Israeli Bruschetta with Urfa Pepper

a spicy twist on bruschetta

This recipe is from one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Olio in St. Louis. I’ve spent many afternoons and evenings sipping craft cocktails and noshing on this unbelievable bruschetta.

What is Urfa pepper? 

You’ve probably never heard of Urfa Biber, or as it is more commonly known Urfa pepper. This Turkish pepper is hard to describe, but imagine something kind of earthy, slightly sweet, and smokey with a little bit of heat. Since nothing is hard to find anymore with the help of the internet, I advise investing in a jar from Amazon instead of trying to substitute it. It’s delicious and can be used in any number of recipes from chili to roasted veggies to dry rubs. 

Make the tomatoes in advance 

This is one of those great recipes you can make in advance. Once you marinate the tomatoes, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week, which gives you plenty of time to go through an entire loaf of bread. Who am I kidding, I don’t really need a week to finish good bread, but it’s nice to think I still have some self-control when it comes to carbs. 

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Israeli Bruschetta

  • Author: Liz Sloan
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8


Courtesy of Olio’s Ben Poremba


½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish 

½ cup grape seed oil 

½ cup red wine vinegar 

2 garlic cloves, shaved or thinly sliced, plus more for toast 

1 Serrano pepper, shaved or thinly sliced 

1 tablespoon Urfa pepper 

1 teaspoon dried mint 

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes 

Baguette, ciabatta, or Rustic Country Bread slices, for serving 

Sea salt 

Basil, cilantro, mint, and parsley, for garnish 


In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, grape seed oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, Serrano pepper, Urfa pepper and mint. Set aside. 


On a sheet tray, arrange the tomatoes in rows. With small handheld torch, char the tomatoes on all sides. (If you don’t own a torch, use a grill.) While the tomatoes are still hot, immediately submerge them in the marinade. Tomatoes will keep up to one week. 


To serve, toast bread in an oven or on a grill. Generously rub with fresh garlic, and top with the tomato mixture. Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Garnish with the herbs and serve immediately.  

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