Tomatoes get a night off with this bruschetta-style roasted asparagus appetizer. This vegan canapé features the best of the season. Perfect for spring & summer get-togethers!
Nothing says spring like asparagus. After months of white & gray, those bright green stalks are gratefully welcome.
This delicate vegetable doesn’t need a lot to be delicious. In fact, most of the time I just drizzle it with oil, add a pinch of salt, and roast it in the oven. Side dishes don’t get much simpler.
This asparagus appetizer takes it just a bit further by making it an easy vegan canapé.
This bruschetta-style asparagus recipe is made in a similar fashion as the traditional tomato bruschetta appetizer.
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 on slices of toasted baguette.
Finally, it’s topped with toasted pine nuts for crunch and a rich, nutty bite. The vinegar rounds out the flavor. And the garlic adds a savory edge without overwhelming.
(Need to know how to choose & store asparagus? This guide to asparagus is a good primer.)
How to make this easy crostini
Start by heating the oven to 425 degrees. Remove and discard the woody ends from your asparagus. Then cut the remaining asparagus into bite sized pieces of about an inch.
Put the pieces on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.
Drizzle with oil & a pinch of salt. Then roast for 15 to 20 minutes, stopping occasionally to shake the pan for even roasting.
While it is roasting, turn your attention to the baguette. Cut the baguette into ½ inch slices. If desired, put on a light coating of oil onto the slices for better browning.
Put the bread slices onto a second baking sheet. Then let them toast in the oven during the last five minutes of the asparagus cooking time.
Once the asparagus & bread slices are finished, remove them from the oven.
In a bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic, fresh basil, and pepper. Put the roasted asparagus into the bowl, and toss it with the vinaigrette.
You can either serve it as-is on the toasted bread. Or slather the bread with a mild cashew cheese, and then top it with the asparagus mixture.
A cashew spread helps the asparagus stay in place. Plus, everything is more delicious with a smidge of cashew cheese. But if you’d prefer a lighter appetizer, going without the cashew cheese lets the flavors of asparagus and garlic really shine.
Finally, it’s finished with a sprinkling of pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet.
Bruschetta-style asparagus appetizer
- 12 ounces thin asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces, woody ends removed
- 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
- 1 baguette cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices*
- 4 ounces cashew cheese** optional
- 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 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 it 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 baguette slices with additional extra virgin olive oil, if desired. 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 slices and asparagus from the oven. Put the bread slices on a serving platter. Add the asparagus pieces to the mixing bowl and toss to combine. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.
- If desired, slather each slice of toasted baguette with a mild & spreadable cashew cheese. It's not essential, but it does help the asparagus to stick to the bread. If you'd prefer a lighter appetizer, skip this step.
- Top each toasted baguette slice with generous spoonfuls of the asparagus mixture. On top of the asparagus mixture, add a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.
Originally posted May 2015. Recipe, content & photographs updated March 2019.