My marinated cannellini bean and tomato bruschetta recipe was inspired by something I read in a cooking magazine. The original recipe was a cold salad with Middle Eastern spices, but it got me thinking. And one night when we were looking for a light dinner that we could enjoy on the patio with a glass of wine and I came up with this. I think my husband thought about getting a straw to suck up the last of the sauce in the bottom of the dish when we ran out of crostini. Simple to make and universally appealing tomato bruschetta is a great appetizer for a party. The beans make this a good vegetarian meal option for meatless Monday or anytime so what is an appetizer one day can be a meal the next.
Roasting helps even lack luster tomatoes taste great, in an ideal world all tomatoes would taste like fresh picked heirlooms but we know that finding a good tomato can be challenging. The key to improving the tomatoes in this bruschetta is adding additional flavor from the marinade and using the heat from the oven to develop the natural sugars. This roasted bruschetta has gooey cheese, soft spreadable tomatoes, flavorful cannellini beans and a sauce left in the dish that is good enough to drink. Using different types and sizes of tomatoes and cutting them in all different ways makes the dish pretty to look at and causes some to cook more than others giving different textures to the bruschetta. The flavors are like grownup cheese pizza, and what is there not to like about that.
Marinated Cannellini Bean and Tomato Bruschetta
- 1 15 oz can of cannellini or white navy beans drained and rinsed
- 1.5 pints of mixed tomatoes
- 1 8 oz package of pearl mozzarella
- A few sprigs of fresh parsley
- Garlic rubbed crostini for serving
For the bean marinade
- Half a small onion thinly sliced
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbs Italian spice blend
- Salt and pepper
Rinse and drain the white beans, put in a non-reactive container, add all the ingredients for the marinade, stir. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours or as long as a few days, stirring occasionally. The longer they sit the more fragile but flavorful the beans will become.
In a mixing bowl add about half the beans and 2-3 tablespoons of the marinade they have been sitting in. Slice the tomatoes into different shapes and sizes, break apart the cheese pearls as they have a tendency to clump, and add in the diced parsley. Gently stir the bruschetta ingredients together to coat everything in the marinade. Taste and adjust the salt to your pallet. You could serve the bruschetta cold just like this, but trust me roast it!
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the bruschetta in an oven safe 9 inch round pan, I use a quiche pan. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese melts and the tomatoes wilt.
Serve with garlic rubbed toasts or crusty bread to soak up the yummy juice that is in the bottom of the pan.
Use the leftover marinated white beans on top of a green salad or even in an endive leaf as a simple appetizer.