Salt & Wind Travel

How To Make Authentic Bruschetta Recipe

I’m finally sharing my authentic bruschetta recipe, a classic dish so well know it needs no introduction. But, just in case, the most basic bruschetta is nothing more than fresh tomatoes and extra-virgin olive oil on perfectly toasted bread.

Though we are always game for twists on classics, here I’m talking about the real deal authentic bruschetta recipe. Having lived in Florence and cooked with various local chefs over the years I’ve done research in Italy for our travel clients, I’ve made a LOT of bruschetta. I’m talking nonna’s version in the Tuscan countryside, my friend’s super simple version, and even one taught to me by a Florentine chef.

Three pieces of bruschetta on a wooden cutting board

But where does this dish even come from? Well, the word bruschetta originates from Roman dialect ‘bruscare,’ which means ‘to roast over coals.’ This dish’s roots aren’t totally clear but it’s believed to date back to ancient times when olive growers would toast bread to sample their freshly pressed oil.

At the simplest antipasto, bruschetta is just toasted bread drizzled with the finest olive oil (known as fettunta in Tuscany). But it gets even better with additions like garlic, tomatoes, olives, ricotta cheese, veggies, or herbs. Traditionally, the bread was grilled over charcoal embers, but you can also toast it in an oven, a regular toaster, or an Italian stovetop grill called a brustolina.

Whether it’s called bruschette, fettunta, or crostini, these are all authentic bruschetta recipes, rooted in Italian culinary traditions. Eventually tomato bruschetta was born when the fettunta was topped with an easy tomato mixture.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Embrace the essence of Italian cuisine with this dish, which is actually two distinct yet complementary recipes. First you’ll make the fettunta, which offers a garlicky, crisp base, while the tomato bruschetta topping provides a fresh, vibrant contrast. This combo will transport you to an Italian summer day, no matter where you are.

Just a quick note: true to Italian tradition, authentic bruschetta does not include balsamic vinegar, red onion, or cheese. The key to a great Italian bruschetta recipe is to focus on quality ingredients like ripe tomatoes, fruity extra virgin olive oil, and quality bread. Some variations of the classic bruschetta al pomodoro omit basil and other herbs, emphasizing the primary ingredients without additional flavors.

Bowl of heirloom tomatoes

Recipe Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this authentic bruschetta recipe: 

For the fettunta, you’ll need:

  • A loaf of crusty bread: This could be ciabbata bread, Tuscan bread, or sourdough
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: Use a top-quality olive oil here. Or, if you want to really double down on the garlic flavor, use this roasted garlic oil recipe
  • Garlic cloves: These are key so use at least two large cloves
  • Salt: Traditionally, the bread is not salted but we think it’s a good move to layer the flavors of the dish

The tomato bruschetta requires:

  • Ripe Tomatoes: This could be ripe plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes — just make sure they’re really flavorful!
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: The olive oil carries the flavor so be judicious with it
  • Garlic Cloves: A lot of traditionalists won’t add garlic to the dish but we like the flavor it brings
  • Fresh basil: Use about 10 to 15 basil leaves and cut them into ribbons so you get a bit of basil in each bite. 
  • Flaky sea salt: Put a pinch of flaky salt on top just before serving

How to Make This Recipe

Begin by grilling slices of pane Toscano until golden brown, then rub each piece with garlic and brush with olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper.

For the tomato topping, combine the diced tomatoes, their juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Let this sit at room temperature to marinate.

Before serving, strain the tomatoes, reserve the juice, and mix in torn basil. Spoon the tomato mixture over the toasted bread, drizzle with olive oil and some reserved tomato juice, and serve immediately.

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What to Pair This Recipe With

Pair this authentic Italian bruschetta with a crisp, dry white wine like Pinot Grigio or a medium red like Chianti. For a complete meal, accompany it with a selection of Italian cheeses, cured meats, and olives. These sides complement the bright acidity of the tomatoes and the robust flavors of the garlic and olive oil.

Bruschetta can be served as an appetizer or as a larger meal. It pairs excellently with Italian dishes such as pasta, salads, and grilled meats or seafood. For a casual gathering, bruschetta can be served as part of an antipasto platter alongside cheeses, cured meats, olives, and other finger foods. 

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Delicious Variations

While this authentic bruschetta recipe is beloved for its simplicity, you can use a variety of toppings. Consider drizzling salsa verde or pesto over the tomato mixture for a herby twist, or enhance the richness by tearing some burrata or adding curls of prosciutto on top.

Other common additions include diced mozzarella or burrata cheese, chopped olives, capers, anchovies, or a sprinkle of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. For a fresh twist, try adding diced cucumber or avocado. Each variation can complement the basic tomato mixture while adding a layer of taste and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Authentic bruschetta requires simple but high-quality ingredients: ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, high-quality extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

These ingredients are combined and spooned over slices of toasted bread, typically a rustic Italian bread, which has been rubbed with a cut garlic clove and drizzled with olive oil.

To prepare the tomatoes for bruschetta, start by selecting ripe, firm tomatoes. Wash and core the tomatoes, then chop them into small, even dice. To prevent the bruschetta from becoming too soggy, you can optionally seed the tomatoes by gently squeezing out the seeds or scooping them out with a spoon before dicing. This step helps to ensure that the bruschetta topping remains rich and flavorful without excess liquid.

The best type of bread for bruschetta is a rustic Italian loaf or a good quality sourdough—these varieties offer a sturdy crust and flavorful crumb that holds up well under the tomato mixture. Slice the bread about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Grill or toast the bread slices until they are golden and crispy, then while still warm, rub one side of each slice with a cut clove of garlic and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. This infuses the bread with a delicious garlic flavor and rich texture.

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More Bruschetta Recipes

Now that you know how to make traditional bruschetta, here are a few different varieties of bruschetta you can serve at your next party:

Bowl of heirloom tomato bruschetta topping

Classic Tomato Bruschetta Recipe

Elevate your appetizers with our authentic bruschetta recipe. This classic Italian starter, featuring fresh tomatoes and basil, brings a burst of Mediterranean flavor to your table!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 483 kcal


For The Fettunta:

  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread or Tuscan bread
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Maldon sea salt or other flaky sea salt, for garnish

For The Tomato Bruschetta Topping:

  • 3 pounds heirloom tomatoes medium dice, juice reserved
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves plus more for garnish (optional)
  • Maldon sea salt or other flaky sea salt, for garnish


For The Fettunta:

  • Cut the slices of bread into thick slices and coat thoroughly in olive oil. You can simply brush the bread with olive oil, but we like to dip it into a dish or olive oil on each side to get as much flavor as possible.  Toast the bread slices on a traditional brustolina grill, in a grill pan or on a grill over medium heat.
  • Once the toast is golden and has grill marks, flip it and grill on the other side. Remove from the heat, rub the toast with a peeled clove of garlic; add oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    (Alternatively, put the fettunta slices on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400°F until golden brown.)

For The Tomato Bruschetta Topping:

  • Combine the diced tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, oil, garlic, and salt (use 1 1/2 teaspoons if you don’t like spicy and up to 3 teaspoons if you do) in a large nonreactive bowl. Stir gently to coat well, and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving. 
  • When the tomatoes are ready, strain them but reserve the excess juice. Tear the basil leaves into bite-sized pieces and stir into the tomato mixture. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste.
  • Top each fettunta with a few spoonfuls of the tomato bruschetta mixture, drizzle with olive oil and a slight drizzle of the reserved tomatoes juices. Top with a pinch of flaky sea salt and serve immediately.



Serving: 1 servingCalories: 483kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 13gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 1732mgPotassium: 820mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 2860IUVitamin C: 48mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Italian appetizer, summer appetizers, summer bruschetta, tomatoes
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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