chopped tomatoes on toast with basil

Make-it-yourself Bruschetta Bar

A make-ahead, self-serve, entertaining go-to.

Modern day entertaining has learned a lesson or two from the past – and one of them is to ‘keep it simple’. Sebastian and Sheila Centner’s book “Eatertainment” brings us delicious recipes and effortless entertaining ideas. Here they share their Bruschetta Bar, a flavour-packed, make-ahead, self-serve recipe that allows you to spend time with your friends and family instead of being bound to the kitchen. Enjoy heaping amounts of grilled crostini served with your choice of basil-marinated tomatoes, balsamic-glazed mushrooms, or dilly zucchini ribbons. Or better yet, have all three!

A white plate with three slices of bread that have various toppings, which are seen laid out in the background.

Bruschetta Bar

Seb and Shiela Centner's DIY Bruschetta will be an easy hit with guests.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Hors d'oeuvres, Snack
Cuisine Canadian, Italian
Servings 24 canapés



  • 2 large baguettes
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  • 3 medium on-the-vine tomatoes
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 large basil leaves torn
  • 1 oregano sprig leaves only
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • black pepper


  • 3 small garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb mixed mushrooms
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar optional
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • 2 zucchinis
  • tbsp olive oil
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp shaved Parmigiano Reggiano



  • Preheat the oven to broil. Cut the baguettes into thin slices, about ¼-inch to ⅓-inch thick. You should get between 15 and 20 slices from a large baguette. Place the slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with the oil. Broil, flipping once, until the slices are lightly toasted and golden brown, 5–10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool. If you’re preparing the crostini more than 1–2 hours before the event, store in an airtight container to keep them crispy.


  • Cut the vine tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and quarter the cherry tomatoes. Crush the garlic with the heel of your hand or the flat edge of a knife so that it is flattened but still intact.
  • Place the tomatoes and garlic in a medium bowl and add the remaining tomato ingredients. Set aside for at least 1 hour for the flavours to amalgamate. Remove the garlic before serving.


  • Slightly crush the garlic with the heel of your hand or the flat edge of a knife so that it is flattened but still intact.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the garlic from the oil, reduce the heat to low, and add the mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft, 7–9 minutes.
  • Add the balsamic and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the parsley, then remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  • Pour the mushroom mixture onto a cutting board. Chop the mushrooms and garlic into bite-sized pieces.


  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchinis to make ribbons, then roughly chop them into shorter lengths (1–2 inches long). Set aside in a medium bowl.
  • In a mason jar, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, basil, dill and salt to make a vinaigrette.
  • Add the parmigiano reggiano to the zucchini bowl, followed by the vinaigrette, and toss until completely coated. Set aside uncovered at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight in the fridge, covered, for the zucchini to soften and the flavours to amalgamate.

To Serve

  • Serve all the components alongside the toasted baguette slices.

A cookbook cover in a light frame

Excerpted from Eatertainment: Recipes and Ideas for Effortless Entertaining by Sebastien Centner and Sheila Centner. Copyright © 2022 Sebastien Centner and Sheila Centner. Book design by Jennifer Griffiths. Photography by Bruce Gibson. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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