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Five healthy and flavorful cherry-based recipes


Posted in: Recipes , Blogs , English

Superfoods should be treated like superheroes—admired for their abilities and called upon when things aren’t feeling quite right. Today, we turn to one of the best superfoods out there: cherries. This fruit is a go-to summertime snack that can pair perfectly with grilled meat while you’re soaking up the sun in the pool. 

From cleansing salads to soothing smoothies, we want to offer our top five favorite recipes focused on incorporating this delicious delicacy, cherries. On top of being full of flavor, cherries also provide numerous health benefits. So if you’re looking to spice up this powerful treat, try out one of these recipes. 

Five cherry-based recipes

Exercise recovery cherry-cocoa-pistachio energy balls

This snack is the perfect pre- or post-workout snack to get your energy pumping and muscles feeling good. Incorporate tart cherry concentrate in this recipe and consume over a few days to potentially see an improvement in endurance during exercise

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups dried tart cherries
  • ¾ cup shelled salted pistachios
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Steps:

  • In a food processor, combine cherries, pistachios, almond butter, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and cinnamon.
  • Pulse until finely chopped, until the mixture is crumbly but can be pressed to form a cohesive ball.
  • With wet hands (to prevent the mixture from sticking to them), squeeze about 1 tablespoon of the mix tightly, and roll it into a ball.

Anti-inflammatory cherry-spinach smoothie

Any diet full of fruits, vegetables, and fiber helps to reduce long-term inflammation. However, cherries may be one of the most beneficial fruits you can include in your diet. And even better, add spinach on top of that.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain low-fat kefir
    • Or you can replace it with ¾ cup of plain yogurt thinned with ¼ cup of milk
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • ½ cup baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup mashed ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon salted almond butter
  • 1 (½ inch) piece peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds, plus more for garnish

Steps:

  1. Place kefir, cherries, spinach, avocado, almond butter, ginger, and chia seeds in a blender.
  2. Puree until smooth.
  3. Pour into a glass; garnish with more chia seeds, if desired.

Refreshing cherry lemonade

Keep cool this summer with this tasty and nutrient-packed lemonade. This drink is the perfect thirst quencher for this scorching Texas heat. And if you’re looking to try a few more healthy lemonade recipes, we’ve got plenty for you. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups sweet cherries, pitted, plus whole cherries for garnish
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup stevia
  • 2 ½ cups cold water
  • Lemon slices for garnish

Steps:

  1. Combine cherries, lemon juice, and sugar in a blender. Puree until smooth.
  2. Strain through a fine sieve into a pitcher.
  3. Stir in water.
  4. Serve over ice, garnished with lemon and cherries.

Heart-healthy, chocolate-covered cherry-baked oatmeal

Did you know that cherries show the potential to lower your blood pressure? This fruit contains nutrients like polyphenols and potassium that are known to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups cherries, pitted and halved, divided
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 cups Silk chocolate soy milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Steps: 

  1. Heat oven to 375F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the hazelnuts, half the cherries, and half the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts, cherries, and chocolate chips on top.
  4. Whisk together the chocolate soy milk, egg, and vanilla extract in a second bowl. Pour over the oats, shaking the pan around slightly to evenly distribute it.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until set. Let cool slightly before serving.

Cleansing cherry salad

Whether you want a palate refresh or you’re just looking for a tasty new salad, this cherry-based recipe is sure to be exactly what you need. You can even prepare this salad to enjoy during a lunch break throughout the week. 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup uncooked farro or quinoa
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for cooking the farro
  • 1 large bunch of kale leaves (about 10 to 12 ounces), destemmed and chopped
  • 1 cup pitted cherries, halved
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 ounces), rinsed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (14 ounces) rinsed and sliced into quarters if large
  • ½ cup toasted walnut halves, roughly chopped

Steps:

  1. Place the farro in a medium saucepan with 1 ½ cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer uncovered, occasionally stirring, until the water is absorbed and the farro is tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl. While the farro cooks, prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, briskly whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon salt until well combined.
  3. Pour the dressing over the warm farro, then toss to coat.
  4. Add the kale, cherries, chickpeas, red onions, and artichokes and toss to combine. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top. If time allows, place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow the kale to tenderize. Enjoy!

What are the health benefits of eating cherries?

Infographic explaining the health benefits of eating cherries

What are the benefits of cherries for the skin?

Foods high in anti-inflammatory compounds—such as cherries—are great for improving skin health. Inflammation can cause elastin and collagen fibers in your skin to wear down faster, quickening the aging process. An anti-inflammatory diet will preserve youthful skin and protect it from environmental factors. You can also strengthen collagen formation by increasing your intake of vitamin C, and one cup of raw cherries contains 18% of your daily value of the vitamin.

How many cherries should you eat a day?

Many people reference the quote, “everything in moderation, including moderation.” This idea goes for cherries as well. Because they are high in fiber, if you consume too many cherries at one time, they can fly right through you. It’s best to find that happy medium of including cherries in your diet for their numerous health benefits while not eating so many that you aren’t spending time doing the things you love.  

Time for some cherry-picking. If you have any questions about cherries and their health properties—or questions about healthy lifestyle choices in general—reach out to a Baylor St. Luke’s primary care physician. Let’s get cooking.

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