No-fuss bruschetta bar

Bruschetta Bar 4-Margaux Drake

Those hot summer nights! There are still a few weeks left of dining al fresco. No need to make a huge mess or heat up the kitchen with this easy-breezy dinner, appetizer or entertaining option; a bruschetta bar. Just a fancy way to say “open faced sandwich”, you can make up your own bruschetta combinations by toasting bread, buying some of the great ready made pestos and spreads available at D&W Fresh Market then topping them off with herbs or greens. Or, you can whip up your own using my recipes for: tomato & basil, olive & herb and artichoke & green peppercorn.

Either way, turn on some beach tunes, grab a glass of vino, prepare your toppings, dance on over to fire up the grill for the toasts and take in those beautiful Michigan sunsets while enjoying some good eats.

Tomato & Basil
Makes 2 cups

4 tomatoes, seeded & chopped
1 t  sea salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, chopped
¾ C basil, chiffonade
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/8 C nutritional yeast, reserved for garnish

Seed and chop tomatoes, then sprinkle with sea salt, mix and set aside to marinate while preparing other ingredients.  Mince the garlic, chop the green onions, chiffonade the basil and add to tomato mixture.  Add oil and balsamic vinegar and mix to incorporate flavors.  Serve with a side of nutritional yeast to sprinkle on top of each bruschetta.  This will add a nice mild cheesy flavor in place of parmesan or mozzarella.  Can be made hours in advance.  The longer it sits, the better the flavors will taste.  Serve at room temperature.

Bruchetta Bar DETAIL2-Margaux Drake  Olive & Herb
Makes 2 Cups

1 c green olives, pitted
1 c kalamata olives, pitted
3-4 garlic cloves
1 t thyme leaves
1 t rosemary leaves
1 t lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Place all ingredients except for the oil into a food processor fitted with a chopping blade.  Pulse while adding oil, keeping the mixture chunky.  Add salt to taste.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Spoon mixture onto prepared toasts.  Garnish with thyme, rosemary and lemon zest.

Bruchetta Bar DETAIL-Margaux Drake

Artichoke & Green Peppercorn
Makes 2 Cups

1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds, soaked
1/4 c lime juice
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 c sprouts
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t green peppercorns (found in a jar near the capers, not to be confused with dried peppercorns)
Sea salt to taste
2 – 6 oz. jars of artichoke hearts quartered, drained
arugula for garnish

Place raw seeds in a bowl, cover with filtered water and let soak for 4-6 hours.  Drain and discard water.  Do not use soaking water.  Place all ingredients except the artichoke hearts in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.  Adjust sea salt to taste. Fold in the artichoke hearts.  Spoon mixture onto prepared toasts.  Garnish with arugula.


1 loaf Italian or French bread
1 garlic head
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked pepper

Cut bread on a diagonal into pieces of toast, this increases the surface area of the open-faced sandwich.  Grill bread on each side directly on the grill, under the broiler or a grill pan.  Remove toasts from grill and immediately rub with a cut side of a clove of garlic, drizzle each with oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground cracked pepper.  Prepared toasts can sit until ready to add bruschetta topping.

*For a gluten-free version of toast, use gluten-free bread or for a raw version, serve on a romaine leaf.

All ingredients are available at D&W Fresh Market.

Wine pairing: Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay, 2012

Beer pairing: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Bruchetta Bar BTS-Margaux Drake

Terri DeBoer (left) and Rachael Ruiz (right), co-hosts of eightWest joined me for a lite bite and a sip.