Caprese bruschetta is an Italian appetizer that satisfies that craving for something crunchy. This is the perfect party food to serve lovers of tomatoes and it's easy to make.
Bruschetta is an antipasto, or starter, from Italy. The word bruschetta describes the preparation of the bread that is used as the base for this appetizer. The bread is cut, brushed with olive oil, toasted or grilled then rubbed with fresh garlic. Bruschetta is then finished with different toppings, like a tomato salad, mushrooms, cheese, or meat.
Our caprese bruschetta uses pantry staples that are easy to find. Let's talk about some of the key ingredients.
- Vegetables: We used 3 cups of fresh ripe Roma tomatoes that were seeded and diced. We also used minced garlic and peeled garlic cloves in the caprese topping.
- Spices: We used salt, black pepper, and fresh basil.
- Bread: We used 2 French baguettes cut in ½ inch slices.
- Cheese: We used 12 thick slices of fresh mozzarella.
- Acids: We used 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Can't have dairy? Replace the mozzarella with chopped avocado.
- Don't have white balsamic vinegar? Switch it out with red wine vinegar.
- Need to reduce the fat? Omit the olive oil and the mozzarella.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients for our caprese bruschetta. You'll need Roma tomatoes, an Italian baguette, garlic, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella slices, olive oil, salt, pepper, white wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar.
- Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until it's reduced in half. The balsamic reduction sauce should start to thicken. Test using the back of a wooden spoon; if you swipe your finger through the vinegar, it should hold a line on the spoon. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. It will thicken as it cools.
3. To remove the seeds from the Roma tomatoes, slice each one in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds to make the caprese topping.
4. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil, then toast both sides under the broiler. When the bread is golden brown, remove it from the oven. Turn off the broiler and reduce the heat to 400°F.
While the baguette slices are still warm, rub both sides of the bread with fresh garlic.
5. Place a slice of fresh mozzarella on each baguette slice and place in a 400°F oven for 4 minutes to soften the cheese.
6. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and stir in the salt, pepper, white balsamic vinegar, and minced garlic. Chop the basil and mix it in.
7. Sprinkle salt on top of the melted mozzarella cheese. Using a slotted spoon, put some of the tomato caprese salad on top of each toasted baguette.
8. Drizzle the caprese bruschetta with the balsamic reduction sauce. Enjoy while it's still fresh.
Bruschetta is the Italian word that refers to the bread while caprese is the tomato salad that is often served on top of the bread.
You can use any fresh artisan-style bread such as baguette, focaccia, ciabatta, Italian loaf, or crusty rustic bread. We personally like baguettes because their narrow diameter makes them a nice size that's perfect for bite-sized appetizers.
It is typically served at room temperature though some toppings may work better when served warm. This caprese bruschetta is meant to be eaten at room temperature.
The name may vary depending on the ingredients used to make the topping. This recipe uses a topping called caprese because it is similar to the tomato salad of the same name. In Italy, they call it bruschetta con pomodoro which means garlic toast with tomatoes. This tomato topping also has fresh basil in it similar to caprese.
Since bruschetta is typically the first-course appetizer in Italy, you can serve this with other Italian main courses, like pizza, Italian Easter pie, minestrone, pasta e fagioli soup, or a fresh green salad. On the other hand, if you want these caprese bruschettas as a snack, serve it with your favorite beverage.
- Make ahead: It's best to start prep work the same day you are planning on serving this caprese appetizer. The tomatoes to make the caprese topping can be seeded and diced, the garlic can be minced, and the mozzarella can be sliced along with the bread. For best results, chiffonade the basil, toss the salad, and toast the bread within one hour of eating, and assemble the bruschetta just before serving.
- Leftovers: Bruschetta tastes best if eaten the same day, however, if you have leftovers, store the tomato salad in an airtight container and refrigerate. Try to use up the next day. Any leftover toasted bread can be stored in a brown paper bag on the kitchen counter. Leftover cheese can be stored covered in the fridge along with leftovers of the balsamic reduction sauce.
- Use room temperature tomatoes to make the caprese topping for the best flavor.
- Remove the seeds from the tomatoes by cutting them in half, then using a spoon to scoop out all the liquid and seeds.
- Top the bruschetta with a balsamic reduction. This adds additional flavor and a hint of acidity.
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- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 cups fresh Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup fresh basil, julienned
- 2 French baguettes, cut in ½ inch slices
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 12 slices of fresh mozzarella
Making the Balsamic Reduction Sauce
- Pour 1 cup of balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan, then turn the heat to medium. Cover the sauce pan and bring the vinegar to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and remove the lid. Allow the vinegar to simmer uncovered until the it has has reduced in half, roughly 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- When the glaze is done, it should coat the back of the wooden spoon. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool. As it cools, the glaze will thicken. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight jar.
Making the Tomato Salad
- Rinse the roma tomatoes, then split them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon, then finely dice the remaining tomato flesh.
- Mix the diced tomatoes with the minced garlic, salt, and pepper, then stir in one teaspoon of white balsamic vinegar.
- Wash 8 or 9 large basil leaves, pat dry, stack, and cut into ribbons. Gently mix the basil ribbons into the tomato salad.
- Let the salad stand at room temperature while you toast the baguettes.
Assembling the Bruschetta
- Make sure the oven rack is 6 inches from the broiler, then turn the oven broiler on high.
- Diagonally slice a baguette with a serrated knife, then lay the slices on a large cookie sheet. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil.
- Broil the baguettes on both sides until lightly browned. Watch closely, because some slices will be done quicker. Remove the baguette slices. Turn off the broiler and preheat the oven to 400F.
- While the bread is still warm, lightly rub both sides of each baguette with a peeled garlic clove.
- Place one slice of fresh mozzarella on each baguette slice. Bake the toast at 400 F for 4-6 minutes, until the mozzarella is soft and melted. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt.
- Place a few spoonfuls of the bruschetta on top of each slice of toasted baguette.
- Drizzle each piece with homemade balsamic reduction sauce, then enjoy immediately.
- For the best flavor, use room temperature tomatoes.
- Cut the tomatoes in half, then use a spoon to scoop out all the liquid and seeds.
- To add more flavor and a hint of acidity, drizzle the top the bruschetta with a balsamic reduction.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.