruschetta recipe
Easy Tomato Bruschetta with Fresh Basil, Fresh Garlic and Koroneiki Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat grill or oven to 375 degrees F. Slice bread. In a bowl, combine the chopped tomato and basil with 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil, then add freshly ground natural salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat the bread in the oven or on the grill until toasted. Rub each slice with the inner half of a cut garlic clove, then drizzle bread with extra virgin olive oil. Arrange 1 to 2 slices of the toast on each plate, then top with a generous portion of the tomato mixture. Slice in half, then serve. Mangiare!

For convenience or variety, try these variations:

  • Substitute Garlic Olive Oil for the extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic – on the bread and/or with the tomato mixture for added garlic gusto. You can also chop up the garlic half used to rub the bread and add it to the tomato mixture for powerful raw garlic flavor.
  • Use Basil Olive Oil in addition to or as a substitute for the fresh basil and garnish with parsley.
  • Use Spicy Jalapeño or Jalapeño Garlic Olive Oil instead of extra virgin olive oil on the bread for arrabiata (spicy hot)-style bruschetta.
  • Use Rosemary or Oregano Olive Oil instead of extra virgin olive oil on the toast for added herbaceousness.
  • Add cheese or red onion to the tomato mixture for greater variety of flavors and textures.

Easy Avocado Bruschetta Recipe

You’ll need:

  • 2 to 6 slices (depending on size) of fresh, artisan-baked bread
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced in half
  • Lemon Olive Oil (or extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice)
  • Natural Salt Blend
  • Pepper & Juniper Blend

Preheat grill or oven to 375 degrees F. Slice bread. With a fork, mash the avocado in a bowl with 1 Tbsp Lemon Olive Oil, then add freshly ground natural salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat the bread in the oven or on the grill until toasted. Rub each slice with the inner half of a cut garlic clove, then drizzle bread with Lemon Olive Oil. Arrange 1 to 2 slices of the toast on each plate, then slather each with the mashed avocado. Slice in half, then serve. Mangiare!

Variations:

  • Use Jalapeño or Jalapeño Garlic olive oil instead of the Lemon oil for a kick of chili heat.
  • Substitute Blood Orange Olive Oil for the Lemon Olive Oil for a burst of sweet citrus.
  • Add chopped cilantro to the mashed avocado – cilantro is one of my favorite herbs because it helps chelate heavy metals from the body.

Is Bruschetta Healthy?

Vervana crushed flavored olive oils in 5 flavors: basil, lemon, jalapeno, garlic and blood orange
Vervana Flavored Olive Oils are artisan-made by crushing together fresh-picked olives with fresh herbs, fruits or hot peppers.

In a nutshell, bruschetta can be a part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet when enjoyed in moderation.

As I mentioned earlier, I grew up eating bread at every meal, and later continued this tradition with my own family. It was only after I became a cardiologist certfied in nutrition that I began questioning bread’s heart-healthiness, or lack thereof. After all, most bread in America – including what was known as “Italian bread” – is highly processed and high-carb, not what I would prescribe as part of a heart-healthy diet. Too much of it, too often, is a recipe for weight gain and health problems like diabetes.

But, as is the case with pasta, bread has for years and years been a part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet, which is now recognized as one of the healthiest diets in the world. The keys to having your bread and eating it too are sensible portions and pairing it with healthy fats like olive oil, as well as proteins, and veggies. Read my ebook, The Pasta Diet , to learn moreyou can download it here.

From my heart to yours,

Dr. Stephen Sinatra signature

© 2020 Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.

*Subscribe to our mailing list and receive a coupon for 10% off your first order.

You have Successfully Subscribed!