Hot summer nights call for light dinners, like these caramelized onion, spinach, roasted red pepper and ricotta salata crostini!
caramelized onion, spinach, roasted red pepper and ricotta salata crostini

Often times at work, when I’m in the middle of an experimental lull or just need a break from staring at fat cells, I’ll daydream about what kind of cookbook I’d write if someone walked into the lab at that second, put a gun to my head, and screamed “WRITE A COOKBOOK. NOW.”

Well, twist my arm, why don’t you.


For awhile I was really gung-ho about the idea of an entire cookbook devoted to vegetarian brunch, and I even have a Google Keep list of recipe ideas to prove it. I strongly considered developing all the recipes for it in secret, and then mailing a “finished” version to a publishing house along with a note that said, “Take me now!”, but common sense combined with the fact that I have no time to develop non-secret recipes, let alone secret recipes, dictated against it.

And now it is summer, and I am fixated on crostini, so that pipedream has been put on hold so I can spend my unoccupied waking hours figuring out all the possible combinations of bread+vegetables+cheese that I want to eat over the course of the next 90 days.

FYI – there are many.


This week’s fantasy involved a sweet caramelized onion base, topped with lightly wilted spinach, roasted red peppers and a slice of ricotta salata to tie it all together. And luckily, because of the simple nature of crostini, it didn’t take multiple attempts to get it right. Bingo on the first try.

Move aside vegetarian brunch. There’s a new imaginary cookbook proposal in town.

You know, until fall comes along, and I take up with my “Pumpkins, Winter Squashes, and Gourds – Oh My!” idea again.

But until then. Crostini. Where it’s at.

Caramelized Onion, Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Salata Crostini
Hot summer nights call for light dinners, like these caramelized onion, spinach, roasted red pepper and ricotta salata crostini!
Yield: 12 crostini
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz baby spinach, washed
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced
  • ½ lb roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
  • ½ lb ricotta salata
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and stir to coat with the oil. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so, and then turn the heat down to low and cook for another half hour, stirring frequently, or until onions are brown. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan, saute the spinach until wilted, adding a tablespoon of water to the pan to help steam it. Set aside.
  3. Set out 12 slices of ciabatta bread. Divide the caramelized onions, cooked baby spinach, and roasted red peppers among the bread slices, layering them on top of each. Top with a slice of ricotta salata and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 crostini

For more summer appetizer ideas, check out these:

eggplant crostini

Eggplant Crostini with Red Pepper Relish and Feta

pesto cheesecake

Pea, Mint and Parmesan Crostini

summer squash tartines with ricotta, rosemary and lemon

Summer Squash Tartines with Ricotta, Rosemary and Lemon

From Around the Web:

Strawberry, Brie Cheese, Honey and Basil Crostini from Cookin Canuck

Crostini with Peaches, Blue Cheese and Honey from Bev Cooks

Nectarine and Burrata Bite Crostini from Foodiecrush

Smoky Lemony Chickpea Crostini from Casa Yellow

Roasted Beet, Arugula, Goat Cheese and Honey Crostini from Gimme Some Oven


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54 Responses to Caramelized Onion, Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Salata Crostini

  1. Crostini is a weakness of mine… I’m certain if I were looking at fat cells all day, I’d want to develop a crostini or vegetarian brunch cookbook, too 🙂

  2. Uhhh….can you please make that cookbook?? I will personally come over and test every recipe. ‘cuz, you know? You need two recipe testers!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Wow!! I can’t stop admiring the beautiful triangle of ricotta! However did you get it to be so firm? It reminds me of a beautiful Macedonian Feta that we have been getting from time to time.

    Ha! I love that your cookbook is going to be about bruschetta (bruschette??) This can only be good. But. We neeeeeeeeeed your Winter Squash one as well. (I’m curious, is there a late summer winter-squash bruschetta with sage and a hard cheese? I hope so. I hope so.)

    • joanne says:

      The cheese that I used is actually a firm form of ricotta (ricotta salata as opposed to regular ricotta) which makes it super easy to slice! Although, if you can’t find that, feta or even regular ricotta can be substituted!

  4. Barbara says:

    Your crostini ingredients are right up my alley, Joanne. Nothing better for lunch.

  5. I am so down with all of your cookbook ideas! And this crostini… I will be craving that triangle of ricotta salata all dang day!

  6. Caramelized onions get me every time! Veggies, bread, and cheese…sounds pretty perfect to me! And I’m loving your cookbook ideas 😉

  7. Beth says:

    Ha! I’ll buy whatever cookbook you write, in any theme. These crostinis look so good, I hope you make them the cover recipe.

  8. Love your daydream content 🙂 Also love this!

  9. ha ha ha…I hear ya – I have a few of those imaginary proposals filed away, too. Sigh. When will they add more hours to the day? 😉 This version is absolutely perfect – so colorful and flavorful and I would eat them right now for breakfast.

  10. Johanna GGG says:

    now that is what I needed for lunch – would have been so good instead of peanut butter on toast – and yes please to your brunch cookbook

  11. Lovely combination of ingredients Joanne 🙂

  12. Monica says:

    Everything’s better with toasted bread involved, isn’t it? And caramelized onions…mmmm…

  13. I could eat this for breakfast – looks so good!

  14. Kathryn says:

    Ha, I have several imaginary cookbook proposals on the go at any one time. I am very keen on your bread + veggies + cheese idea – that’s a book I would definitely buy!

  15. I think that that cookbook needs to come out of your dreams into fruition! Girl – your veg recipes as well as your Pumpkin, Winter Squash, and Gourd recipes are BRILLIANT! Or you can just mail me leftovers of these tartines and those white chocolate buttered popcorn cookies to keep me quiet… 😉
    Happy Monday dear!

  16. We could always use more veg-friendly cookbooks!!
    (although I have the same thoughts as you— limited time for blogging, I should be working on my very important day job instead.. HA!)

  17. Is it wrong of me to want to put an egg on top of this crostini and eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

  18. You have some really amazing crostini recipes, Joanne. These look fantastic! I love those eggplant crostinis..perfect for the low-carb diet.

  19. sandra says:

    I am with you on that idea! Vegetarian brunch rocks!

  20. Well, you know I’m a sucker for anything with spinach and caramelized onions. So, this? Ya. Also? A book on Crostini totally needs to happen. I would buy it!

  21. Abby says:

    So perfect, just get me a glass of wine and dinner’s ready.

  22. Heather says:

    One can never have too many cookbooks… or carmelized onions. I would buy! 🙂

  23. if i were a publisher, i would totally send you a proposal right now…love the idea of veg. brunch, this crostini sounds so freaking good, with that cheese, yum.

  24. Kate says:

    I vote for a cookbook on just cheese! Or just ricotta salata. Both would make me immensely happy.

  25. ummmmmm yes please these loos soooo fabulous!!

  26. I love all these flavors together. Caramelized onions sent me over the top!
    Have a great week Joanne!

  27. Gintare says:

    I’m up for anything with caramelised onions involved, these look so so good!

  28. Danguole says:

    I would so buy any of those cookbooks–you hear me, publishers?!?!? Wink wink nudge nudge.

  29. Meg says:

    These look faaaabulous. Just fabulous! Hope you’re having a great Monday!

  30. Eileen says:

    Hooray! Little crostini like these are my ideal lunch these days. Vegetables, cheese and bread — what else do you need? 🙂

  31. Um… your cookbook ideas are genius and MUST happen. If you need any taste testers, let me know. I’ll just be over here noshing on these crostini waiting for your call. 😉

  32. Yum! We love this crostini and the ricotta salata is our favorite ! Thank you for another delicious idea !! And of course it’s perfect for brunch!!

  33. cheri says:

    Love the toppings you choose for this crostini Joanne, looks delicious!

  34. P says:

    This looks like summer perfected!

  35. Yep, this is definitely my ultimate appetizer. The combo of ingredients and flavors you used is just mind-blowing! All you have to say is caramelized onions and I’m sold. Can’t wait to try this crostini for a bbq appetizer! Pinned. 🙂

  36. Zainab says:

    This is the best appetizer!! And girl, keep that cookbook idea. It needs to happen.

  37. Kinsey says:

    That look fabulous! Especially that big wedge of ricotta. I also do the same thing with daydreaming recipes while trying to get stuff done–the margins of my calculus notebook totally give me away!

  38. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’m sure you have a very good book in you and one day, probably the head of fiction at a large international publishing house will come knocking on your door. My daughter is heading to NYC for three weeks on Saturday. I’m very nervous as she’s insisting on traveling by herself and has booked herself into a hostel in Brooklyn. SHE KNOWS NO ONE! xx

  39. I want one of these right now! I love layering veggies and cheese on toasty bread, such a great snack and I could also be really happy eating a few of these for dinner! Love the caramelized onion!

  40. Megan says:

    So many bread, cheese, and vegetable combos. This one looks awesome! And I have a nice hunk of ricotta salata in the fridge…

  41. Joanne, this looks delicious! I think your idea of a vegetarian brunch cookbook is wonderful. This one is definitely a keeper, so make sure google has it saved 😀

  42. Obsessed! Bread+vegetables+cheese…yes please! This looks delicious and I’m loving these kinds of recipes for summer nights. 🙂 I’d buy your cookbook!! Just saying. 🙂

  43. Leah Davis says:

    So perfect for a summer party – I love crostini! And of course I love the fact that you added in some veggies ~ it makes you feel not so bad about the bread and the cheese. You will write that cookbook one day!!! 🙂

  44. OMG…a crostini cookbook would be unreal!! And just so you know, I think your vegetarian brunch book would be a winner too!

  45. Reeni says:

    The beautiful triangle of ricotta salata has me sold! It’s one of the most underrated of all cheeses. These look incredible!

  46. Lynna says:

    I always love the look of crostinis. They look so elegant and fancy, even though they`re pretty simple in concept!

  47. grace says:

    crostini are so dang simple but for some reason, they’re also extremely elegant too. these are especially lovely and sound scrumptious!

  48. I love your ideas, and any time we can combine deliciousness with bread and cheese, I AM SOLD! 😉

  49. […] night will feature Caramelized Onion, Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Salata Crostini, from Joanne Bruno’s great blog Eats Well With Others. We saw these delicious crostini on […]

  50. wonderful snack.. bookmarked

  51. […] were supposed to make Joanne Bruno’s Caramelized Onion, Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Salata Crostini from her blog Eats Well With Others on Wednesday night, but a late night at work caused a […]

  52. […] and a review of this recipe by Joanne Bruno. You may remember that we made Joanne’s awesome Caramelized Onion, Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Salata Crostini two weeks ago. The original recipe can be found in Deb’s great cookbook “The Smitten […]

  53. […] Caramelized Onion, Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Salata Crostini […]

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