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What is Bruschetta?

By Cathy Rogers
Updated May 16, 2024
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Bruschetta is toasted bread seasoned with garlic and olive oil, commonly served warm as an appetizer, snack, or side dish. The name comes from the Italian word bruscare, which means "to roast over coals." Many variations exist; adding tomatoes, other vegetables or beans is common.

The simplest form of bruschetta starts with Tuscan bread, toasted either over coals or in a toaster. The toasted slices are rubbed with a cut clove of garlic, and then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper can be added, if the cook desires. As a tradition, bruschetta serves to test the new harvest of olive oil each year.

Other variations include tomato, vegetables and/or cheese toppings. Sometimes the bread is nearly immersed in oil, but usually it is just drizzled. To prepare a tomato bruschetta, a cook rubs the toasted slices with a ripe cut tomato, or tops the bread with a layer of chopped tomatoes seasoned with basil, salt, and pepper, and then drizzles it with oil.

Bruschetta is also a means to use bread that is beginning to get stale by adding oil and seasonings to improve its flavor. Many variations use uniquely flavored roasted or hard breads. A vegetable bruschetta might incorporate mushrooms, roasted peppers, and/or olives. Cheese topped versions can include feta, mozzarella, Parmesan, or even blue cheese.

The breads used for bruschetta vary; some recipes call for Italian, French, or baguette. The most common breads used are two versions of pane pugliese: piadana and crescente. However, traditionally it is made with Tuscan bread, which is a rather tasteless, white bread with a crunchy crust.

Common bruschetta recipes include toppings such as white beans, Swiss chard, walnuts or pine nuts, and roasted or bell peppers. Ingredients for a bean-topped variety include white beans, chopped plum tomatoes, Kalamata olives, olive oil, salt and pepper. After the bread is toasted and drizzled with olive oil, it should be sprinkled with goat cheese and topped with the bean mixture.

Another bean version includes cloves, lemon juice, and walnuts. Other recipes include versions with eggplant, clams, or lentils. Bruschetta recipes that could serve as main dishes include sausage, artichokes, or shrimp.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By letshearit — On May 30, 2011

@anon13076 - Toasted bruschetta can be very healthy depending on which ingredients you use. Adding garlic for instance is a great way to add an antioxidant into your diet, while it is also known to help lower bad cholesterol.

If you add herbs like basil, it is a good source of vitamin A and is believed to act as an anti-inflammatory, so it may help those with things like arthritis.

The main ingredient of bruschetta is usually tomatoes, and this fruit is often labeled one of the healthiest things we can eat. Tomatoes are loaded with vitamins A and C. With the amount of potassium and vitamin B they are also known to help lower blood pressure.

By Sara007 — On May 29, 2011

I think bruschetta is one of the best appetizers you can offer as it is easy to make, and delicious.

My favorite way to make bruschetta is to cut thin slices of Italian loaf and lay them out. For the topping I use a mix of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. This can be mixed to taste. Once you have this, just add finely chopped tomatoes, some fresh shredded basil, grated cheese, and garlic.

The results taste amazing, and you can add or subtract things as you like.

The thing I like about bruschetta is there is so many ways to make it.

Do you have any favorite bruschetta recipes?

By ivanka — On May 21, 2009

Putting bruschetta under the broiler briefly will further improve the flavor, and melt the cheese if one is being used.

Usually some shaved Parmesan cheese is added for a nice tangy bite.

By anon13076 — On May 19, 2008

what health factor can we get in the toasted bruschetta?

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