Bruschetta Rethought–The Food Matters Project

Another week, another simple and healthy recipe from the Food Matters Cookbook.  While I kept mine prettty simple with two variations, I’m sure the other FMP bloggers got pretty creative with theirs!  Check out this week’s host, Laura J.‘s blog for her take on this classic dish–bruschetta with blue cheese and honey!  And if you are feeling inspired, head over to the Food Matters Project site to see everyone elses creations.  For a quick visual form of inspiration, head over the the FMP Pinterest board.  Kate from Cookie + Kate is always so kind to post all of our dishes every week.  Within the next couple of days, you will be able to see everyone’s choice of toppings for bruschetta.

When most people think of bruschetta, they think of the tomato mixture that many people use as a topping.  Bruschetta is actually the toasted bread itself.  Classic bruschetta is toasted bread rubbed with garlic then drizzled with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.  Once you have made your bruschetta you can top it with whatever you like!

A simple meal can consist simply of bruschetta with several toppings scattered on the table, allowing your guests or family make their own perfect combination.  It can’t get any easier than this–and who doesn’t love bread topped with yummy stuff?

Simple Bruschetta {from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman}

  • 8 thick slices rustic bread, preferably whole grain
  • 1 or more garlic cloves, halved or crushed, optional
  • ¼ cup olive oil, or more as needed
  • Salt and black pepper
  1. Prepare a grill or turn on the broiler; the heat should be medium-high and the rack about 4 inches from the fire.  Grill or broil the bread until lightly browned on both sides, ideally with some grill marks or light charring.  I used a double-burner cast iron griddle that has a side with grill slats on it–works great!
  2. While the bread is still hot, rub the slices with garlic, if using, on one or both sides.  Put the bread on a plate, then drizzle or brush it with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Serve warm with your favorite toppings.

I topped my first variation with thinly sliced tomato, arugula, basil, and parmesan cheese.  My second variation was a little more outside-of-the-box.  I chose Mark Bittman’s North African Style Cauliflower Salad to top my bruschetta.

Chopped Cauliflower Salad, North African Style

Makes: 4 servings; Time: 25 minutes

Quickly cooking the cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in the warm dressing concentrates their flavors and helps them soak into the cauliflower (the fragrance is amazing). This is one of those uncommon salads that benefits from refrigerating for a day, but it’s best served at room temperature.

  • Salt
  • 1 large cauliflower, cored
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Note:  I added a can of Great Northern beans to mine to add a creamy texture–be sure to drain and rinse before adding.
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it; set up a bowl of ice water. Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook until you can just barely pierce the center with a skewer or thin-bladed knife (you want it still quite crisp), 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cauliflower, plunge it in the ice water, and let cool for a few minutes. Drain the cauliflower well and roughly chop.
  2. Dump the cooking water, put the oil in the same pot, and turn the heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring once or twice, until they are no longer raw. Stir in the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and turn off the heat.
  3. Toss the cauliflower with the warm dressing in the pot. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately. (Or wait to add the parsley, refrigerate for up to a day or 2, bring the salad back to room temperature, and toss with the parsley right before serving.)


  1. This sounds so good!

  2. prairiesummers

    Simple is good! Sometimes it is actually the best!

  3. Chef Laura at Home

    Love that you added beans to the Chopped Cauliflower Salad. Looks so good! I find myself adding cannellini beans to a lot of my recipes, mostly salads. I can’t wait to try this one! Thanks for sharing!

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