’tis the season of partying. The Indian festivals of Dussehra and Diwali just passed us by. Upcoming Halloween (it’s today and we’ve had some of the cutest little kids visit us for trick or treating!), Thanksgiving, Christmas, and ending in the grand finale of New Year’s, the rest of the next 2 months is filled with nothing but food, friends and family…and love.

This recipe is inspired by my recent travels. Last month, I spent 10 days travelling through Italy with an old friend. This is my third trip to this lovely country, and I must remark on how unlike one town is from the next, on the marked differences in cuisine and dialect, and on the many subtle divergences that make Italy seem less a single nation than a collection of culturally related points in an uncommonly pleasing setting. Ooh la, la – besides the wonderful ambiance of Venice, Florence and the Cinque Terre, and the craziness of Rome, there’s the food. And that’s where this recipe comes in.

I had Bruschetta (pronounced bruˈsketta…but if you were pronouncing it differently, what’s in a name?) several times, especially in Rome. Bruschetta is an antipasto (starter dish) consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. Variations include toppings of tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese. In a couple of places, they served me without the bread and that’s what inspired me to blog this recipe that even the Keto followers would love.

This is a great recipe for a potluck, or for serving to a large group of people. Skip the bread or keep it – your choice. Add finely diced garlic or pass it – your choice. Slice the tomatoes (like I did) or finely dice them – again, your choice. Any which way, you can’t go wrong with a simple, quick-and-easy appetizer made with fresh ingredients, right?

A word about the balsamic vinegar. Please buy a good variety. Most of them, even the good ones, are not as thick as I’d like it to be, so I spend an extra 10 minutes and ‘reduce’ it over the stove top (described later in the recipe steps). It ends up getting that rich flavor that is sure to enhance the overall experience.

A few other appetizer ideas for this festive time of the year would be:

 

Why is this Healthy?

Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Combine this with Mozzarella, a soft cheese that’s lower in sodium and calories than most other cheeses, it contains probiotics that may boost your immune system.

 

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Balsamic Bruschetta

Want the ultimate hors d’oeuvre that's elegant in
presentation but so quick and easy to make for a forthcoming party? Then look
no further than the Balsamic Bruschetta. Made with fresh and simple
ingredients, this is sure to be a great hit.






Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Special Diet Gluten Free, Grain Free, No Added Sugar, Nut Free, Raw, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 People
Calories 132kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 Oz. Mozzarella Cheese Cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 1/4 Cup Italian Basil Leaves Fresh, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar For reduction
  • 2 Large Tomatoes Diced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt Or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper Freshly ground

Instructions

  • In a thick bottomed dish, pour balsamic vinegar and stir on medium flame until it reduces to half the quantity and becomes thick and viscous. Set aside. Allow the reduction to cool, then transfer to an air-tight jar and store in the pantry for longer term use.
  • Lay out the sliced mozzarella on a tray. Use a spoon to smear a bit of the reduced balsamic vinegar on top of each cheese slice.
  • Place a tomato slice on each of the mozzarella slice, top it with shredded basil leaves, sprinkle salt and pepper. The picture has basil leaves under the tomato. Drizzle olive oil and finely chopped garlic on top (both are optional). Serve!
  • If you want to serve this with bread (thinly sliced French baguette works best), first smear a little olive oil or butter on both sides of the bread and lightly toast either in the over or on a pan on the stove top. The crunchiness is up to your taste. I prefer it mildly crisp. Then, place the remaining ingredients, as detailed above, over the bread slices and serve when the bread is hot. I skipped the bread since I wanted to provide a gluten free/grain free/Keto option to enjoy this dish.

Notes

*Use organic ingredients wherever possible

Nutrition

Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 272mg | Potassium: 159mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 226mg

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