18/07/2016 11:20 BST | Updated 18/07/2017 06:12 BST

Garden Tomato Bean Bruschetta

Layne's Bean Bruschetta

Go Beyond The Mediterranean Diet to taste summer's garden tomatoes and fresh basil with this mouth-watering bean bruschetta recipe!

Bruschetta -- pronounced "brusketta"-- is an Italian appetizer traditionally made with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, basil, and garlic, spooned over olive-oil brushed slices of toasted bread---and often served with wine!

As an old Italian proverb goes, "Day-old bread, month-old oil, and year-old wine".

In this version of the recipe, I add cannellini beans to boost protein, fiber and nutrition. Cannellinis are also known as fagioli, white kidney beans and haricots blancs. The variety, popular in Italian, Greek and French cuisines has a creamy texture and a mellow, nutty flavor.

Serve the Parmesan cheese on the side so that both vegans and vegetarians can enjoy this healthy and delicious dish!


Tomato Nutrition

  • Tomatoes contain all four major carotenoids: alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene that provide health benefits.
  • Tomatoes contain especially large amounts of lycopene, known to have the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids.
  • Tomatoes are rich in potassium -- 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has 454 milligrams.
  • Tomatoes are a part of the healthy Mediterraneandiet. Many Mediterranean dishes and recipes call for tomatoes or tomato paste or sauce. According to Beyond The Mediterranean Diet, people who follow the Mediterranean diet have lower death rates from heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses.

Cannellini Bean Nutrition

  • Cannellini beans are fat free and high in protein, fiber, Vitamin B1 thiamine, iron, magnesium and zinc.
  • Cannellini beans provide a good balance of complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein.
  • Cannellini beans provide a slow, steady source of long-acting carbohydate--making them a healthy choice for diabetics.
  • Cannellini beans provide a high-dose of soluble fiber, which makes you feel full and may lower your cholesterol.

Layne's Garden Tomato Bean Bruschetta

Choose Organic Ingredients When Available:

  • 1 pound (about 3 large) ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cannellini beans, cooked (if using canned, rinse and drain)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for flavors to develop. Serve at room temperature with sliced and toasted whole-wheat Italian bread.

I also like to serve this dish over baby spinach and whole-wheat orzo.

Serves 6.

Nutrition Facts per serving (139 grams) without added salt or cheese: 210 calories, 5.2 grams fat, 15 mg sodium, 31 grams carbohydrates, 12.4 grams dietary fiber, 11.6 grams protein, 22 percent daily value iron, 22 percent daily value vitamin C, 14 percent daily value vitamin A, 8 percent daily value calcium.

For more healthy recipes and to learn more about the dietary secrets of the healthy, pick up a copy of my book Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy.