Recipe by: Kellie Shallal MPH RD
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Servings: 4 salads Calories: 493kcal

This fresh cherry salad is composed of fresh juicy cherries on top of a bed of peppery greens, plus creamy honey goat cheese & cherry balsamic vinaigrette.

This post is sponsored by Chelan Fresh, as always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.  

Hi friends!  I can’t believe the end of summer is almost here, and so, sadly, cherry season is coming to an end. That means this is the last post in our summer cherry series sponsored by my friends at Chelan Fresh.  If you missed the other recipes in this series, make sure you check out 15 healthy cherry recipes for summer and beyond, post-workout bowls with cherry chia jam, and cherry banana muffins.

We’ve talked about the nutrition benefits of cherries, including how they can help reduce pain and enhance recovery, and how they are nutrition-packed snacks for kids.  We can’t end our summer series without talking about how cherries may also help improve your sleep.

Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone your body normally produces to regulate your sleep cycle (1).  Natural levels of melatonin peak at night, which helps promote high-quality sleep.  A few studies have found that drinking cherry juice before bed increases levels of melatonin in the bloodstream.  Researches have also seen an increase in sleep duration and sleep quality when people drank cherry juice about four hours before bed, compared to a placebo.  (2,3) While the studies are on cherry juice, incorporating cherries in your dinner to help begin to raise your melatonin levels may also just help improve your sleep.

In addition to naturally containing melatonin, cherries are also a source of healthy (high glycemic index) carbohydrates, which, when eaten 4 hours before bed, can raise your tryptophan and serotonin levels, substances involved in sleep. (4) That’s why when my clients have trouble falling asleep. I always recommend they have a healthy source of carbohydrates with dinner.

Cherries’ natural melatonin content and carbohydrate content make them a perfect addition to your dinner meal. That’s why I wanted to round out this summer series with this delicious dinner salad topped with chicken, fresh cherries, honey goat cheese (or feta if you aren’t a goat cheese fan), and sweet cherry balsamic dressing. It’s a dinner packed with nutrients that may just help you get more z’s when you hit the pillow.  

Remember, cherry season is almost over, so now is a great time to buy extra Chelan Fresh cherries and freeze them for later use.  You could use your frozen cherries in my cherry cheesecake smoothie bowl for healthy breakfast or post-workout meal, or if you’re feeling like a nightcap, I recommend my crushed cherry margaritas!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 8 cups power greens
  • 4 ounces honey goat cheese
  • 4 cups Chelan Fresh sweet cherries
  • Salt and pepper

Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill to 400F. Sprinkle chicken tenders with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Grill chicken tenders for 8-10 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
  2. Add all the salad dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
  3. Assemble salads, each with 2 cups greens, 1-ounce honey goat cheese, and 1 cup, pitted, sliced Chelan Fresh cherries. Use up to 1/4 a cup of dressing on each salad.
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