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Jun 25, 2022

Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Bruschetta

This tomato, garlic, and basil topped bruschetta is simple, light, fresh, and delicious. It makes a wonderful appetizer.

Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Bruschetta on a plate with a spoon.

This bruschetta with a tomato, garlic, and basil topping is my "go-to" fresh summer appetizer. With its bright, concentrated tomato flavor, it's a fabulous nibble with cocktails. 

You'll also love this tomato topping on bruschetta for breakfast, lunch, or any time you're craving a light and delicious snack. 

I can't get enough of it!

Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Bruschetta on a plate.

I've been experimenting with various tomato topping recipes and I think I've found one that captures a fabulous concentrated tomato flavor. 

The Secret to a Delicious Tomato Bruschetta:

If you just chop and mix tomatoes with basil, garlic, spices, and olive oil, the tomatoes will begin to sweat off a lot of water as the mixture rests, diluting the mixture. 

The secret to removing the excess water from the tomatoes is to toss the peeled and chopped pieces with sea or kosher salt and letting them drain for about an hour. The tomato flavor will be incredibly concentrated. 

Check out all of that liquid! 

Tomatoes for bruschetta draining.

All that is left is concentrated tomato flavor. 

I actually began with a large heirloom tomato and six Campari tomatoes, and ended up with a little more than a cup and a quarter of totally flavorful tomatoes. 

Just toss the tomatoes with some fresh garlic, freshly sliced basil, olive oil, crushed red peppers, and balsamic vinegar and serve with the bruschetta slices. 

The results were seriously amazing. The combination of flavors.... really good. Really, really good.

Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Bruschetta with the toast on a plate and the tomatoes in a cup.

What is bruschetta?

Bruschetta is grilled or roasted bread that has been brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic and typically served as an antipasto topped with fresh ingredients such as these tomatoes. 

Other toppings can include beans, cheeses, and cured meats. Bruschetta is also fabulous for serving with steaks. 

I used to think that bruschetta was the topping and the bread together, but it's actually just the grilled bread that has been rubbed with garlic and brushed with olive oil. I also was mispronouncing it, until I was corrected by my late world traveler foodie dad. Evidently it's pronounced "brusketta," not "brushetta." 

I'm still working on learning the difference between bruschetta and crostini

Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Bruschetta on a plate.

How to Make Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Bruschetta:

First, prepare the tomatoes. Boil a pan of water and add the tomatoes to the water after turning off the heat for just a minute to release the peels. Peel the tomatoes and then chop them after removing the seeds and any white pithy parts. If some seeds sneak into the mix, that's okay. 

Next, mix the chopped tomatoes with some sea or kosher salt and place them in a strainer over a bowl for about an hour, stirring every once in awhile to distribute the salt. You will be amazed at how much liquid will drain off of the tomatoes. 

After that, mix the tomatoes with minced garlic, fresh basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, along with crushed red pepper and freshly ground black pepper. 

I'm pretty sure this technique would also work well with salsa recipes! 

Bruschetta, freshly baked on a baking sheet.

To make the bruschetta slices, begin with an Italian crusty bread. I made one of my favorites, Jim Lahey's stirato. You could also use a less airy bread such as durum bread or scali bread

Slice the bread, brush it with olive oil, and toast it in the oven or on a grill and then immediately rub it with slices of garlic. 

I used a small fork as a "handle" to rub the garlic over the bread slices while they were still hot. While the bread kind of burned my fingers, it was worth it. Plus, I'm sure this will render my fingerprints unrecognizable. 

Welcome to this week's Sunday Funday, hosted by Cook with Renu. Our theme is Fresh Garden Harvest Recipes: 

Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Bruschetta on plates

Originally posted in January 2013, and updated in June, 2022 with new photos, instructions, and printable recipe card. 

Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Bruschetta

Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Bruschetta
Yield: 16 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 10 MinInactive time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 40 M
This tomato, garlic, and basil topped bruschetta is simple, light, fresh, and delicious. It makes a wonderful appetizer.


To Make the Tomato Topping
  • 7 to 8 medium sized tomatoes. I typically use Camparis because they are more consistently fresh here, but if you have access to fresh heirloom or other tomatoes, use them.
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 7 to 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Generous pinch of crushed red pepper rubbed between your hands to bring out the flavors
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
To Make the Bruschetta
  • 16 slices of lean bread such as a baguette (sliced on an angle), ciabatta, or Italian loaf
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • One large clove of garlic


  1. In a three or four quart sauce pan, bring water to a boil.
  2. Once the water has boiled, remove from the heat, place the tomatoes into the water, and set a timer for one minute.
  3. At one minute, drain the tomatoes into a colander and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Slit the tomatoes with a sharp knife and slip off the skins.
  5. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and white pithy stuff. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and place the pieces into a strainer over a bowl as pictured.
  6. Sprinkle the tomato pieces with the kosher salt and stir. Let the tomatoes sit over the bowl and drain for 30 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Place the tomatoes in a small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  9. Brush the baguette slices on both sides with olive oil and bake on a baking sheet in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until lightly golden and crispy.
  10. Cut the large garlic clove in half and rub both sides of each slice of bread with the garlic.
  11. Serve the bruschetta with the tomato topping on the side.

Nutrition Facts



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bruschetta, tomatoes, garlic, basil
Bread, appetizer
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Genius ... how come I didn't think of rubbing the bread with garlic or draining the mixture ..pure genius.. plus it looks amazing.. thanks for sharing.

    1. Awww. Thank you =) You can stick the garlic with a fork to give it a "handle." Goes really quickly that way.

  2. Salt the tomatoes?! it's amazing how that one step can change an entire batch! You've just salvaged my salsa-making reputation, thanx.

    1. Thank you Dee! I am looking forward to trying this with salsa and pico de gallo as well!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks!! It really helps concentrate the flavor of the tomatoes.

  4. Wow! every thing looks so perfect and delicious.

  5. That is so tempting Karen. I wish could grab it from the screen. Lovely combination of flavors there.

  6. My all time favourite. And with fresh basil... super delicious.


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