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

Summertime Fine with a Salad the Side

Summer is my favorite time of year for several reasons. Warm weather. Beach weekends. Fireworks. Outdoor cookouts. My birthday month. And fresh, vibrant, delectable veggies!

Speaking of summery produce in all its glory, this girl’s been busy testing new recipes lately. And, I’m pleased to report the results are successful.

Like…you should be so lucky to visit my kitchen.

Fortunately though, I’m bringing the deliciousness to you!

Who doesn’t love a seasonal salad — chock full of crisp, colorful, refreshing flavors? The following recipe offers just that with a zesty Asian twist. Better yet: it’s nutrient-packed, plant-based and 100% raw. So, treat yourself to seconds (or thirds!). I dare you to resist…

Thai Chopped Salad with Almond-Sriracha Dressing

Ingredients:

2 c. Romaine Lettuce (chopped)

1 c. Red Cabbage (chopped)

1 Red Bell Pepper (matchstick sliced)

1/2 c. Baby Carrots (matchstick sliced)

1/2 c. Garbanzo Beans

1/2 c. Raw Cashews

Thai Chopped Salad ingredients

For the Dressing:

3 tbsp. Soy Sauce (low-sodium)

2 tbsp. Almond Butter (all-natural)

2 tbsp. Agave Nectar

1/2 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce

Thai Chopped Salad dressing ingredients

Preparation:

1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the Soy SauceAlmond ButterAgave Nectar and Sriracha Sauce until smooth.

2. In a larger bowl, toss together the Lettuce, Red Cabbage, Bell Pepper, Carrots, Garbanzo Beans and Cashews until evenly distributed.

3. Drizzle the Dressing over the Salad, then roughly toss again to coat the dressing throughout before serving.

Thai Chopped Salad dressing

Thai Chopped Salad 1

Serving Suggestion:

Double the dressing ingredients to achieve a creamier texture, then dish up the salad over Brown Jasmine Rice for a curry-esque taste.