Cherry season is in full swing and, actually, will be done before you know it. We wait for this delicious, juicy fruit all year long and then, as quickly as cherries arrive, it seems they’re gone. I refuse to let the moment pass this year and am using these easy cherry recipes to enjoy different varieties—red, black, Rainier, sour—at breakfast, lunch, dinner and, of course, dessert. But not just at dessert.
(But, still, dessert is best.)
Cherries for breakfast! Can you think of anything better? The easiest way to enjoy this treat is to make a cherry syrup that can go over any other breakfast you make. If you want to go all out, try these Cherry Banana Pancakes with Cherry Pancake Syrup at Delia Creates. The recipe is vegan, but you can use any pancake batter you want. You can also make plain old pancakes (or, uh, frozen waffles) and focus only on this cherry syrup. It will surely make anything taste delicious.
So, technically, Cherry Clafoutis, like this gorgeous specimen at Bakers Royale, is considered a dessert, but I beg to differ. This super easy recipe (blend + bake) has flour, Greek-style yogurt, eggs and, sure, some sugar. But that’s pretty much a variation on a pancakes, right? Right. So make this for breakfast. I dare you.
Now this is how you win points with the kids. Serve up Balsamic Roasted Cherry, Dark Chocolate and Brie Grilled Cheese from Closet Cooking for lunch one weekend afternoon and watch their jaws drop. Chocolate for lunch? Yes, please. And with plenty of protein from the cheese, thank you very much. Make the roasted cherries ahead of time to keep this quick and easy.
Like Kate, I’m feeling the grain salads for summer and this stunning Cherry and Walnut Quinoa Salad at A Common Connoisseur is calling my name. Grab directions for how to cook quinoa perfectly in 5 easy steps at my site, One Hungry Mama, and then whip the rest of this together, mix and serve.
This Grilled Tilapia with Cherry Salsa at Martha Stewart Everyday Food takes 15 minutes to prep and 20 minutes total. Between the ease, the fact that the fish is grilled (though you can substitute broiled or pan fried), and the genius use of fresh cherries, this recipe earns a place on my best summers recipe list.
Tart cherries pair especially well with fish, which is why I had to also include this mouthwatering Salmon with Cucumber, Cherries, and Avocado (above & top) at Borrowed Salt. This takes 20 minutes to prep (mostly pitting cherries), but only 8 minutes to cook, so it all works out perfectly. Thirty-minutes and you get this deliciousness.
Cherries add a great sweet-tart element to BBQ sauce, which is always better with a sweet-tart element. This recipe for Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cherry-Jalapeno Barbecue Sauce at Natalie’s Daily Crave looks delicious and is easy to whip up. You can even make the sauce ahead of time and brush it on the chicken—or really any meat—whenever you’re ready up to 5 days later.
If you want a lighter salad to go on the side of dinner—an easy chicken recipe or perfectly grilled steak, for example—try this Fennel, Watercress and Fruit Salad from Bon Appetit. The dressing has 3 ingredients (yes!) and the fruits are perfect in summer. Mix them up with whatever is on hand—peaches instead of plums, for example—but keep the cherries. The cherries are worth it. Oh, yea, and regular salt will work just as well as smoked salt. Don’t stress it.
Okay, it’s time for dessert. The obvious dessert of choice for cherries is cherry pie. I love this Cherry Slab Pie that we found at Smitten Kitchen because, well, slab pies aren’t fussy. If you want to make it even easier, you can use store-bought pie dough. If that’s what it takes, we will not judge. Everyone should eat at least one piece of cherry pie every summer. It’s a rule.
Related: 5 gorgeous summer pies to make right now.
You don’t have to bake cherries for them to make a delicious dessert. Take advantage of the goodness of fresh cherries with this easy Orange and Basil Macerated Cherries dessert at Southern Living. They say to pair this with fresh ricotta, which is great, but it also pairs great with yogurt or ice cream, which might be more kid-friendly.