This Healthy Fresh Cherry Crisp is the best way to enjoy all the deliciousness of fresh sweet cherries. The recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and contains NO processed sugar. Not only is it a treat to enjoy this decadent dish, but cherries have amazing health benefits, too!
One of my favorite things about the summer is all the beautiful fresh cherries available at the stores. They are so amazing, delicious, and the perfect sweet treat. I can eat a whole handful and still want more.
The window of time fresh cherries are available is so short, though, and it leaves me making all the fresh cherry recipes I can before time runs out. We all know how cherries have a sweet, amazing flavor, but did you also know they also carry a TON of health benefits? From reducing diabetes risks to enhancing sleep, research shows that cherries are basically a super fruit with health benefits for everyone.
So since fresh cherries are usually only available until August (sigh), I stock up to ensure this healthy treat is available to me and my family beyond the summer months. Yep – you can easily freeze, dry, or can fresh cherries to enjoy them year-round.
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY AND FRESH CHERRY CRISP
Wondering how to make a healthy and fresh cherry crisp? Good news: It’s super easy and only requires a few quick alterations to your typical crisp recipes. So, how do we do it?
- First off, we’re using naturally sweet cherries, so we barely need any additional sweetener.
- Fresh cherries are practically a candy that is very low in calories and high in fiber, which makes them the perfect base for your desserts if you’re trying to eat healthy and clean.
- I replaced any bleached flours with high fiber, heart-healthy rolled oats, and sliced almonds. Bonus: if you’re using gluten-free rolled oats, that means this is actually a gluten-free cherry crisp recipe, too.
- To make this fresh cherry crisp as light and good-for-you as possible, I didn’t use any processed sugars or artificial sweeteners.
Stick to these easy tweaks and then follow the recipe steps:
- Step 1: Remove the pits from the cherries. I use a handy cherry pitter – it’s fast and efficient! You can also use a knife to cut the cherries in half and remove the pit that way.
- Step 2: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease your ramekins while the oven heats up.
- Step 3: Combine the pitted cherries with pure maple syrup, arrowroot starch, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sea salt. Toss to coat.
- Step 4: Make your delicious crisp topping by combining the oats, almonds, pure maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, and coconut oil.
- Step 5: Put the cherry mixture in the ramekins and top with the crisp mixture.
- Step 6: Place the ramekins on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes.
- Step 7: Enjoy!
ARE SWEET CHERRIES GOOD FOR YOU?
Besides being absolutely addictive and delicious, cherries are definitely one of the best fruits you can add to your diet. Cherries offer the perfect dose of sweetness to your dessert without the excess sugar and calories. Cherries can also help you maintain a steady blood sugar as they have a low glycemic index. That also means that they will leave you full for longer. Delicious and good for you!
Eating cherries can help you reach the current dietary recommendation of two cups of fruit daily and can contribute to healthy weight maintenance, diabetes prevention, and improved cardiovascular health.
Still not convinced about adding cherries to your diet? Well, cherries also possess cancer-fighting properties since they contain ellagic acid, which appears to be a potent inhibitor to the growth of cancer cells.
Check out the rest of this post for more great health benefits of cherries. Cherries are pretty amazing, guys. And you can easily make pretty sweet cherry desserts!
DO SWEET CHERRIES HELP YOU SLEEP?
You know how when you were a kid your parents wouldn’t let you eat sugar before bed? Well, believe it or not, fresh sweet cherries for dessert can actually help you sleep better. Why do cherries help you sleep better? They are a natural source of melatonin, which helps you control your internal clock and regulate your sleep patterns. Cherries for dessert, anyone?
ARE SWEET CHERRIES GOOD FOR INFLAMMATION?
To be honest, I really had no idea about this before. But I know this is a very frequently asked question so I wanted to make sure to include it here. Did you know that eating cherries daily may help reduce your need for anti-inflammatories? Research appears to show that cherries actually shut down the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation in the exact same way as the drug, Ibuprofen. Of course, cherries are absolutely good for you, but the more I read about them (while snacking on them) the more they surprise me!
ARE SWEET CHERRIES A GOOD SOURCE OF FIBER?
Trying to add more fiber to your diet? Eat cherries! Eating fruit is a great way to boost your daily fiber intake and sweet cherries are a great source of fiber. That means they are absolutely great for your digestion. Did you know that 1 cup of pitted cherries contains 2.5g of fiber? This means we should eat more fresh cherry crisp, if you ask me!
HOW TO STORE CHERRIES FOR LATER
How To Keep Cherries Fresh In The Fridge
When buying cherries in a store or at the market, follow these tips for keeping the cherries as fresh as possible once you get them home:
- Always look for the shiny, firm fruits with green stems and avoid the ones with major bruises.
- Store them in the coolest part of your refrigerator.
- Don’t wash them before storing them in the fridge.
- Leave them uncovered.
- Keep them as far away as possible from the really strong-smelling foods as they can easily take on the odor.
Follow these tips and you’ll make your fresh cherries last as long as possible, which means more tasty cherry eating time!
How To Freeze Cherries
I love freezing fresh cherries to store for later. Not only do they make a great addition to a quick cherry smoothie, but they also allow me to enjoy summer cherries all year round. Here’s how to freeze cherries:
- Wash the cherries.
- Remove the stems.
- Pit the cherries (I use a cherry pitter, but you can also use a knife and cut out the pits).
- Spread the pitted cherries out in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
- Place cherries in freezer and freeze for 4-6 hours, until fully frozen.
- Remove from freezer and place, together, into freezer-safe bags.
- Place cherries back in freezer.
Frozen cherries will last all year, if stored appropriately so this is a great way to keep those summer cherry vibes all year long! In addition to freezing cherries, you can also can them as preserves or dry them to make the most of your fresh summer cherries.
CAN I USE FROZEN CHERRIES FOR HEALTHY AND FRESH CHERRY CRISP?
Yes, you can use frozen cherries for fresh cherry crisp, just be sure to thaw them first. I’ve used thawed berries on many occasions.
You see, I’ll freeze batches of cherries to make sure that I have them available whenever I get a craving for cherry crisp. As mentioned above, I wash and pit them first, spread them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and pop them in the freezer. Then I store them in reusable freezer bags.
CAN YOU FREEZE HEALTHY AND FRESH CHERRY CRISP?
I’m betting there’s absolutely no way you will be able to resist eating all this fresh Cherry Crisp, BUT in case you want to keep some of it for later, it’s good to know that you can easily freeze your Cherry Crisp and pop it out of the freezer and thaw whenever you feel you cherry cravings coming on. Just store it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.
When you’re ready to reheat, just thaw and then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F until heated through and bubbly.
HEALTHY AND FRESH CHERRY CRISP IS GLUTEN-FREE AND VEGAN
To make this decadent and fresh cherry crisp gluten-free, I did not use any type of flour. Instead, I chose almonds and oats. Although oats are gluten-free, when shopping, carefully check the label of the brand you buy to ensure that the oats were processed in a completely gluten-free facility. You don’t want any cross-contamination at any time!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH HEALTHY AND FRESH CHERRY CRISP
I love to eat this fresh cherry crisp when it’s warm. It’s super-scrumptious the way it is, but you can always top it with something yummy if you like:
RECIPE SUBSTITUTIONS FOR HEALTHY AND FRESH CHERRY CRISP
- I use Bing cherries to make my crisp, but you can easily substitute them for Rainier cherries. They are lighter in color but sweet like the Bing fruit. They may not hold together quite as well when baked, but the taste is super sweet.
- Montmorency and Morello cherries are sour but can work well. You may want to cut the lemon you add in the recipe by half.
- Want to try another berry? Consider raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries.
- To replace the oats and still remain gluten-free, try coconut chips or quinoa flakes.
MORE HEALTHY DESSERTS
I love dessert any time of year, especially if it’s delicious and clean-eating! Now that you’ve seen that a sweet treat can be good for you, you’ll want to expand your dessert horizons!
This Healthy and Fresh Cherry Crisp is the best way to enjoy all the deliciousness of fresh sweet cherries. The recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and contains no processed sugar. Not only is it a treat to enjoy this decadent dish, but cherries have amazing health benefits, too!
- 3 cups fresh Sweet Cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 cup sliced raw almonds
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, softened
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease 2-4 (depending on size - I use two 4.5 oz. ramekins) ramekins with coconut oil and then set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine pitted and halved fresh sweet cherries, pure maple syrup, arrowroot starch, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sea salt. Toss to coat. Set aside.
To make the crisp, in a small bowl, add the sliced almonds, oats, pure maple syrup, coconut oil, ground cinnamon, ginger, and sea salt. Toss to combine.
Add the cherry mixture to the bottom of the ramekins, divided evenly.
Sprinkle the oat mixture over the top of the cherries.
Bake until hot and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes. You can place the ramekins on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper, in case of spillage.
Allow to slightly cool.
Top with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and fresh mint, if desired.
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