Home Recipes Appetizers The Best Cheap and Easy Appetizer / with Video

The Best Cheap and Easy Appetizer / with Video

Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tomato Dip and Manchego Cheese

Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tomato Dip and Manchego Cheese

I absolutely love finger foods and grazing on various flavors over a glass of wine or a cold beer while standing around my grill, throwing down an enormous chunk of beef. This recipe incorporates the grill (if you don’t have a grill you can use a grill pan). It’s super easy and is literally the first appetizer gone anytime I have a gathering. Trust me, this budget-friendly appetizer is going to be a huge hit, and while tomatoes are a big part of it, I’ve found that even those who don’t like tomatoes love this quick and easy snack.

What Makes This the Best Cheap and Easy Appetizer?

There are literally thousands of appetizer recipes available online, so what makes this one the best cheap and easy appetizer? It’s a few things really. First, it’s the multiple textures you get in every bite. The crunchy grilled bread with the smooth tomato dip go really well together.

Second, it’s the dynamic contrast in flavors. The bitterness of the arugula with the sweetness of the tomato dip and the rich zesty flavor from the manchego cheese just seem to dance in your mouth like they belong on an episode of Dancing With The Stars.

Finally, it’s the simplicity of this easy recipe and the fact that you can eat it with your fingers without a mess. So convenient to just grab one while holding a beverage in your other hand and munch away.

Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tomato Dip and Manchego Cheese ready for assembly

Tips:

  1. Only grill one side of your bread. Grilling both sides will make the bread too crunchy and it will crumble when you bite into it.
  2. Spoon the tomato dip onto the grilled side of the bread.
  3. Feel free to run your knife through the arugula a few times. This is optional but chopping it just slightly makes for less of a mess when you’re eating it. Again, this is totally optional.

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Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tomato Dip and Manchego Cheese

Serves: 8-10 | Prep Time: 10 min | Cooking Time: 5 min

Ingredients
2 extra-large tomatoes (I use either beefsteak or better boy variety)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more to drizzle on bread)
1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 loaf sliced ciabatta bread
2 cups arugula
1/2 lbs manchego cheese, sliced

Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tomato Dip and Manchego Cheese

Step 1: Light grill and set up for medium-high direct heat. If you don’t have a grill you can use a grill pan for this.

Step 2: While the grill is preheating, cut tomatoes in 1/2 and grate them using a box grater into a medium-size mixing bowl. Discard the skin as seen in the video below.

Step 3: Add olive oil, salt, and pepper and whisk together, set aside. Adjust salt to preference.

Fresh tomato dip for Grilled Ciabatta Bread

Step 4: Drizzle one side of bread slices with olive oil and place over direct medium-high heat. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until you develop a nice crunchy surface. Only grill one side of the bread.

Step 5: Remove bread from grill and place grilled side up on a platter. Drizzle with tomato dip, top with arugula and manchego cheese, and serve.

Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tomato Dip and Manchego Cheese ready to serve

Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tomato Dip and Manchego Cheese

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Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tomato Dip and Manchego Cheese
Grilled Ciabatta Bread with Tomato Dip and Manchego Cheese
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

This quick and easy Italian influenced appetizer is the perfect way to start a party.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 10
Ingredients
  • 2 extra-large tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread sliced
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 lbs manchego cheese sliced
Instructions
  1. Light grill and set up for medium-high direct heat. If you don't have a grill you can use a grill pan for this.

  2. While grill is preheating, cut tomatoes in half and grate them using a box grater into a medium size mixing bowl. Discard the skin.

  3. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk together, set aside.

  4. Drizzle one side of bread slices with olive oil and place over direct medium-high heat. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until you develop a nice crunchy surface. Only grill one side of the bread.

  5. Remove bread from grill and place grilled side up on a platter. Drizzle with tomato dip, top with arugula and manchego cheese, then serve.