Gluten-Free Garlic Bread Bruschetta

Two favorite appetizers join forces in this gluten-free garlic bread bruschetta, made extra pretty with a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes ripe for casual entertaining. Whip these up for a quick appetizer or snack for your next party. Thanks to Vermont Creamery for sponsoring this post!

Platter of Gluten-Free Garlic Bread Bruschetta

Bruschetta is one of those quintessentially genius Italian dishes. Just a few ingredients turn out a casual appetizer or snack that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Bruschetta is always a crowd pleaser. This gluten-free garlic bread bruschetta breaks with tradition by joining buttery garlic bread enhanced with oregano and pepper flakes with everyone’s favorite summery tomato topping.

Italian Bruschetta: It’s Not What You Think

Up until today, I thought bruschetta referred to slices of toasted bread topped with basil-infused tomatoes. I was wrong. Bruschetta dates back to the 15th century where Roman olive growers would toast bread with which to taste their freshly pressed olive oil. The term bruschetta comes from the verb “bruscare” which in Roman dialect means “to toast” or “roast over coals.” Thus traditional bruschetta needn’t contain tomatoes at all, but merely refers to any toasted bread.

In Italy, bruschetta might be topped with anything from beans to cheese to meats to other vegetables. By this definition, bruschetta is the same thing as crostini! MIND = BLOWN.

But in the US, bruschetta has come to refer to the tomato topped toasts you see here. Combine this with garlic butter toasted bread and you have yourself a dish that, while not traditional, is definitely delicious: gluten-free garlic bread bruschetta.

Ingredients for Gluten-Free Garlic Bread Bruschetta

How to Pronounce Bruschetta

The correct way to pronounce bruschetta is with a hard “k” sound where you think the “sh” should be: broos-KEH-tah. In Italian, “che” and “chi” are pronounced “keh” and “key.” (Think: Chianti.) The verb bruschetta originates from, bruscare (brus-KAH-re), also has a hard “k” sound. I studied Italian in college and spent a year studying and writing in Bologna so forgive me nerding out a bit here! Now onto gluten-free garlic bread bruschetta…

Garlic butter

When Garlic Bread met Bruschetta

The idea for this gluten-free garlic bread bruschetta recipe came to me when I was craving garlic bread but wanted to make use of summer tomatoes too. I mixed some softened butter with pressed garlic cloves plus a sprinkle of oregano and red pepper flakes for flavor, spread this heavenly mixture on sliced gluten free baguette, and toasted them in the broiler. I topped them with chopped tomato goodness, olive oil, and herbs and voilà: garlic bread bruschetta was born. A sprinkle of Vermont Creamery goat cheese crumbles is lovely here too!

Making gluten-free garlic bread

Gluten-Free Garlic Bread & Gluten-Free Bruschetta

The key to great gluten-free garlic bread and gluten-free bruschetta is good, crusty gluten-free bread. This can be hard to find, but lucky for me (and you!) my friend Reah owns Arise Bakery in Humboldt, California. Reah’s gluten-free baguettes and sourdough boules are just as good as the real thing, especially when spread with butter and toasted. As a bonus they ship anywhere in the US. If you live in or near San Francisco you can find their gluten free baguettes, sliced sourdough, and sliced white bread at Rainbow Grocery. Arise goodies are also carried at some Whole Foods in the California Bay Area and Good Earth in Marin.

Gluten-Free Garlic Bread

If you can’t get your hands on Arise gluten-free bread, other good brands include:

Rainbow bruschetta tomatoes

Garlic Bread Bruschetta for a Crowd

This garlic bread bruschetta makes a crowd-pleasing dish for outdoor parties and potlucks. The garlic bread and tomato toppings can both be prepared ahead of time and assembled when ready to serve. If you’re grilling, you can even throw the garlic buttered bread right on the grill. It’s quick to assemble and can hold at room temperature for up to an hour or so. The bread soaks in the tomato juices and the flavors get better and better.

Platter of Gluten-Free Garlic Bread Bruschetta

Ingredients for Garlic Bread Bruschetta

Since this recipe uses few ingredients, be sure to source excellent quality ones to make this dish shine:

  • Tomatoes should be deeply colored, firm-ripe, and bursting with flavor. I’m especially fond of dry farmed early girls, which are candy-sweet, dense-fleshed, and ultra tasty. But I can never resist snapping up a rainbow of heirlooms from my co-op. If using multi-colored tomatoes, you can keep the colors separate to experience the different subtleties of each variety, as shown here. If it’s early in the season, you can use cherry tomatoes instead.
  • Butter is not all created equal. I’m a fan of Vermont Creamery’s cultured butter, which starts with fresh, local cream. They add extra flavor by fermenting their cream overnight before churning it into butter. This culturing process gives their butter a subtle tang, bringing out nuanced flavors. Their salted butter is so addictive, I can never resist cutting a tiny sliver and letting it melt in my mouth. The taste is clean, sweet, and full of flavor. It’s truly the most delicious butter I’ve tasted.
  • Olive oil should be fresh, unprocessed, and the highest quality you can afford. I like olive oil with full flavor but minimal bitterness. So do like the Roman olive growers and sample different oils on a piece of toasted bread to find your favorite. I usually get Enzo olive oil, which comes in mild, medium, and bold flavors and is made organically in California.
  • Garlic should be freshly purchased so it tastes bright and clean. Be sure to remove any sprouting bits inside the garlic cloves as these can add bitterness. And whatever you do, stay away from pre-peeled garlic which is often rancid.
  • Bread for garlic bread bruschetta should ideally be rustic and crusty. I use gluten-free baguette from Arise Bakery here, but any flavorful gluten-free bread that you like the taste of will work, more suggestions listed above!
  • Balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction – it pays to seek out a high quality balsamic vinegar made traditionally and with extra aging time until thick and sweet. Alternatively, you can use balsamic reduction which is cooked down until the consistency of warm caramel sauce. It makes an addictive sweet-tart finish to this dish.

Close-up of Gluten-Free Garlic Bread Bruschetta

Are you a bruschetta fan? Let me know in the comments below!

*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram,  Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this gluten-free garlic bread bruschetta, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet  and  #bojongourmet.*

Platter of Gluten-Free Garlic Bread Bruschetta
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Garlic Bread Bruschetta {gluten-free}

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Two favorite appetizers join forces in this gluten-free garlic bread bruschetta, made extra pretty with a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes ripe for casual entertaining.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Garlic Bread:

  • 8 tablespoons (113 g) Vermont Creamery cultured butter with sea salt, softened
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and put through a press
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • A few turns black pepper
  • Sea salt, if needed
  • 1 pound (450 g) crusty bread such as baguette or batard, sliced a scant ½ inch thick on the diagonal (I use Arise Bakery gluten-free baguette)

Topping:

  • 2 pounds (900 g) ripe tomatoes (such as dry farmed early girls, heirlooms, or a combination - about 6 baseball-sized tomatoes or the equivalent)
  • 3 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
  • handful basil leaves, slivered and/or fresh oregano or marjoram to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt, or to taste
  • Splash balsamic vinegar, or balsamic reduction for finishing
  • Vermont Creamery classic goat cheese crumbles for sprinkling (optional but delicious!)

Instructions

Garlic Bread:

  • Preheat the broiler.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the softened butter, garlic, oregano, chili flakes, and pepper. Taste, adding more salt if you like.
  • Smear each bread slice with garlic butter and place on a baking sheet. Toast under the broiler until golden and crisp. This can take anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes depending on your broiler strength and positioning and bread heartiness. Mine took 3 minutes.
  • The garlic toasts are best freshly toasted but can be made an hour or two ahead if need be.

Bruschetta Topping:

  • Rinse and dry the tomatoes. Using a small, sharp, preferably serrated knife, cut each tomato in half around the circumference. Place a strainer over a bowl and gently squeeze the seeds and juice of each tomato half into the strainer. I like to save the juice for drinking – a treat for the chef. Discard the seeds.
  • Dice the seeded tomatoes into scant ½ inch cubes and place in a medium bowl. Alternatively if you’re going for the rainbow effect shown here, put the diced tomatoes in individual bowls by color. Add the olive oil, herbs, salt, and vinegar, and toss gently. Taste, adding more of any ingredient you like.
  • This mixture can also be made up to an hour or two ahead. Note that the tomatoes will continue to drop more juices as they sit.
  • When ready to serve, top each garlic toast with a spoonful of tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic reduction, and a sprinkle of goat cheese if using. The garlic bread bruschetta is best served right away but it will hold for up to an hour or so.
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!

Platter of Gluten-Free Garlic Bread Bruschetta

close-up of Gluten-Free Garlic Bread Bruschetta

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6 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Garlic Bread Bruschetta”

  1. If you’re a nerd then so am I. I’m Italian. My first language was Italian. So my sweet daughter goes to college. Comes home and she is talking about going to a restaurant and had some ahhhhmaaazing brewshhhetta. I gently corrected her. She argued that I was wrong. ARGH!!! After many years I still hear her slip with her oh so enlightened friends. Well, we know what’s good and what’s right!! The bruschetta looks amazing.

  2. thank you for making this bruschetta distinction, I always thought it was that one thing, the tomato-based toast, love all of these other versions and wonderful options, so thank you