Bruschetta, the Italians’ answer to chips and salsa, can make a perfectly healthy beginning to a meal. That’s why it’s especially shocking to see that restaurants like Carrabba’s can turn a simple creation into a full-blown caloric calamity. Start your meal with something like this bruschetta recipe, and you can forget about the rest of dinner (and breakfast the next morning).
240 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated), 410 mg sodium
For both Bruschetta recipes:
1 baguette, cut on the diagonal into 1⁄2″ slices
For the Tomato Basil Bruschetta:
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (Italians don’t love raw garlic, so instead they simply cut a clove in half and rub it across the toasted bread. Feel free to follow suit.)
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Pepperonata Bruschetta:
½ cup part-skim ricotta
2 cups Pepperonata, warmed (Make a big batch and save the leftovers to stuff into an omelet or scatter across sandwiches and pizza.)
For making the Pepperonata:
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 bell peppers, cut into 1⁄2″ chunks
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
How to Make It
For the Bruschetta:
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake until light brown (but still soft in the middle).
- While the bread bakes, mix the tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the bread from the oven and arrange on a large serving plate or individual plates.
- Top half with the tomato mixture.
- Slather the other half with the ricotta, then top with a small scoop of the peppers from the pepperonata (see how-to below).
For the homemade Pepperonata:
- Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic cloves and pepper flakes and cook just long enough to infuse the oil, about 1 minute.
- Toss in the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are soft and lightly blistered (the best way to do this is with a screaming hot pan).
- Add the vinegar and cook for a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Store tightly covered in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Eat This Tip
These five flavor combinations also make beautiful bruschetta:
- Canned chickpeas sautéed with tomatoes and diced jalapeño
- Jarred tapenade and feta
- Sautéed spinach and shaved Parmesan
- Canned white beans sautéed with jarred artichoke hearts
- Pan-roasted mushrooms
This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!