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It’s Cherry Season! Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad - Salty Sweet Life

It’s that time of year again when I gorge myself on ripe, sweet cherries! I just can’t walk by a display of cherries in the grocery store without buying a bag, because it’s the one time that they won’t completely break the bank! Have you seen them priced at $9.99 per pound before? I have and it freaks me out. So, I exercise restraint throughout the year and go cherry crazy right about now.

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad - Salty Sweet Life

During cherry season, you’ll find me with a bowl of cherries tucked in my lap and munching away contentedly with no need to do anything further to distract from this lusciously sweet treat. Plain cherries are just fine with me, but I suppose if I wrote a blog post about a bowl of cherries, you might look at me a little funny.

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad - Salty Sweet Life

Recently, on the way to work I was listening to an episode of The Splendid Table as Jen Stevenson, co-writer of the book, The Picnic and member of the Portland Picnic Society (well, of course Portland has a picnic society, doesn’t your town?) was discussing a cherry salad with mint and pistachios. By the time I got to work, I was brimming with excitement to make this salad and go on a picnic–probably not the best frame of mind for buckling down at work!

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad - Salty Sweet Life

Aside from being at work and feeling antsy about cherries and picnicking, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The mint plants in my garden have finally recovered from the beating they took last month during the windy season and they are now back to being full and lush. I also just happened to have a bag of pistachios “borrowed” from a friend (note to self: must replace the borrowed pistachios). And, as luck would have it, it’s the beginning of cherry season. It was kismet.

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad - Salty Sweet Life

I love recipes that are essentially non-recipes–it’s free-form and flexible. There are no hard and fast rules or measurements. Just cherries, a handful of fresh mint leaves and coarsely chopped pistachios. You could stop right there and not go any further, but I wanted to add a little dressing to make the dish complete. The simplest combination of lime, shallots, honey and a little walnut oil was a lovely, savory addition that made the cherries sing.

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad - Salty Sweet Life

The result was a bright and refreshing summer salad, perfect for a picnic or even alongside a juicy steak. It’s a great way to enjoy the bounty of sweet cherries while they’re in season!

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad - Salty Sweet Life

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad - Salty Sweet Life

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: so easy
  • Print

Inspired by The Portland Picnic Society

One thing that caught my attention as I was listening to the podcast was that Jen Stevenson pits cherries the same way I do, with an empty wine bottle and a chopstick. It makes pitting cherries a breeze and it eliminates the need for a cherry pitter. Here’s a link to a video that shows how it’s done.

  • 1 pound ripe cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 handful of fresh mint leaves, slivered
  • 1/4 roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons of honey or agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (about a half of a large shallot)
  • 1 sprig sweet basil, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil (or other neutrally flavored oil)
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • tiny pinch of kosher salt
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, shallot, basil, honey or agave syrup, black pepper and salt. Allow the ingredients to sit for at least 5 minutes, or just set them aside while you prepare the cherries. Add the walnut oil and whisk to combine.
  2. Combine the cherries, mint leaves and pistachios and toss very gently with the dressing. Sprinkle with a few extra pistachios and mint leaves and serve. I love this salad at room temperature, but it’s also great chilled.

Sweet and Savory Cherry, Mint and Pistachio Salad - Salty Sweet Life

So, what are your favorite things to do with fresh cherries? If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, try this Cherry Chocolate Crisp from the Bountiful cookbook–so delicious!

Cherry Chocolate Crisp from "Bountiful"

If you’re in the mood for a cocktail this Cherry Drop Martini made with muddled fresh cherries and Hendrick’s Gin should hit the spot–it’s fabulous! Enjoy your weekend and the start of cherry season!

Cherry Drop Martini - Salty Sweet Life

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16 Comments

  1. Michelle Morgando says

    Your photos are so gorgeous! Thank you for the lovely salad recipe. My favorite cherry recipe is to mascerate them with a little bit of lime, ginger and simple syrup, then mix that in with home made lemonade and club soda for a little fizz. If I want a grown up drink, substitute Prosecco for the club soda 😊😊

    • Thank you Michelle! That recipe sounds fabulous! I’ve been thinking of some new cherry drinks as well–so I might just “borrow” yours! 😃

  2. First, these photos are stunning! Second, I cannot wait to try this salad. I am the same way about cherries. It is my favorite season of the year. Around here, when they first show up at the farmers market they are $6 or $7 a lb. As it moves into the seasons and more vendors have them, they drop to about $3 lb or less, then back up to $7 or $8 during the final few days. I’m very strategic about when I stock up to replenish my supply in the freezer!

    • Lori, you are too kind! Thank you! Ha, I wish they were 6-7 at the farmers market! But I was able to find them for 3.99/lb at the regular grocery store! I’ll get them while they’re hot!

  3. OMG I am Cherry mad at the moment. I have it in my porridge everyday. I go to bed thinking about my cherry heaven breakfast lol. I usually have my porridge made with just water but the cherry makes all the difference. The heat from the porridge enables the cherry to spill out just enough juice to really set things off. I love it and I love this post xo

    • I love it! Cherry madness is the best way to be! And the cherry porridge sounds divine! Thank you for stopping by! It’s great to hear from you!

  4. snehapa says

    Heyya.. I love all of these recipes and can’t wait to try the salad! Your photos are gorgeous and even I’m very strategic about when I stock up to replenish my supply in the freezer.. 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you so much for stopping by! And thank you for the compliment! I hope you enjoy it and you are reminding me to get a few batches of cherries for the freezer as well! Great idea!

  5. Portland Fresh says

    Yum, looks delicious!!!! Loving the styling too 😉 x

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