Blackberry & Lemon Zest Crostini

A simple summer appetizer: blackberries + mascarpone cheese with thyme and lemon zest. (vegan option).

blackberry and lemon zest crostini /

Now that it’s nearly summer, I’ve been making more and more things with less and less ingredients. Lately, I’ve been in love with this juicy little blackberry bite – it’s simple, sweet & bright, with an unexpected savory note from the thyme leaves.

These would be beautiful (not to mention ridiculously easy to assemble) for any last minute cocktail party. The only thing missing here: a patio & a few glasses of prosecco. It’s 5 o’ clock somewhere right?

blackberry and lemon zest crostini /

blackberry & lemon zest crostini

  • slices of toasted baguette
  • mascarpone cheese (see vegan version in the notes)
  • blackberries (macerated w/ a pinch of sugar and salt)
  • lemon zest
  • a few thyme leaves
  • drizzle of honey
  • optional - more salt, to taste
  1. Place blackberries in a small bowl, add a pinch (or two) of sugar and a small pinch of salt. Stir, and let sit at room temp for 20-30 minutes. (you can skip this step, it just makes them a bit juicier).
  2. Assemble crostini with a spread of mascarpone cheese, a few blackberries, top with lemon zest.
gluten free version: use toasted gluten free bread or crackers.

vegan version: make cashew "cream": 1.5 cups soaked raw cashews, drain and rinse, then blend (in a high speed blender) with the juice of 1 small lemon, ½ cup water (more as needed), and a few pinches of salt. Blend until creamy, then chill before serving. (Also - skip the honey on top).


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  1. Linda

    I am hosting a baby shower and wanted a unique appetizer. Made these for my husband and I to try last night and they were amazing! I didn’t realize you had used mascarpone cheese. I had Laurel Chenel Orange Blossom Honey Goat Cheese and used that. I live in Oregon and the blackberries are just arriving at the market. The lemon zest and thyme leaves are a must, such a beautiful flavor combination. We will try these again tonight with the mascarpone!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Linda, I’m so glad you enjoyed them! I bet they were delicious with the goat cheese!

  2. Erin from

    I love your photos, they are gorgeous!!

  3. Wowww all of your creations look and sound so heavenly! These are so delish, I can tell….it has all my favorite ingredients in one . 😀

  4. I all the time used to read paragraph in news papers but now as I am
    a user of internet so from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web.

  5. amanda from

    YUM!! I love crostinis, seriously they are a perfect food and if i were to ever open a resto it would be one dedicated entirely to crostinis. and tequila. this version looks bomb. roberta’s in brooklyn has a version that’s smoked ricotta, fresh thyme, honey and cracked black pepper that is just so perfect.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.