Garlic bread is now a beloved side in many American households. We serve it with spaghetti, lasagna, pot roast, with chili and as a nice ‘dipper’ for soups. So popular is this wonderful Italian staple, it’s now available in already prepared loaves in the bakery section, or even in pre-sliced boxed versions in the freezer aisle. Perhaps its popularity is due to increased awareness of the many health benefits of garlic, a heart healthy, blood pressure regulating, cholesterol reducing food, which also has natural antibiotic properties. Or perhaps it’s just so tasty.
Here, we’ve got five garlic bread recipes you can easily make at home: save some money and increase the nutritive value over the commercially prepared products, as well as enjoying more robust flavor. We’ll begin with the usual garlic bread recipe, enhanced with freshly prepared ingredients, with which most of us are familiar, then go on to some delightful variations you’ll surely want to try. Some of these variations are substantial enough to serve as a snack or light lunch.
1. Use a pastry brush to spread a thin coating of olive oil on both sides of a loaf of French bread, cut in half horizontally. Sprinkle evenly with minced garlic and broil, just until browned. Cut in slices and serve warm. Optionally, you can add some grated Cheddar, fresh shaved Parmesan or Asiago cheese for extra flavor before broiling.
2. Cut your bread and spread with olive oil in the same manner as described above. Finely slice ¼ lb. Of Porcini, Cremini or white mushrooms. Use a scissors to cut a few tablespoons of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley. Mince one medium clove of garlic. Distribute these ingredients evenly over the bread and broil. This garlic bread recipe is a great accompaniment to a chef’s style salad or hearty bowl of soup. It also makes a nice afternoon snack.
3. Prepare the bread as above, with olive oil. Finely dice 2 medium Roma tomatoes and half of a small red Spanish onion. Drain a small can of sliced black olives. Slice two small, fresh Mozzarella ‘eggs’. With a scissors, cut slices of fresh basil leaves, without stems – about a ¼ cup, or to taste. Spread the loaf with each of these ingredients, topping it off with 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or just until the Mozzarella is melted. This makes a hearty side to a garden salad, or provides you with a light, nutritious lunch.
4. This garlic bread recipe is simple, tastes like a slice of heaven and is terrific with a salad or any Italian entree, such as spaghetti or lasagna. Brush your loaf with olive oil. Add ¼ cup sliced basil leaves, 2 finely diced Roma tomatoes and 2-3 teaspoons of minced garlic. Broil and serve. Don’t be afraid to add a dose of freshly shaved Asiago, if you wish.
5. Brush the bread with olive oil. Sprinkle the bread with ½ cup of salad shrimp, ¼ cup of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, ¼ cup of finely diced onions (red or yellow, as you prefer, and top it all off with diced, fire roasted red bell peppers.
If you prefer your garlic bread spread with butter, each of these garlic bread recipes tastes equally delicious with the substitution, although your garlic bread is slightly less healthy. Enjoy!