on Jul 14, 2022, Updated Aug 02, 2022
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Adding fresh mozzarella to go with the tomatoes in this caprese bruschetta recipe is a twist that makes a summer Italian classic even more special.
Table of Contents
Every tomato season there are certain dishes I make without really thinking. They fall into the category of effortless dishes that are kind of non-recipe recipes. What I mean by that is that once you make them a few times, they are committed to your memory, so you can get more casual about your ingredients—a splash of this and a little of that.
Classic bruschetta is super simple to make. The challenging part is finding the most perfect, ripe gorgeous tomatoes. But if you time it just right during the summer months, tomatoes are everywhere, really fantastic ones too.
What Is Bruschetta?
If you are a fan of fancy toast, then bruschetta is for you. Bruschetta is an Italian appetizer or antipasti. It is toasted bread that’s topped with tomatoes that are marinated in olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and of course, basil.
For this Caprese salad-inspired version, I add fresh mozzarella cheese to the tomatoes. Parmesan cheese is more common, but I love marinated mozzarella cheese. Overall mozzarella is mild in flavor, so it really takes on everything else that you mix with it.
Tips for the Best Bruschetta
Use good bread. This is the time for that artisan loaf, specifically a baguette or French bread. When you slice one of these loaves that are more narrow in diameter, there’s just the right proportion of crust on the outside to the fluffy part in the middle. Also, bruschetta is meant to be a finger food, so you can easily pick up these bread rounds even when they’re topped with tomatoes and basil.
Don’t skimp on the garlic. It’s probably pretty obvious to include minced garlic in the tomato mixture, but that’s not it. Make sure to rub all the slices of toasted bread with a whole garlic clove. Don’t skip this step. It’s absolutely worth it and adds so much to each bite.
Use only ripe tomatoes. If you make this recipe off-season, you might end up disappointed. That’s because you need the ripest tomatoes. With such a simple, straightforward ingredient list, there isn’t anything to hide behind. You can make a roasted tomato version if your tomatoes are lacking color and flavor. (Try these 30-minute roasted tomatoes.)
Ingredients & Substitutions
This is what you need:
- Tomatoes: Traditional bruschetta involves dicing tomatoes. My preference is to use smaller varieties like grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes and quarter them instead. You want the tomatoes to be juicy, but I find diced tomatoes can sometimes make the bread soggy. That’s why I like ones that are already small and don’t require chopping.
- Mozzarella is what makes this a Caprese version. To match the size of the tomatoes, I like fresh mozzarella pearls, which are the smallest balls. If you can’t find them, you can tear bigger mozzarella into smaller pieces.
- Garlic: You will mix it in minced into the tomatoes. And as mentioned, take a whole clove and rub it on the toasted bread.
- Olive oil: Definitely reach for your bottle of extra-virgin olive oil for the best taste.
- Balsamic vinegar adds a sharp accent to the tomatoes. If you want something more mild, you can use white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar.
- Fresh basil leaves are a requirement for bruschetta. Stack a few leaves on top of each other, roll them up and then slice them thinly.
- Red pepper flakes, salt & pepper season the tomatoes.
- Bread: Use a baguette or loaf of French bread, which is slightly wider.
How To Make Caprese Bruschetta
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
1. Toast the bread. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet without overlapping. Drizzle them with olive oil, turn them over to the other side and finish drizzling the oil. Toast the slices until they are lightly golden brown, flipping halfway through baking. This will take 16-18 minutes.
2. Rub the toasted baguette slices with a garlic clove.
3. Combine the tomatoes and mozzarella in a large bowl with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Let everything marinate for 15 minutes.
4. Stir the basil into the tomatoes.
5. Spoon the tomatoes and mozzarella on the toasted bread.
When you serve bruschetta, you can either top all the toast yourself first and then present it to your guests on a platter. Or put the tomatoes in a beautiful bowl with the bread next to it, and let everyone do the assembly themselves.
Store the tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. If you’re planning to have leftovers, don’t stir in the basil until you’re about it to eat it. Basil is a delicate herb! Also, wait to toast the bread before you the leftovers.
More Tomato & Mozzarella Recipes
- For bread
- 1 baguette or loaf of French bread sliced
- Olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- For tomatoes
- 2 pints grape tomatoes quartered
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella pearls or quartered mozzarella ciliegene
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus more for serving
- 1-2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil on both sides. Toast the bread in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Then flip it over to the other side and continue toasting for 8 minutes until the bread is lightly golden brown. When the bread is cool enough to handle, rub it with a garlic clove.
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, 3 tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Let everything marinate for 15 minutes. Then stir in the basil.
- Spoon the tomatoes and mozzarella onto the toasted bread. Sprinkle with black pepper before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.