Bread Basket Toppings

Those bread baskets are dangerous. Yes, they should carry proceed with caution signs. And, I think you know why. The waiter places it on the table before you and it takes a delicate and disciplined approach to not cave in and consume the entire basket in minutes (and especially if they contain those sumptuous and creamy buttery spreads.)  Those baskets can be a formidable challenge for those watching the waistline and consuming too much can kill the appetite. Being gluten-free lately has certainly helped me push that basket away, but those gluten-free options are enticing, too.

So, if you are going to dig in that bread basket seeking your favorite carb and throw a devil may care nod to the wind, try a spread or topping like one of these for some nutrient-packed options.  Who knows, you may enjoy the toppings so much, you won't eat so much bread and ruin your appetite!

Healthy Spreads

Here are three healthy toppings or spreads you can create quickly at home for your bread basket.  They make great pot luck additions too.

1.  Blueberry and Apricot Chutney

The sweet and tang of this vitamin C and antioxidant-rich topping is nice over goat cheese or plain with multi-grain bread or crackers.

  • zest and juice of half an orange
  • 1 cup organic blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped fresh organic apricots (peaches or nectarines would be nice too)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • dash of cumin
  • pinch of fresh ginger
  • sprinkle of pink salt
  • 1/8 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
Now do this
  • In small saucepan, place first eight ingredients.
  • Let it come to a gentle boil and let the fruit meld and become soft and allow the consistency to become spreadable.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Place in serving piece and garnish with almonds and chive.

2.  Olive Tapenade

Olives are a crucial element of the healthy Mediterranean diet, which I wrote about here and here. Olives and olive oil contain tyrosol, which can lower the risk of developing cancer, dementia, and several heart diseases, which I wrote more about hereServe this atop a toasted bread or cracker to hold up to the strong flavors and richness of this topping.

  • I cup pitted Kalamata olives or others of choice
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • sprinkle of pink salt
  • 5 large basil leaves 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 sun dried tomatoes, minced
Now do this
  • In food processor or mini chopper, place first five ingredients and chop only until very roughly chopped.
  • Drizzle in oil while food processor is running still leaving ingredients chunky.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Place in bowl and sprinkle with sun dried tomatoes.

3.  Tzatziki

The creamy yogurt provides probiotics for healthy digestion and the herbs provide various phytonutrients as well.  I would double this as this is great leftover for grilled fish or with rice the next night.  This is so light and refreshing and not heavy at all and goes with a more delicate bread or cracker.

  • 1 small cucumber, seeded and diced finely
  • salt
  • 1.5 cups organic Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs of choice: mint, parsley, chervil are all good here
  • pinch of cayenne, optional
Now do this
  • Sprinkle salt over chopped cucumber and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse salt off of cucumber using small colander and let drain.
  • Combine yogurt with the rest of ingredients and then add cucumber. Fold together.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning. More salt may be necessary.
  • Let sit for about an hour in the refrigerator for flavors to combine. 

photo credit: <a href="">arbyreed</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="


  1. What a fantastic trio of little spreads! I've eaten tsatziki many times (and love it!) but I'd love to try the other two as well. I love olive tapenade (but extra YUM with the sun dried tomatoes!) and the idea of blueberries and apricots together is making me swoon.
    I know what you mean about that wicked bread basket, though. The best thing a restaurant can do is to be a bit mean with it and only bring you a little piece each! :-)

  2. Hi Helen! Yes, the waiter should be cruel and only bring a slice or two. A bit of tough love, I suppose? Ha! Have a great weekend, Helen!