Strawberry Caprese with Lemon and Basil

My Lemon-Basil Strawberry Caprese is the essence of summer -- on a toothpick.

Course Appetizers and Hors d'Oeuvres
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword party food, summer dinner party
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 161 kcal
Author Valentina K. Wein


  • about 2 dozen small to medium sized fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced (see notes)
  • zest from 1 medium-sized lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, drained and cut into 2 dozen cubes
  • 1 dozen medium-sized fresh strawberries, washed and dried, stems removed
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, combine the basil leaves, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, salt and sugar.
  2. Add the cubed mozzarella and gently toss to be sure all of the cheese is well coated. Cover with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator, and marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. While the cheese is marinating, cut the strawberries, horizontally, into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices. (There will be a handful of "scraps" that you should eat. Right now, while you're cooking. Delicious!)
  4. Remove the marinating cheese from the refrigerator and place 1 dozen of the largest strawberry slices on a serving plate. Place one piece of cheese on top of each strawberry base, being sure to pick up bits of basil and lemon zest with each one. Add a second slice of strawberry on top, followed by another piece of cheese (again, well coated with basil and zest). Now gently stick a toothpick through each stack.
  5. Crack black pepper over the entire plate and serve. (Be generous with the pepper, it adds a nice kick to the sweetness of the berries.)

Recipe Notes

To thinly slice the basil, pile the leaves on top of each other to form a stack. Roll them up tightly, lengthwise, and then horizontally, cut this roll into thin slices. (This cut is called a chiffonade.)