This Bruschetta with Mozzarella is a cheesy twist on the classic tomato bruschetta. It's the perfect appetizer to make during tomato season. All you need are 6 ingredients and 30 minutes!
Why This Recipe Works
Bruschetta is such an easy appetizer or snack to whip up and there are so many options for toppings! It doesn't take much time and it's always a hit. I'm a big fan of both bruschetta and crostini but I usually choose more creative toppings for crostini (like this Butternut Squash Crostini) and just keep my bruschetta simple and classic.
In this recipe, I kept it classic with a small upgrade by adding cheese. It's a small addition but it's so delicious!
Both are appetizers made with sliced and toasted baguette and toppings but bruschetta uses thick slices of bread and crostini uses very thin slices. With bruschetta, the bread still has some chewiness in the center but crostini is crispy and crunchy throughout because it's so thin.
Ingredients and Substitutions
The ingredients for this recipe are super simple. It's just like a classic tomato bruschetta but with melted cheese!
Baguette - I like multigrain or whole wheat but any rustic French works.
Tomatoes - Regular round tomatoes work great. The bigger the tomato, the thicker the skin which will result in bigger pieces when you dice it which is why I go for smaller tomatoes. Using bigger ones makes the prep quicker though!
Red onion - It's totally up to you how big or small you dice it. I try to dice the onion as finely as possible, it helps to blend all the flavors together better. Dice it into bigger pieces to add more crunch. If you don't have red onion, you can use yellow onion or shallots.
Fresh basil - Fresh basil gives the mixture so much amazing flavor, use fresh whenever possible. If you don't have fresh basil, you can use dried basil, it just won't be as strong and fragrant as fresh.
Balsamic Vinegar - Balsamic vinegar has a very specific sweet and tangy taste you won't get with other vinegars so unfortunately there aren't any good substitutions. Sherry vinegar would probably be your best bet here but you might need to adjust the amount.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - This is optional. I add this to add a fat component to the mixture to round up the flavors and because olives go really great with all the other flavors.
Salt and Black Pepper - I recommend Himalayan pink salt or sea salt. Add freshly cracked black pepper to taste into the mixture but save the salt only for serving. It draws moisture out of the tomatoes and would make the mixture too runny.
Bocconcini aka Baby Mozzarella - This is optional but highly recommended. The cheese just adds another layer of flavor and sets this apart from other bruschettas! Use vegan mozzarella or goat/sheep mozzarella if needed. Alternatively, you can toast the bread and then spread it with cream cheese, goat cheese, or ricotta cheese.
How To Make It
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make the tomato, basil, and onion topping and the toasted baguette with melted mozzarella cheese.
When dicing the tomatoes, I recommend removing the seeds. This step is optional but it's simple to do and removes a lot of unnecessary liquid from the mixture. To do this, cut the tomato in quarters and use a small knife to carefully cut out the seeds. You can just snack on it as you work to avoid food waste!
Mix it all up - After you dice the tomatoes, finely dice the onion and chop the basil and add it to a bowl with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and pepper. Toss to mix and set aside until ready to serve.
Toasting the Baguette:
- First, slice the baguette into thick slices. Toast them in a preheated oven at 400F for 5 minutes.
- After you take it out of the oven, rub each slice with a clove of garlic on both sides. It will add extra flavor to the bruschetta. This is optional but highly recommended!
- Flip the slices untoasted side up, cut the little balls of mozzarella in half and add two halves to each slice.
- Raise the temperature to 450F and toast for another 5 minutes or until golden.
Once you've toasted the baguette with the cheese, it's time to serve! Top each slice with the tomato mixture and season with salt.
- Add a drizzle of balsamic glaze to intensify the balsamic taste on the bruschetta even more. Balsamic glaze is reduced balsamic vinegar. It gets cooked until it reduces and thickens up. It's really good so if you can get your hands on it, drizzle on some! It's also great on avocado toast or eggs.
- Turn it into a lunch - Toast a slice of sourdough bread, spread some goat cheese on it and top with the tomatoes. You can add an egg, or some protein on the side - salmon or tuna are great options. Swap the cheese for some mashed avocado and top it with smoked salmon, it's so good!
If you're making this as part of a lunch for a party or a get together, here are a few recipes that go great with it. All of these would also be great for a picnic!
- Spinach and Feta Triangles
- Goat Cheese Lentil Dip with Dill and Capers
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Store the tomato mixture in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days. Do not add any salt to it to prevent the tomatoes from releasing too much liquid. Keep the baguette fresh and toast it just before serving. You can use frozen bread too, it will just take a little more time in the oven to defrost.
No, there is no mozzarella in a classic bruschetta. It's something I add extra to make this appetizer more fun!
It's usually made with diced tomatoes, red onion, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar. Some recipes also include olive oil and garlic.
Bruschetta is thick slices of baguette brushed with olive oil served with various toppings. It's usually served with tomatoes but doesn't have to be.
The bread is toasted but the dish is meant to be served cold.
It keeps in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Do not add any salt to it so the tomatoes don't release too much juice. Season the finished bruschetta with salt right before serving.
- 1 baguette, cut into ¾” (2 cm) thick slices (I got 16 slices)
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion (½ large red onion)
- 1 kg tomatoes (I used 20 small tomatoes, not cherry tomatoes, 3-4 cups when diced)
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Black pepper to taste
- 150g (16 pieces) mini bocconcini (mini mozzarella)
- 1 clove garlic
- Sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to taste
- Balsamic glaze for serving (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400F (200C).
- Cut the baguette into thick slices and lay them on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Set aside.
- Chop the onion and add to a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Cut the tomatoes into quarters, remove the seeds (optional but prevents the mixture from being too runny), and dice into small pieces.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper to the bowl with diced red onions. Stir to mix everything and set aside.
- Cut the mini bocconcini into halves and set aside.
- Toast the prepared baguette slices in the oven for 5 mins on one side. Take them out of the oven, brush with the garlic clove, turn around, brush again and add two halves of the mini bocconcini to each slice.
- Turn the oven up to 450F (230C) and transfer the baguette back into the oven for another 5 mins or until the baguette is golden and the cheese is melted.
- Top the slices with the tomato mixture, season with salt and more pepper if desired, drizzle with the balsamic glaze if desired, and serve.
Salt: Don’t add the sea salt to the tomatoes because it would draw too much liquid out of them. Instead, sprinkle it on the finished bruschetta.
Storing: This bruschetta is best enjoyed right away. If you want to prepare it in advance, prepare the tomato mixture without the salt and pepper and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. Toast the baguette with the cheese right before serving.
Keywords: mozzarella, tomato, bruschetta