These tasty pizza crostini appetizers are super easy to prepare with a loaf of French bread and some simple chopped and sliced pizza toppings. Feel free to vary the toppings with your favorite combinations. If you have vegetarian guests or family members, replace the pepperoni with chopped jalapeño peppers, sweet bell peppers, or mushrooms. Or, you might choose a different meat for the crostini. Cooked diced bacon, minced ham, or ground meat are all excellent choices. See the tips and variations for more creative topping ideas.
The word crostini means "little crusts" in Italian. If you only have one, it is a "crostino." Crostini are grilled or toasted slices of bread which are usually topped with cheese, meat, or vegetables. Crostini are excellent for parties because they are so easy to prepare and cook. The crostini can be made in advance and cooked as they are needed.
- 1 loaf French bread (a baguette, sliced about 1/2-inch thick)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (halved)
- 2 plum tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1/3 cup pepperoni (chopped or mini pepperoni)
- 1 tablespoon onion (finely chopped)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons black olives (sliced or chopped)
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese (finely shredded; or a pizza blend)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons basil (fresh chopped)
- Optional: grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)
- Optional: pizza sauce or marinara sauce (for serving)
Gather the ingredients.
Heat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. Arrange the baguette slices on the prepared baking sheet. Brush each slice of bread with olive oil and rub them with garlic halves. Alternatively, brush them with a garlic-flavored olive oil.
Combine the finely chopped tomato, pepperoni, and onion. Sprinkle the tomato mixture onto each slice. Top with a few slices of olive and sprinkle with basil. Top with mozzarella cheese. If the cheese shreds are large, chop it a bit.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crostini are hot and the cheese has melted.
Serve the crostini with fresh grated Parmesan cheese or warm pizza sauce on the side.
- Alternative Topping Ideas: browned ground beef or sausage, bacon, ham, chicken, chopped shrimp, caramelized onions, barbecue sauce, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, roasted red peppers, salsa, artichokes, Alfredo sauce, mushrooms, jalapeño peppers, pineapple, chopped pears, nuts, pesto, and just about any kind of shredded, sliced, or crumbled cheese.
- Some guests might prefer a plain, cheese-topped appetizer. Prepare some of your crostini with a simple garlic and Parmesan cheese topping. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of finely minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 1/4 teaspoon of dried leaf basil or oregano. Mix well and spread over the baguette slices. Bake along with the pizza crostini. Makes enough for about half a baguette, depending on size.
- Pulled Pork or Chicken Pizza Crostini: Spread a small amount of barbecue sauce on each crostini and then top it with cooked pulled pork or pulled chicken, a small slice of dill pickle, and shredded or sliced cheese. Cook until the crostini is hot and the cheese is melted. Serve with extra barbecue sauce and coleslaw.
- Mexican-Style Pizza Crostini: Replace the tomatoes with a fresh chunky salsa and replace the chopped basil with cilantro.