Bruschetta Bar

Who’s ready for a party??

A Bruschetta Bar is perfect for entertaining guests, with tons of options for toppings like Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella, Mushroom Bruschetta and Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread!

Because today I’m bringing you a fun, inventive way to serve up some light snacks to your next party guests – a homemade Bruschetta Bar!


In all honesty, today’s post should only be considered the tip of the iceberg, because the possibilities are endless. I’ll get you started with some of what I consider the “must-have” basics for any Bruschetta Bar, and then leave it up to you to get creative from there and come up with some of your own toppings. You could even add these Butternut Squash Crostini with Crispy Prosciutto and Sage or these Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey to the spread if you really want to wow everyone. There are endless possibilities!

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I came up to the Bay Area last week for a friend’s baby shower. She’s due just a few weeks before me (another girl!) and I am so excited to be going on this journey with her. It has been great to have someone to talk to and compare stories with as we both experience pregnancy for the first time. It is a pretty big life change, after all!

So when my friend asked if I’d be willing to help with some food for her shower, of course I jumped at the chance. She’s been having a little rougher time with morning sickness than I have, so I was sure to ask her what types of food were sounding best to her before planning the menu. I would hate to show up to her shower with a bunch of food that made her feel sick!

A Bruschetta Bar would not be complete without both a sweet and savory option: Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella and Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines!

After a little discussion back and forth, we decided on a Bruschetta Bar. We thought it would be the perfect “light snack” to have available for a mid-afternoon shower, would hold up well in the heat (this was an outdoor shower in the month of August, after all) and actually sounded appetizing to her.

So how do we create a Bruschetta Bar?? Well, my friends, it is incredibly easy (like, you’re going to smack yourself in the forehead after reading this if you have never thought of serving a Bruschetta Bar at a get-together before.) You simply put out a bunch of different topping options (or, better yet, have your friends each bring a topping, potluck style), toast up a big batch of crostini and set it all out for your guests to go to town. That’s it, no last-minute frantic rush in the kitchen or need to dish out plates for your guests. My favorite kind of entertaining!

A Bruschetta Bar is an easy entertaining idea that will keep all guests happy, especially with a Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella and Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread!

As you can see by now (and as I mentioned before), there is really a myriad of directions you could go for your Bruschetta Bar. Here are the basics I settled on for my friend’s shower:

Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella
Mushroom Bruschetta
Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread
Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines

Each topping is incredibly easy to make, with minimal ingredients and not a lot of cooking required. At first glance it may seem intimidating, but I promise you it’s a breeze to throw together. You can also prep a lot of the toppings ahead of time, which means less pressure on you to be in the kitchen and more time to sit and enjoy the company of your guests.

A Roasted Eggplant and White Bean Spread stars in this super-easy Bruschetta Bar.

Read on for the topping recipes, toast up some crostini and be sure to tell me about some of your other favorite variations in the comments below!

Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Classic Tomato Bruschetta with Mozzarella
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil come together to form the perfect topping for golden crostini when paired with creamy mozzarella.

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into slices the size of your crostini
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. For best results, refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve in a bowl with a platter of mozzarella alongside.

 

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Mushroom Bruschetta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Finely chopped mushrooms sauteed in olive oil with a touch of fresh tarragon make the perfect addition to a fun Bruschetta Bar.

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add oil to a saute pan over medium heat. Once oil is warm, add mushrooms, stirring over medium heat until they begin to sweat. Add tarragon and garlic and continue stirring until mushrooms are cooked through. Squeeze in lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Roasted Eggplant White Bean Spread
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Roasted eggplant and white beans come together to form a smooth, silky spread that is perfect to spread on toasted crostini.

Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 5 cloves peeled garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the eggplant, garlic, olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread mixture out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

  2. Add roasted eggplant and garlic, cannellini beans, olive oil and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor and process until a smooth puree forms. Add salt and pepper to taste, pureeing between each addition to incorporate. 

  3. For best results, refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

 

Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Honeyed Ricotta Goat Cheese Spread with Fresh Nectarines
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This sweet, tangy and creamy spread is delicious when paired with fresh nectarines and used to top crunchy crostini.

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 fresh nectarines, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Stir together ricotta, goat cheese, cream cheese and honey in a medium mixing bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve in a bowl alongside a platter of the freshly sliced nectarines.

Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini

Because no good barbecue ever started without a delicious appetizer!

A pile of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini to make for your next get-together.

And one that’s loaded with fresh basil, sweet cherries and creamy ricotta cheese. Yea, I’m pretty sure these Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini are going to be the only appetizer you want to serve at get-togethers for as long as you can get your hands on the fresh cherries that are loading Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores right now.


I warned you on Friday that I’m having a bit of cherry-fever right now, so bear with me as I get just one more cherry-based recipe out of my system. I mean, don’t you want something delicious to snack on while you sip on your equally delicious Cherry Bourbon Breezes this afternoon?

We’re up in Tahoe enjoying one more full day before heading home, and it’s my hubby’s birthday! Big plans for the day include relaxing in the sun, most likely doing some sort of outdoor activity and eating lots and lots of food. I may even need to make a trip to the store so we can whip up some Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini! What are you up to today?

Rows upon rows of delicious Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini, the perfect appetizer for your next get-together.

I hope you have lots of great food on the menu. Having an excuse to get a bunch of friends together and eat all day is one of my favorite things about long weekends. Bonus if you can enjoy some time outdoors while the weather is this beautiful! Is it just me or does getting out in the fresh air and sunshine really do a body good? I think I took it for granted for so long because of the multi-year drought we’d been suffering through in California. We really had no bad weather days, and TBH I was missing it! But that all changed this past year and we’ve gotten quite a bit of rain and crummy weather, which is definitely helping us get out of the drought but also made me appreciate the nice weather more!

So I hope you take your party outside today and whip up some Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini in addition to all of the other delicious things you’ll be making. Because they are too good not to!

I was going back and forth between making a watermelon caprese or cherry salsa, but since I just shared this Spicy Homemade Salsa and I already have this summery Hazelnut Pesto Caprese Couscous in the lineup, I decided to mix it up and make a savory-sweet crostini. After all, handheld foods are the best foods, especially when cooking for a casual crowd!

A beautiful display of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini, ready to be enjoyed by all of your dinner party guests!

The two very great things about these Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini are that (a) you can prep the time-consuming stuff in advance and (b) once that stuff is prepped the recipe comes together in a flash.

And when I talk about time-consuming…It’s really not that bad folks. All I’m referring to is toasting the crostini and pitting the cherries. We can all handle that, right?

Note: On pitting cherries, you need no fancy equipment whatsoever, just a handy straw! Simply poke the straw through the center of the cherry and the pit should pop right out the other end. Easy!

When I made this recipe, I toasted my crostini first thing in the morning and then went back and added the toppings right before I wanted to serve it. I also made the cherry topping in the morning and stored it in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it.

But can we just talk about this cherry topping for a second? Because I was sort of winging it but am SO happy with the way it turned out. And it’s soooo easy. All it consists of are the cherries, lemon zest, a shallot and balsamic vinegar. Nothing more, nothing less. Now I think that’s something we can all handle, am I right?

A close-up shot of a piece of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini. You won't be able to stop eating these!

Once you have your toasted crostini and you’re ready to serve, slather each piece with some creamy ricotta and then sprinkle on a light dusting of salt and pepper.

Next, top each crostini with a fairly generous scoop of the cherry topping.

Finally, sprinkle on some chopped fresh basil. All ready to go!

I’m not going to lie, I ate about five of these crostini for lunch when I made them and then proceeded to eat about eight more that night with dinner. I could not stop! I’m pretty sure if you give these a shot you’ll be in the same boat as me, so try your best to share 😉

Rows of Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini ready to be consumed at your next cookout!

I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with fun, food and friends!

Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

With fresh cherries and basil gracing ricotta-smothered bread slices, these fresh, vibrant crostini will help you welcome in summer with ease.

Course: Appetizer
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 16 ounces fresh cherries, pitted and diced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 ounces ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Turn the broiler in your oven on high. Cover a cookie sheet or large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and place as many baguette slices as you can on it. Brush each slice (on both sides) with olive oil and place under broiler. Broil on high for 2-4 minutes each side (keep a close eye on them as they can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds!) then remove and let cool. 

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cherries, shallot, lemon zest and balsamic vinegar. 

  3. Once your crostini are cool, start generously spreading ricotta on each piece, then lightly sprinkle on salt and pepper.

  4. Place a big spoonful (about a tablespoon and a half depending on the size of your slices) of the cherry topping on top of each piece, then sprinkle on the basil. 

Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey

Sometimes bite-size foods are the best foods.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey are no exception! They’re salty, sweet and tangy, and fit in the palm of your hand. They’re portable and the perfect addition to a cocktail party or get-together (did someone say Oscars?)


I’ve always been a snacker. When given the choice between a gigantic meal that will likely leave me bloated and sluggish or light snacks throughout the day, I’ll 100% of the time go for the latter. Plus, that way I get to try allll of the different things. Don’t pin me down, I want to taste all the food!

Speaking of snacking, the hubby and I are especially good at it on the weekends, and this past weekend (wait, are we still in “the weekend” since today is President’s Day?) was no exception. We were up in NorCal for a baby shower on Saturday, then took advantage of the long weekend and being so close to Napa and headed up to Wine Country on Sunday. We’re headed back to SB but will be back up in NorCal next weekend. It’s turning into quite the frequent commute for us, but we don’t mind the drive. We always joke that we’d rather make the 4-6 hour drive up to the Bay Area than the 2-3 hour drive down to LA because we never hit any traffic.

Anyhow, we really enjoyed seeing so many of our NorCal friends this past weekend. It seems like with the craziness of the holidays and the subsequent need to just hibernate and do nothing in the beginning of the new year, it’s been ages since we’ve seen everyone. Now we’re celebrating babies and multiple engagements and I can’t believe all of that has happened since we’ve last seen everyone!

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

These Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey are just the type of thing I like to make for casual get-togethers with our friends, no matter where we are. They’re pretty darn easy and require almost no actual cooking, so you can really whip them up anywhere. Might I also add that they’re the perfect things to munch on when you’re sipping on some delicious Napa wine? Let me tell you, these crostini and a crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc are a match made in heaven.

The hardest part about this recipe is literally toasting up the sliced baguette to make crostini. If you can toast bread under a broiler without burning it, you’re in good shape. If not, just add the toppings to untoasted bread and these puppies will still taste absolutely divine.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

After you have your baguette slices toasted, simply spread each one with a hefty dollop of chevre (that’s creamy goat cheese for all you non-cheese snobs out there), top with the apricot and pistachio mixture, and drizzle on some honey. That’s it!

I’d also like to point out the absolutely necessity of a couple of things:

  1. Toast your nuts. I know, this technically requires more cooking, but it’s a must for ANY recipe that involves nuts. Just trust me.
  2. Chop your dried apricots. Nobody wants a crostini where they have to gnaw through a huge chunk of something so they can be sure to get a taste of it in every bit. Also, I’m a huge fan of the fatter, juicier dried apricots as opposed to the flatter, more dehydrated ones. They are definitely a must IMHO.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, now that you have the down-low on all that goes into these drool-inducing Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey, I’ll let you get to it! It’s a holiday after all, so you deserve a little something to go along with that bottle of wine you’re sure to pop the cork on today 😉

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

These bite-size hors d'oevures are perfectly balanced with sweet, salt and tangy flavors. Pistachios, goat cheese and apricots are a match made in heaven!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 6 ounces chevre (creamy goat cheese)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nutmeats, toasted
  • 1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces honey (approximately)
Instructions
  1. Turn the broiler on high. Arrange the baguette slices on a sheet pan and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they become golden-brown. Keep a close eye on them, as they can get too dark in a matter of seconds. 

  2. Remove crostini from the oven and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to touch, spread about a tablespoon or so of the goat cheese on each piece. 

  3. Combine the pistachios and dried apricots in a small bowl, then sprinkle on top of each crostini. 

  4. Drizzle each piece with honey and serve immediately.

Goat Cheese, Apricot and Pistachio Crostini with Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com