There is nothing quite like the classic flavor combination of sweet tomatoes with fresh basil and mozzarella. Allow this winning flavor trio to marinate with a bit of olive oil, balsamic, and garlic, serve on slices of rustic toasted gluten-free bread, and you’ll have a simple bruschetta with mozzarella appetizer that everyone will love and devour. Just 30 minutes start to finish!
If you don't have a tasty appetizer like Bruschetta with Mozzarella in your back pocket yet, stick this one in it.
All of those cherry tomato plants that are still going bonkers in your garden? This recipe is how you will use them up. Or just hit up the grocery store, where year-round cherry tomatoes can always be found.
But first, let's get something ironed out really quickly. It's broo-SKET-tuh NOT bruh-shett-uh. Tasty food shouldn't sound like a swear word. Okay bruh?
🌟 Why you'll love this recipe
It's an easy appetizer that's awesome for ALL seasons.
- Need something tasty to curtail everyone's hunger while waiting for the Thanksgiving turkey to finish? This is it.
- Want a festive appetizer to go along with your Christmas meal? This is it.
- Wondering what you should serve at your New Year's Eve party? This is it.
- And how about Valentine's Day, 4th of July, every summer bbq and picnic you can handle? Yep, bruschetta with mozzarella is how we're vibing.
Juicy, sweet tomatoes, fresh basil that you just wanna shove up your nose and smell all day, and a beautiful gluten-free loaf of rustic bread (hopefully you've got someone in your city making something like that, if not it might be time to move). And fresh mozzarella, cuz I need cheese and it's basically my life source. If it's not your life source, just leave the mozza out and all will be fine.
It comes together quickly, think roughly 30 minutes. SO tasty. Bright, fresh, summery flavors. Maybe we'll skip the appetizer and just make this our meal. Can I get an amen? Yes, yes, and yes.
🛒 Ingredients & suggestions
- Cherry tomatoes: If you can't find cherry tomatoes, any fresh, sweet tomato will do but be mindful that larger tomatoes will have tougher skins and more seeds which can affect the texture and flavor of the bruschetta topping so consider removing them.
- Extra virgin olive oil: A high quality EVOO is what you want. Not sure which olive oils are high quality? Here is a great list of recommendations.
- Balsamic vinegar: Not sure which balsamic vinegar is best? Here is a helpful guide. And yes, I forgot to put it in the picture so just pretend it's there.
- Basil: Use fresh basil, not dried.
- Garlic: Use as much or as little as you'd like. I believe the amount of garlic you use is a personal choice.
- Lemon: A little bit of lemon zest gives the bruschetta topping a subtle, bright pop of Mmmm...
- Mozzarella: Fresh mozzarella can be found in different sizes: pearls, ciligiene (cherry-sized), or in a log. I used ciligiene, sliced in half. A smoosh of burrata on each toast underneath the tomato topping would be pretty incredible too.
- Gluten-free bread: Typically bruschetta is made with thick slices of rustic Italian or sourdough-style bread; a bread that can hold up to olive oil and juicy tomatoes without becoming overly soggy. I'm going with a rustic gluten-free baguette so that it's a bit more conducive for serving as a small handheld appetizer (which would technically make this a crostini recipe simply because of the bread's smaller size).
For a full list of ingredients and quantities see the recipe card at the end of this post.
🍅 How to slice a bunch of cherry tomatoes at once
The most time consuming part of this recipe would normally be slicing all of those cherry tomatoes in half if it weren't for this simple kitchen hack! You know all of those deli containers and take-out containers that you've been storing up? Grab two of the lids from those containers to efficiently halve a handful of cherry tomatoes at once. Lemme show ya.
Step 1: Place the container lid top-side up on a work surface. Place a handful of cherry tomatoes on the lid.
Step 2: Place a second lid on top of the tomatoes.
Step 3: Press down gently on the top lid with one hand to keep everything in place. Using a serrated knife gently saw through the tomatoes by working a knife horizontally between both lids.
Step 4: And now you're tomatoes are halved! Pretty awesome kitchen hack, right?!
🌿 How to cut basil
Let's chiffonade some basil, which in basic home-cook language just means let's cut some basil into thin strips. Here's a simple way to do it.
Step 1: Stack the basil leaves on top of each other so that the leaf edges are curled up.
Step 2: Roll the leaves up into a tight cylinder.
Step 3: Hold the basil with one hand in a tight cylinder.
Step 4: Using a sharp knife thinly slice the basil from one end to the other. And that's it!
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
Now that we've got our cherry tomatoes and basil prepped, let's put this simple bruschetta goodness together.
Step 1: Add the sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper to a bowl.
Step 2: Give everything a stir. Then let it marinate for about 15-20 minutes.
Step 3: While the tomato mixture is marinating, prep the baguette (or any rustic-style bread you prefer). Slice the baguette at a diagonal (this allows for more surface area to load those tomatoes onto) into ½" slices.
Step 4: Lay the bread slices on a large sheet pan and brush with olive oil. Pop them in the oven at 400°F to toast for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden.
Step 5: If using ciligiene (cherry-sized) mozzarella, slice each mozza ball in half. Add the mozzarella to the tomato mixture and give it a stir to combine.
Step 6: Spoon the tomato mozzarella mixture onto the toasted bread slices and EEEAT. Your mouth is so happy right now.
👩🍳 Recipe tips
- Your bruschetta will only be as good as your ingredients. High quality ingredients are important even in recipes that seem fairly minimalistic. Definitely don't skimp on using a high quality olive oil. It will be the difference between a ho-hum bruschetta and a tasty bruschetta.
- Brush the olive oil on the bread with a basting brush versus drizzling it so that the bread will toast and brown evenly.
- Too hot in your home to turn on the oven? Toast the bread on a medium-hot grill instead. Some nice smokey grill marks would be suuuper yum.
💭 Frequently asked questions
New Cascadia Traditional is my go-to gluten-free baker for baguettes and rustic-style bread. If you live in the Portland-Vancouver Metro area you can find their baked goods in most grocery stores. They also offer mail order options for their breads, bagels, buns, and rolls.
Bruschetta is the olive-oil brushed slices of toasted bread, not the topping. Traditional bruschetta is also rubbed with a garlic clove after it is toasted. I like adding the garlic to the tomato mozzarella topping instead (and then my hands don't smell like garlic for days either, which I can't say I would actually mind though).
Warm, toasty bruschetta is dreamy and wonderful. I also like the tomato mozzarella topping to be served at room temperature versus cold. But feel free to do you Boo.
I wouldn't recommend it. This recipe is best made shortly before you plan to serve it.
Now go gather your people. Break out the vino and kick off your meal with this Italian appetizer magic. ♡
✨ More tasty appetizer recipes!
- Simple Charcuterie Board the perfect appetizer to serve at a party or a holiday gathering!
- Crostini with Fig & Proscuitto another tasty appetizer that takes just 10 minutes to prep!
- Smoked Salmon Dip only 5 minutes to make and perfect for ANY party
- Bacon Wrapped Dates with Manchego a salty-sweet appetizer with a secret ingredient for spicy kick
💕 Follow along!
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