Important things first.

Have you ever seen a cherry butt?

It’s cute.

It shares a pit.

Sort of like sharing a heart… but not.

I have become the master of cherry eating this month. I’ve eaten like ten pounds of cherries since July 1st. I’ll tell you what… it is fantastic.

My hands are stained a deep cherry red.

It’s fancy.

I’ve put cherry pits in the garbage disposal in my sink. Mostly because I’m lazy. Don’t do it… unless you want to sacrifice your fingers and later pay a burly man $137 to use his fingers to scrape cherry pits from the bottom of your sink. What a job.


I forgot to brush my teeth after eating 8 billion juicy, juicy cherries one day then went shopping and smiled like a freak.

Pro? Instant lipstick.

Con? Creeper teeth.


I’ve tried unsuccessfully to do that sexy tie-the-stem-into-a-knot-in-your-mouth trick only to end up eating more cherries so I’d have more stems and spending almost two hours doing this very important thing. It left me nearly choking to death and with cuts all over my tongue. Now that’s sexy.

I was clearly a little heavy-handed with the spoon… and my creeper teeth. I promptly chewed an entire bowl of cherry quinoa with cherry balsamic for lunch before realizing that… oh… I should probably take some pictures. And they should probably be from weird angles that makes it hard to see the quinoa and really difficult to photograph something and not make it look like dog food with white sprinkles. And I should probably take about 35 pictures and not look at one of them and then eat another bowl of quinoa and instantly clean my kitchen. This was a weird day. I never instantly clean my kitchen.

Alas, two pictures. My bad. This is good stuff.

Fresh Cherry and Pecan Quinoa

makes 2 cups

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cups water, stock or liquid of choice (I used chicken stock)

1 bulb roasted garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1-2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced (I used cherry balsamic)

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add onions and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until soft and slightly caramelized. Add in quinoa then add in liquid. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. While quinoa is cooking, add balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to thicken.

Remove quinoa from heat and fold in cherries, pecans, roasted garlic, and feta. Drizzle with balsamic or stir it in. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Note: this would also work with dried cherries. It can be served warm or cold.

If you need me I’ll be in cherry rehab.

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118 Responses to “Fresh Cherry and Pecan Quinoa.”

  1. #
    Nicole @ Making Good Choices — July 19, 2011 @ 7:08 am

    I love the idea of this dish. I have also been on a cherry kick, but cherry balsamic! that’s awesome.I’d love to bring this to a summer party, without the creeper teeth of course.


  2. #
    Kathryn — July 19, 2011 @ 7:08 am

    Wowzer, this sounds amazing! Cherries! Pecans! Feta! What a perfect salad.


  3. #
    Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories — July 19, 2011 @ 7:09 am

    Hey, I think cherry season is short enough that you’ll end up alright in the end. And we’ll have some delicious new recipes to boot! ;)


  4. #
    Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance — July 19, 2011 @ 7:11 am

    Cherries and feta cheese sounds like a delectable combo!

    (thanks for teaching me how to cook the quinoa that has been in my cupboard for a year as well ;) )


  5. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — July 19, 2011 @ 7:11 am

    This looks delish, I just need to get past my lazyness and pit some cherries!


  6. #
    Three-Cookies — July 19, 2011 @ 7:12 am

    Very creative and interesting, almost a sweet/savoury combination dish. Exclude/substitute a few ingredients and this could well become a great dessert also


  7. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — July 19, 2011 @ 7:14 am

    I love cherries. I just bought a bag yesterday! They are summer’s delicacy. Only around for such a short time (and only available at affordable prices for such a short time..have you ever picked up what you though was a small-ish bag of cherries, only to have it be like $12 dollars…I have…haha!)

    Great recipe!


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 7:34 am

      Just did that Sunday!


  8. #
    Julie — July 19, 2011 @ 7:18 am

    mmmm, I LOVE cherries! I have yet to try quinoa, though. Don’t worry, its on the grocery list! :)


  9. #
    Marisa — July 19, 2011 @ 7:18 am

    LOVE quinoa. And this recipe looks scrumptious. If you have any extra quinoa, you should try mixing it with some chopped up avocado, some lemon vinegrette, tomatoes, fresh cut corn off the cob, and whatnot. mmmm. summer in a dish.


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 7:34 am

      That sounds so good!


  10. #
    Donna @ Life of a Happy Blonde — July 19, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    Cherry Balsamic, holy yummmm
    I love love love real Cherries but anything cherry flavoured makes me gag!
    Love how you admit how hard it is to take photos of quinoa :)


  11. #
    Holly — July 19, 2011 @ 7:25 am

    I think I’ve died and gone to heaven! Could it get any better?!


  12. #
    Katrina — July 19, 2011 @ 7:26 am

    This is such a yummy looking/sounding recipe! Yum!


  13. #
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — July 19, 2011 @ 7:30 am

    Any cherry pitting tips? I feel like there has to be a better way than just digging in with a small knife.


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 7:34 am

      Buy a cherry pitter! Seriously, best thing ever, and not very expensive. Other than that, you have to just cut it in half and pull it out.


  14. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — July 19, 2011 @ 7:31 am

    mmmmm cherries…i like to eat them at work to really master the creeper teeth in a proper public setting :)


  15. #
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — July 19, 2011 @ 7:35 am

    I love quinoa, and this looks great. I love the addition of roasted garlic–yum!


  16. #
    Holly @ The Runny Egg — July 19, 2011 @ 7:45 am

    I need to join you in cherry rehab!!! I love them so much and for some reason the hefty (HEFTY!!!) price tag isn’t stopping me. Yikes.


  17. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — July 19, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    Oooh yum I need to track down some of this cherry balsamic vinegar! I’ve got fig and raspberry infused ones but cherry would be (pardon the pun) the bomb. Great recipe Jess!


  18. #
    Lisa @ Dishes of Mrs. Fish — July 19, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    Cherries, yum!


  19. #
    Julie H. — July 19, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    I *JUST* got my first quinoa and am so excited! ….This cold be on the menu! ….Looks AHH-M-A-Z-ING! :)


  20. #
    Cassie @ Back to Her Roots — July 19, 2011 @ 7:59 am

    I LOVE Fustini’s! I have their pear cinnamon balsamic and it is pretty much drinkable. Also highly recommend the blood orange olive oil. YUM.


  21. #
    Karin — July 19, 2011 @ 8:18 am

    Hahaha. I don’t even know if I like the recipe, I just looked over it quickly, but I loved your writing around it. You”re funny :)


  22. #
    Hilliary @ Happily Ever Healthy — July 19, 2011 @ 8:27 am

    I just bought a ton of fresh cherries! I should try this!


  23. #
    Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} — July 19, 2011 @ 8:31 am

    I have been loving quinoa+fruit salads this summer. It looks great with cherries!


  24. #
    Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking — July 19, 2011 @ 8:36 am

    Looks wonderful! Have never had quinoa, but will definitely have to give this a try. Thanks, Jessica!


  25. #
    Angela (Oh She Glows) — July 19, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    I love adding berries to quinoa. This looks like the perfect side dish for a picnic!


  26. #
    Terry — July 19, 2011 @ 9:00 am

    If loving cherries is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!


  27. #
    Erin — July 19, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    I’ve never seen a cherry butt, I feel like I am missing out.


  28. #
    kaceyt @ om&nom — July 19, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    cherry balsamic? sounds like something worth trying…along w/ this recipe, of course! i was a bit surprised when i looked at the actually recipe, i thought it was going to be a sweet dish, but it looks quite savory. thanks for another great recipe!


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 10:11 am

      Yes it was definitely a savory one!


  29. #
    sherri lynn @ life of a wife — July 19, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    I would never have thought of this combination! I’m not a huge cherry fan so I might sub craisins or cranberries instead. But it looks delicious!


  30. #
    Lisa | Life in Green — July 19, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    Cherries are really good this year! I’ve been woofin’ down the rainier cherries…i swear they are candy. :) Love your recipe!


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 10:10 am

      I just saw STRAWBERRY rainier cherries at a local farm on Sunday! Ever have those? I’m dying to try them!


      • Lisa | Life in Green — July 19th, 2011 @ 11:31 am

        No I haven’t even seen them! You best be buying those next time you do!

        • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

          As soon as I at the 5 lbs of cherries left in my fridge, I’m gettin’ them.

  31. #
    Kim in MD — July 19, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    “I’ve tried unsuccessfully to do that sexy tie-the-stem-into-a-knot-in-your-mouth trick”. Ha! Me, too!:-)
    I love cherries, and they have such a short season so I overindulge, too! This recipe looks amazing, Jessica!


  32. #
    Kristen @ notsodomesticated — July 19, 2011 @ 9:13 am

    I’ve seen a lot of cherry butts recently haha! For some reason, in every batch I’ve bought this summer, there have been several. And you’re right… they are pretty cute. ;)


  33. #
    Vicky @ Recipe Adaptors — July 19, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    I’ll have to try to remember this for when cherries are in the stores here – that isn’t until Christmas! We are all upside down here in Australia…


  34. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — July 19, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    After eating about 3.5 out of the 4lb bag of cherries I bought 2 days ago maybe I’ll try making this with some dried cherries too. I keep trying to do the knot thing too with absolutely no success.


  35. #
    Stephanie @cookinfanatic — July 19, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    I have been on such a quinoa kick lately, love it! This recipe sounds delicious, I like the sweet cherry addition!


  36. #
    Brooke @ BittersweetBrooke — July 19, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    I love me some cherries but I would never think to pair cherries and feta but now that I think of it, it sounds awesome! Sweet, salty and tangy. I totally can’t tie a knot in the cherry stem in my mouth either, I’d rather spend my time shoving more cherries in my mouth!


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 10:09 am

      Yes. This.


  37. #
    Barefeet In The Kitchen — July 19, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    I just picked up a ton of cherries yesterday thinking that I should actually do something with them this time, vs just letting the family devour them! Thanks for the ideas.


  38. #
    Jen — July 19, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    Cherries with balsamic sounds amazing! Combinations like that just lend themselves to grains like quinoa. I’m on a millet kick though, so I might have to try it with that!


  39. #
    Michelle — July 19, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    Great recipes, thanks for posting them. Gotta love cherries.


  40. #
    Bev Weidner — July 19, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    I think the facility for cherry rehab is right next to the facility for Trader Joe’s dark chocolate with toffee, pecans and walnuts. So, I hope to run into you.

    I might have issues.


  41. #
    Andrea @ Vegvacious — July 19, 2011 @ 9:41 am

    There are worse things to be hooked on than cherries… cherry whiskey :-)

    This is my kind of meal – cherries, quinoa and feta ~ all my faves!


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 10:09 am

      Have you ever had cherry rum?! It’s really good too!


  42. #
    Katie — July 19, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    This recipe sounds awesome … and it’s gluten-free!! As a Celiac, I read your posts daily hoping for something I can try (without a major overhaul to the recipe). Looking forward to making this! Love, love, love all of your posts!


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 10:08 am

      Oh sweet! Didn’t even realize. :) Thanks Katie!


  43. #
    Erica — July 19, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    I have been FLYING through cherries. They’re so good….its totally worth the annoyance of having to spit the pit out of each one :) I haven’t actually cooked with them- maybe that will prevent me from eating so many right from the bag.


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 10:08 am

      I hear ya!


  44. #
    Julie @SavvyEats — July 19, 2011 @ 9:54 am

    Um…yes. I JUST restocked my precious quinoa and lovvvve cherries. Must make!


  45. #
    Shanna, Like Banana — July 19, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    Love doing sweet quinoas — I did a maple apple quinoa that was pretty faboosh!


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 10:08 am

      That sounds SO GOOD.


  46. #
    Cookin' Canuck — July 19, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    Those two pictures are enough to tell me that I want to make a big bowl of this. Great flavors!


  47. #
    Krystina (Organically Me) — July 19, 2011 @ 10:17 am

    Cherry butts make me so happy. I love deformities.


  48. #
    Aimee @ShugarySweets — July 19, 2011 @ 10:20 am

    Cherry Balsamic? Oh my, that sounds awesome! I want. And the stem tying? Yeah, I’m a pro. It’s one of those things that I can brag about….that and using my toes to write. Talk about creepers.


    • Jessica — July 19th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

      I’m jealous. You’re talented.


  49. #
    Ashley — July 19, 2011 @ 10:20 am

    Photos or not, I can definitely tell this recipe is a major winner. The combination of ingredients is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever had cherries + feta, but I know my mouth will be doing a happy dance as soon as I try. Lovely!


  50. #
    Jodi @ Southern Flavored Life — July 19, 2011 @ 10:32 am

    The feta seems like the perfect finishing touch!



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