Classic Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Homemade Pesto is a seriously delicious simple appetizer with fresh flavor! This homemade pesto makes this best bruschetta I’ve ever had!
Growing up, my mom had a beautiful garden and grew fresh tomatoes every year. She would eat panzanella salads every day for lunch with a simple drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar. I’d always manage to sneak a few bites without her noticing. Fresh tomatoes from your garden are the best things about summer!
After culinary school, I worked at a small Italian restaurant in my home town. On the weekends, I would come in around 8 am and make the tiramisu in huge batches. I’d make 8 trays at a time and they’d freeze them and cut as needed. During the week I would work the hot table or do apps, or really any odd job around the restaurant.
I fell in love with the classic tomato bruschetta at my restaurant. In my opinion, there’s no better appetizer than a really good crusty bread and some fresh tomatoes and basil. Although there are so many different variations these days, I feel like the classic is still the best. I always use a homemade pesto when I can, because it just makes this appetizer that much better, but store bought is fine.
If you’re a garlic lover like I am, after your bread is toasted, slice a large clove of garlic in half and rub it on the hot bread. This is such a super easy snack that you can make in a flash and it will really impress your guests. This is my favorite bruschetta recipe of all time! Let’s make this easy appetizer!
What do you need to make tomato bruschetta?
The word bruschetta directly translates from the Italian word bruscare, which means ‘to toast’. Traditional bruschetta similar to the one we’re making today is composed of toasted Italian bread drenched in olive oil and served typically with garlic or tomatoes. I’m adding some fresh basil and a little bit of basil pesto to my version today. So you’ll need:
Crusty bread, cut into thick slices – my favorite to use is a french bread or Italian baguette (you can read about the differences here)
Room temperature Tomatoes – choose ripe red tomatoes, either cherry tomatoes sliced in quarters, or diced roma tomatoes of your choice.
Garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a microplane
Basil, cut chiffonade (set some aside for garnish)
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt + Black Pepper
Homemade basil pesto (store bought is also fine, I prefer Kirkland brand)
Goat cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano
A baking sheet
Start by combining the chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl and set aside on the counter for at least 20 minutes. The flavors will taste best if the ingredients are able to marinate for a bit and really develop.
After the tomatoes have marinated for a bit, slice the baguette in 1/2″ wide slices and on an angle like this.
Preheat the oven to 400 (or if you’d like, you can grill your bread on an outdoor grill for those beautiful grill marks and extra flavor). Put your bread slices on a baking sheet toast baguette slices until golden brown. Drizzle with olive oil and slice a clove of garlic in half and rub the cut side on each toast.
Top each toast with a spoonful of basil pesto, goat cheese or freshly grated parmesan (if desired), and tomato basil mixture. Garnish with basil chiffonade and serve!
FAQ and Expert tips
Can you make bruschetta in advance?
I absolutely encourage making the bruschetta tomatoes in advance, as I mentioned above. The flavors get better, and it saves some time if you’re having guests over. You can even toast the bread in advance and store in an airtight container so it doesn’t harden too much. Wait to assemble the slices until just before guests come over. You’ll end up with soggy bruschetta the longer it sits, so keep that in mind when menu planning!
Other additional toppings
These delicious add-ons would be great on the classic tomato basil bruschetta
- Fresh mozzarella
- Balsamic glaze
Other recipes to try
Roasted strawberry bruschetta – an elegant appetizer that is fresh and vibrant! Juicy roasted strawberries, creamy ricotta cheese layered on a crunchy baguette slice. An appetizer is perfect for summer entertaining!
Chicken Pesto Pasta – This chicken pesto pasta is the perfect weeknight meal! It on the table in under 20 minutes. You can make it with homemade or store bought pesto!Print
Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Homemade Pesto – Simple, fresh, and seriously delicious. This homemade pesto makes this best bruschetta I’ve ever had!
4 ripe tomatoes on the vine, chopped and seeded
10 large basil leaves, chiffonade, plus some for garnish (I love Gotham Greens Basil)
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
3 tbl olive oil
Combine first 6 ingredients and set aside for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 (or if you’d like, you can grill your bread). Put your bread slices on an oven safe pan and place in the oven until golden brown. Once they’re nice and toasty.
Remove from the broiler and set aside. If you’re a garlic lover like myself, you can slice a clove of garlic in half crosswise (so that you can hold on to the end with no problem) and rub the bread with the garlic.
If you’re serving right away, you can top each toast with a tbl of pesto, bruschetta tomato mix and garnish with Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano or goat cheese and extra basil, or if you’re creating a bruschetta bar, put the bowl of tomatoes in the middle and surround it with your toast points! Enjoy!
Keywords: appetizer; bruschetta
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