Out of all the fresh, vibrant, enticing produce I look forward to around this time of year, cherries are the clear stand-out.
Call it nostalgia, but that juicy tartness reminds me of childhood summers spent vacationing with my family in Northern Michigan, where cherries make their way into everything — from pies to paninis. I love cooking with this fruit because even just the aroma drifting through my kitchen calls to mind a special time and place.
Since cherries are currently at the height of peak season, I’m taking full advantage by sneaking them into all my favorite dishes. Like, quesadillas, for example. I’m such a Tex Mex sucker, and cherries definitely turn up the volume on this Southwest staple.
Trust me, it’s summer in your mouth!
2 Whole Wheat Tortillas
1/2 c. Halved Cherries
1/4 c. Shredded White Cheddar*
4-5 Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 tbsp. Raw Honey
2 tsp. Orange Zest
*Need a vegan cheese substitute? Check out my Cashew Cream recipe.
1. Coat the bottom of a skillet with Cooking Spray and pre-heat the skillet on a medium-high stovetop setting.
2. Place a Tortilla in the skillet and spread the White Cheddar (or vegan substitute) evenly over it, then top with the Cherries and Basil.
3. Drizzle the Honey and Orange Zest over the other ingredients, then place the other Tortilla on top.
4. Press down on the Quesadilla with a spatula until the bottom Tortilla starts sizzling (approx. 2 minutes), then flip to the other side.
5. Once both sides have cooked thoroughly, and the Quesadilla reaches a crispy texture, transfer it from the skillet to a plate.
Make this summery meal even more refreshing by smothering it with a Cherry-Mango Salsa that’s both colorful and bursting with seasonal flavors. Simply toss together 1/2 tbsp. Honey, 1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 tsp. Sesame Oil, 2 tsp. Chopped Mint, 1/4 c. Diced Mango and 1/4 c. Halved Cherries. The perfect side for a light, fruity entree!