Forever in search of new things to do with tomatoes, I thought I might try replicating (and possibly veganizing) Olive Garden’s classic bruschetta recipe. Alas, it’s been done! Multiple times! Perfectly so! And you know what they say about messing with perfection.
Traditionally used as an appetizer, for me bruschetta is the perfect snack. I mean, hey, I’m already noming on toast at all hours of the day as it is! Why not throw on some vegan parm and top it with tomatoes for a healthier snack? The recipe makes enough bruschetta and bread for four servings, but you can easily make the bruschetta ahead of time and toast the bread on an as-needed basis. Just sprinkle on a little parmesan, parsley, and olive oil (or spread on a pat of margarine – not nearly as messy as olive oil), pop in the toaster oven for five minutes, and you’re good to go!
While I can’t remember the last time I dined at a chain restaurant, I was little disturbed to read that OG routinely bakes its Italian bread (or at least that bread destined for bruschetta) with parmesan cheese. Is nothing sacred? Luckily, the parmesan was super-easy to veganize: nuts, nooch, olive oil. Pfffft. Why use anything else?
Anyway, you’ve been warned!
Fresh from the (Olive) Garden Bruschetta
1 1/2 to 2 cups tomatoes, finely diced
1 to 2 tablespoons diced marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (OR 1 teaspoon dried basil)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon vegan Parmesan cheese (see below)
a pinch dried parsley flakes
Extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle; optional)
9-10 slices of bread (Ciabatta and Italian bread are popular choices, though I used sourdough)
1. In a medium bowl, combine the fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Mix well. Cover and chill for an hour or more.
2. When you are ready to serve the dish, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
3. Combine the Parmesan cheese with dried parsley in a small bowl. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet.
4. Drizzle with olive oil (optional) and then sprinkle a couple of pinches of the Parmesan cheese mixture over each bread slice. Bake for 5 minutes or until the bread starts to crisp.
5. Pour tomato mixture into a serving dish and serve it up alongside the toasted bread slices. The recipe makes enough bruschetta for roughly ten slices of bread.
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup walnuts OR 1/2 cup almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
A dash of salt
1. In a food processor, combine the nutritional yeast and nuts and pulse until well-blended. The nuts should be reduced to smallish particles, though not as powdery as the nooch flakes. Add the olive oil and salt and pulse until blended.
2. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.