Tomatoes get a night off with this roasted asparagus bruschetta. It features the best of the season. It’s a light vegan appetizer with roasted asparagus and toasted pine nuts. Perfect for those spring & summer get togethers!
There was a time when bruschetta was an appetizer I would only get in restaurants. The way they worked their magic with tomatoes was something magical.
The fresh basil, vinegar to add a sour edge to the tomatoes’ sweetness, and olive oil for richness was something I left to the professionals. (Mind you, that was also at a time when soup was something that only came out of a can, not something I made from scratch at home.)
The first time I realized I could make a bruschetta appetizer at home was when I saw a tub of it at Trader Joe’s many years ago. I toasted some bread, and piled it high with the Italians’ version of salsa.
I checked out the ingredient list and realized with a start that all of those things were already in my kitchen.
The first time making it on my own was some kind of sorcery. Endlessly easy, it doesn’t take a lot to enhance a summer tomato.
Roasted asparagus bruschetta
While local tomatoes are still a couple months out, I’ve been making bruschetta with roasted asparagus. It’s made the same way that traditional bruschetta is made, but substituting thin stalks of that spring darling, asparagus, and lightly roasted.
The warm asparagus is tossed with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil. The warmth of the asparagus takes the bite off of the garlic.
Then it’s served warm on toasted farm bread. (Any other mild, not-too-coarse bread will work too.)
Finally, it’s topped with toasted pine nuts for crunch and a rich, nutty bite. The vinegar rounds out the flavor of the asparagus. And the garlic adds a savory edge without overwhelming.
Not only is this a lovely starter, it’s also a great side for a hearty soup or salad. Especially at that time of year where there are still chilly or wet days mixed in with the shot of summer, it’s nice to have something that says spring before it’s all smoothies, salads, and sun dresses.
Since I started making this, I’ve been going through asparagus by bunch after bunch. Now, that’s the way to celebrate the season.
Roasted Asparagus Bruschetta
- 12 ounces thin asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil divided + extra for lightly oiling bread
- Pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped small
- 2 small cloves garlic minced
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons pine nuts
- 6-8 slices farm bread cut in 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put asparagus pieces on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and toss with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread the asparagus pieces evenly across the baking sheet. Put the asparagus in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, shaking the pan once halfway through for even browning. (If the asparagus isn't browned and ready at 15 minutes, cook for an additional 5 minutes.)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar, basil, garlic, and fresh ground pepper. Set aside.
- Bring a non-stick skillet to a medium heat. Put the pine nuts in the skillet and toast for 3-5 minutes, flipping the pine nuts half-way through, so that they are evenly browned. Once they have browned, remove them from heat.
- Lightly oil the bread slices with extra virgin olive oil. Line them on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven to bake for the last 5 minutes of the asparagus roasting. Remove the bread and asparagus from the oven. Add the asparagus pieces to the mixing bowl and toss to combine. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.
- Put the bread slices on a serving platter, and top each slice with generous spoonfuls of the asparagus mixture. On top of the asparagus mixture, add a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.