Cherry Quesadillas: a Summertime Twist on a Mexican Mainstay

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!

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 Ingredients:

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.

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Preparation:

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.

6. Allow the Quesadilla to cook slightly before slicing into 8 equal wedges. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Do I even have to say what’s next? Enjoy!!!
cherry quesadillas

Serving Suggestion:

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!

mango cherry relish

Summer Eats, (Slightly!) Slimmed-Down

I say “slightly” because some of the ingredients featured in these recipes aren’t as —¬†errrhealthy as they could be. For example, Brioche is used rather than a more nutritious whole wheat alternative.

But, hey…Sometimes you just gotta have those comfort carbs!

(Alright. I confess: my eating habits are, in fact, subject to slip-ups. You caught me. I’m human, too!)

Anywho, since May is underway, classic warm weather¬†favorites¬†are making their seasonal debut, and in my kitchen, I can’t resist showcasing those fresh ‘n airy flavors all day long — from breakfast to dinner!

Whether you crave¬†“brekky” in bed or a poolside cookout this weekend, here’s what I’ve got in the works to tickle your summertime¬†taste buds:


First, on the menu…Who’s up for¬†brunchin’ it?!

AVOCADO & ALMOND BUTTER PROTEIN PANCAKES

Ingredients:

1/2 Hass Avocado

1 c. Whole Wheat Flour

1 Egg (omit if Vegan)

3 tbsp. Water

1 tbsp. Agave Nectar

1 tbsp. Almond Butter

1 tbsp. Whole Grain Oats

Preparation:

  1. Peel and core the halved Avocado, then transfer it into a small mixing bowl and mash until smooth, as though you’re making guacamole.
  2. Add the Flour,¬†Oats, Water, Egg (unless, of course, you’re vegan!),¬†Agave Nectar and Oats¬†into the mixing bowl, then combine all the ingredients together thoroughly.
  3. Coat a small skillet with non-stick Cooking Spray and pre-heat the skillet on a medium stovetop setting.
  4. Spoon the desired amounts of Batter into the skillet, then cook evenly on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each.
  5. Transfer the Pancakes onto a plate and allow them to cool slightly, then top each pancake with a dollop of Almond Butter.

avocado pancakes


And, now for round two…Did someone say¬†din-din?!

TANGY CUCUMBER, LEMON & DILL SALMON BURGERS

Ingredients:

1 Skinless Salmon Fillet

2-3 Cucumber Slices

2 slices Brioche (I used St. Pierre)

1 Garlic Clove

1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

2 tsp. Lemon Zest

1 tsp. Dried Dill Weed

2 tbsp. Feta (sub. for Cashew Cream if vegan)

1/4 c. Plain Greek Yogurt (check out this non-dairy guide if vegan)

Preparation:

  1. Coat a small skillet with non-stick Cooking Spray and pre-heat the skillet on a medium stovetop setting.
  2. Place the Salmon in the skillet and saute evenly on both sides until the fish is cooked thoroughly, about 5-7 minutes each.
  3. While the fish is cooking, whisk the Yogurt, Garlic, Dill, Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest together in a small bowl, then set aside temporarily.
  4. Place the Brioche slices in a toaster until they turn golden-brown and crispy, then transfer them onto a plate.
  5. Spread a thin layer of the Yogurt Sauce on each Brioche slice and place the Salmon on one of the slices.
  6. Garnish with the Cucumber slices and crumbled Feta (or cashew cream), then place the remaining Brioche slice on top.
  7. Serve this¬†Salmon Burger¬†alongside a tropical fruit medley — such as Mango, Kiwi and Avocado.

salmon burger

(In other news: it just occurred to me that I might be suffering from an Avo-Addiction.)