I love a fresh, light appetizer and a summery bruschetta checks all of those boxes. Combine beautiful, vine-ripe tomatoes, minced garlic, lots of fresh basil, a splash of fruity olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the result is heavenly.
Of course, the season for vine-ripe tomatoes and basil right-out-the-back-door is sadly short and this type of bruschetta is just not the same at other times of the year. But that doesn't mean appetizers full of fresh, vibrant flavor can't be enjoyed in the cooler months too.
This Winter Market Bruschetta is aways a winner. Even though warm, sunny days and garden fresh produce seem like distant memories, it's a great way to serve a healthy and delicious appetizer.
With a simple list of ingredients, it's easy to put together. Seedless cucumbers, red and yellow bell peppers and red onions are all readily available at this time of year. Rosemary and parsley are winter herbs that add lots of fresh flavor to the bruschetta and, if you live in a moderate climate, they might even be still flourishing in your garden.
Diced Feta cheese gives a touch of saltiness and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds brightness. A drizzle of good olive oil ties the whole thing together deliciously.
I love serving this fresh, light bruschetta around the holidays, when so much of what's offered is heavy, rich and/or indulgent. It seems that our guests are always delighted with it.
It's the perfect dish to take to a party, potluck or office get-together. Serve it with crostini or pita chips - be sure to make plenty, as it disappears quickly!
If this bruschetta looks vaguely familiar, you're right! I make a summer version of this called Farmer's Market Bruschetta with just picked corn, zucchini, peppers and lots of fresh thyme. It's crazy delicious, but much better for the sunny days of summer, when produce is so abundant and fresh, it's almost ridiculous. You might want to pin this one for about 6 months down the road (unless you live in Australia or New Zealand!)
For both of these bruschettas, I use my handy dandy chopper. It hardly takes any time to dice fresh peppers, onions, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, etc. - and makes these appetizers a breeze!
P.S. If you happen to be lucky enough to have a bit of this delicious bruschetta left over, try this: heat about a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and add a soft naan. Cook for just a minute or so on each side till light golden. Spread the naan with hummus, add some sliced or shredded chicken and top it off with big spoonful of the bruschetta, along with a few pitted Kalamata olives - delish!
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- 1 small yellow bell pepper diced small, about ¼ inch
- 1 small red bell pepper diced small, about ¼ inch
- 1 small red onion diced small, about ¼ inch
- 1 medium seedless cucumber unpeeled diced small, about ¼ inch
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 2 ounces Feta* cheese diced small, about ¼ inch or crumbled
- fresh ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients except herbs and Feta in a medium size bowl and stir to combine.
Add herbs (reserve about 1 teaspoon for garnish, if desired) and Feta. Stir gently to combine. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and reserved herbs. Serve with crostini or pita chips. Serves 6-8 as an appetizer.
Look for Feta cheese in bulk rather than crumbled. If you can't find the bulk, just sprinkle the crumbled over the top instead of mixing in with the other ingredients.