Pesto Bruschetta

Pesto Bruschetta combines three of my favorite things – juicy tomatoes, rich, creamy pesto and toasty bread. It’s a tasty and unique appetizer that everyone will love!

wood cutting board with bruschetta pieces, a dish of pesto, a dish of parmesan cheese, tomatoes

If I could, I would eat everything on top of a crispy crostini. Everything’s better with bread! Especially dips, like my Loaded Cream Cheese Dip, and BLT Dip.

There was some nut free pesto in my fridge leftover from my creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta, one of my family’s favorite meals. I also happened to have some juicy heirloom tomatoes from our produce delivery box (use my affiliate code KRIS3589 for $15 off!) and I was really craving bruschetta. I whipped up some crostini and got ready make myself a nice little lunch with the tomatoes and it hit me that I had some pesto to use up. It was like a brilliant lightbulb moment as I spread some of the pesto on a small slice of bread and topped it with the tomatoes and a little Parmesan.

It was so tasty – so much was going on at once! The juiciness of the tomatoes, the creaminess of the pesto, the crispiness of the bread and the sharpness of the Parmesan all together in perfect harmony. It was by far the best lunch I’ve ever made.

What is Bruschetta with Pesto?

Bruschetta is basically toasted bread with a topping, usually a tomato, basil and olive oil mixture. Pesto is a basil and olive oil based sauce, often served as a dip or with pasta. Layering the two together on top of toasted bread is a match made in heaven!

How to Make Pesto Bruschetta

collage of three images showing bread, then bread with pesto, then bread with pesto and diced tomatoes

There are three main components to this recipe that are each made separately.

  1. Tomato topping – combine tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Traditional bruschetta may have onions included but I felt it was too overpowering for the pesto. Balsamic vinegar is a nice touch but also optional. I suggest making this first so the tomatoes can sit and marinate for a bit.
  2. Pesto – Homemade is preferred but you could also buy a jar from the deli or your favorite brand. I usually make this while the crostini is toasting. Fresh pesto has lots of fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. I add sunflower seeds to make it nut free, but you could also use pine nuts or walnuts.
  3. Crostini – This is the bread base. Slice a french baguette into thin pieces and toast in the oven with a little olive oil and salt.

Assembly

To assemble the pesto bruschetta, spread a small amount of the pesto on the bread, then top with the tomato mixture. Add some Parmesan cheese to top it off.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Serve assembled pesto bruschetta toasts immediately. The pesto will be begin to brown after sitting out for a while.
  • If preparing ahead of time, store separately in airtight containers. Pesto will need to be refrigerated unless it’s an unopened jar, the tomatoes and the crostini can be stored at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese shaving or fresh basil.
  • Olive tapenade is a delicious alternative to pesto in this recipe.

pesto bruschetta appetizers on a wood cutting board.

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Pesto Bruschetta

Pesto Bruschetta combines three of my favorite things - juicy tomatoes, rich, creamy pesto and toasty bread for a tasty and unique appetizer.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Total Time 22 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 288kcal

Ingredients
  

Pesto (if not using store bought)

  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil more as needed for texture
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tomato Topping

  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes about 6-8 seeded and diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Crostini

  • 1 French baguette cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Combine ingredients for the bruschetta in a medium size and set it aside while you make the pesto and the crostini. Bruschetta can sit out for up to 1 hour without needed refrigeration.
  • Arrange the bread side by side on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes, flipping it over halfway through. You want the crostini to be crispy but not so hard you can't easily bite into it.
  • While the crostini is cooling, make the pesto. To a food processor or blender add fresh basil, parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, garlic and lemon juice. Turn to low and drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Once all the olive oil is added, continue to blend for about a minute or until pesto is smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl at least once to ensure all ingredients are evenly mixed in. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
  • Assembly: Top each piece of crostini with a smear of pesto and a spoonful of the bruschetta. Sprinkle grated parmesan or fresh basil on top if desired.

Notes

  • Serve assembled pesto bruschetta toasts immediately. The pesto will be begin to brown after sitting out for a while.
  • If preparing ahead of time, store separately in airtight containers. Pesto will need to be refrigerated unless it's an unopened jar, the tomatoes and the crostini can be stored at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese shaving or fresh basil.

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 6gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 244mgPotassium: 218mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 816IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 2mg
Keyword pesto bruschetto

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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