It’s tomato season, and these juicy little gems are everywhere. Tomatoes are such a perfect food; you can slice them and eat them with a sprinkle of salt, cook them down for a marinara sauce or layer them with mozzarella for a Caprese salad; the possibilities are endless.
And if you like spicy sauce, try Calabrian nduja spreadable sausage for a bruschetta pizza that tastes like pizza a la calabrese.
One of our favorite ways to use up these bright balls of flavor is in a bruschetta pizza. If you have never had bruschetta pizza, you are in for a treat.
What is Bruschetta?
Bruschetta (pronounced broo·skeh·tuh) is an Italian anti-pasto or appetizer made with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and basil spread on little toasts. The word comes from the Italian word bruscare, which means “to roast over coals,” and is a reference to the little toasts the tomato mixture is served on.
While bruschetta is usually made with tomatoes, it can have other savory toppings like roasted red peppers, tuna, tapenade, or pesto. They are similar to canapes, but canapes are more open-ended and can be made on different types of crackers, toasts, or even flatbreads. And bruschetta is always on toasted bread brushed with olive oil and garlic; from there, you can add your favorite savory ingredients.
Since it’s tomato season, we are going to stick with the classic bruschetta for our bruschetta pizza. Classic bruschetta is simple yet sophisticated with fresh tomatoes and herbs.
We know what you are thinking. What about the cheese? Well, traditionally, bruschetta doesn’t have cheese which makes it a great pizza for non-dairy diners. But, if the idea of pizza without cheese just seems wrong, you can add cheese a couple of different ways.
You can use bite-sized pieces of fresh mozzarella and mix them in with your tomatoes. Another option is adding crumbled feta or blue cheese for a tangy bite. Cheese or no cheese is up to personal tastes. Just keep in mind that the tomato mix is served fresh and so the cheese is not melted. But we will get to that in a minute.
Bruschetta Pizza vs. Margarita Pizza
Bruschetta pizza sounds similar to Margarita pizza, but they have some key differences. A Margarita pizza is topped with cheese and either oregano or fresh basil and then baked to ooey-gooey perfection.
And a bruschetta pizza is a mix of tomatoes and herbs in olive oil and topped on a cooked crust. It’s light, fresh, and delicious.
Best Tomatoes for Bruschetta Pizza
Bruschetta pizza is a tomato-heavy dish, so you want to choose the best tomatoes you can find. In the past, we have made bruschetta pizza with cherry tomatoes and Roma tomatoes, and even little yellow tomatoes that we grew in a container one summer. They were all excellent. This might be the one type we don’t expressly recommend San Marzano tomatoes.
The only type of tomatoes that aren’t the best choice are large tomatoes like beefsteak tomatoes because they are watery and not as flavorful, so save the big tomatoes for slicing and topping a burger and opt for smaller varieties for bruschetta pizza.
Your local farmers’ market is a great place to get the best tomatoes that summer has to offer. Or try your hand at growing your own tomatoes in a pizza garden.
Tips to Prepare Tomatoes for Bruschetta Pizza
- Always remove the seeds. Tomato seeds can be bitter, but the main reason to remove the seeds is the watery membrane will make your bruschetta pizza too soggy.
- You don’t need to peel the tomatoes, but you can if that’s your preference. Easily peel tomatoes by blanching them for about three minutes and then place them in an ice bath to cool and peel.
- Use good olive oil.
- Use fresh garlic.
- If using cheese, make sure it is chopped or crumbled and roughly the same size as tomato pieces.
- If raw garlic is too much for you, you can use garlic-infused olive oil to get a hint of garlic without the intensity. Or try rubbing a piece of fresh garlic on the pizza crust after it has been parbaked.
How to Make Bruschetta Pizza
The most important tool you need to make bruschetta pizza is a good knife because there is a lot of chopping and mincing in bruschetta. A few other things you will need.
The ingredients to make one 12-inch bruschetta pizza are:
- ½ cup Olive oil
- Pizza dough or pre-made crust
- Sea salt
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- 6 cloves fresh garlic (give or take, depending on how much you like garlic)
- 1 pound of tomatoes chopped
- Crushed red pepper
- Black pepper
- Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Bruschetta pizza is probably one of the easiest Italian recipes out there. You just need to add all ingredients to a bowl and mix. Then set aside for 15 minutes to let the flavors marinate together.
While the mix is marinating, you can prepare your pizza crust. If you are in a time crunch, then feel free to use a pre-made crust, but if you really want a delicious bruschetta pizza, we recommend making your own pizza dough and grilling it.
If you have never made grilled pizza, trust us, it’s worth the time to fire up the grill. The charred crust is the best way to enjoy bruschetta pizza.
Once the pizza crust has been cooked, you can add the tomato mix to the pizza and serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It’s a fresh treat packed with flavorful tomatoes and is an amazing addition to your pizza repertoire.
Variations of Bruschetta
One of the things we love about Italian food, pizza especially, is there are so many variations, and they are all delicious. And bruschetta is no exception; there are a lot of ways to make it.
- In Rome, bruschetta is topped with anchovies and fresh mozzarella.
- In Sicily, oregano replaces basil.
- In Tuscany, tomatoes are replaced with white cannellini beans in olive oil and herbs.
- In Abruzzo, bruschetta is topped with pork salami.
- In poor regions of southern Italy, it is called fettunta, meaning oily bread, and is just that bread with olive oil.
- In Sicily, bruschetta is often topped with caponata, a type of relish made with eggplant, green olives, peppers, and pine nuts.
We haven’t made the Sicilian one yet, but it’s next on our list to make, and when we do, we will share how it turns out.
Have you tried bruschetta pizza?