Wordless Wednesday | 15

There's a reason that bruschetta - an Italian word for thinly sliced crusty bread, typically drizzled with olive oil, toasted and served warm - is so popular as an appetizer. It can be topped with virtually anything, dressed up or down depending on the occasion, and satisfies without stuffing.

I've been making Real Simple's Chickpea and Balsamic Vinegar topper for nearly a decade. I haven't found anything quite so simple, which uses mainly pantry ingredients and can be prepped in advance, and is such a crowd-pleaser. Except, perhaps, this Walnut and Parmesan Spread. In the unlikely event you have leftovers, try stirring it into a fresh bowl of pasta (and loosen up the texture with a dash of pasta water if needed).