Grilled Chicken & Fresh Cherry Salsa + Skinny Cherry Berry Smash


Grilled Chicken & Fresh Cherry Salsa and Skinny Cherry Berry Smash celebrate fresh, juicy fruit and berries.


Who says nothing exciting ever happens in Iowa? Yesterday we got our very first Whole Foods – booyah!


I, along with a good chunk of Central Iowa, have been waiting on pins and needles for this baby to open up, and I, along with a good chunk of Central Iowa, showed up to check it out on opening day. Seriously almost lost my mind amongst the crowds, but it was so worth it!

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And at least I got to wait the 30 minutes it took to check out in the chocolate aisle. ;)


Whole Foods is a wonderful addition to the community not only because they offer a wide variety of organic products (which is personally my favorite part) and special diet foods (egg & dairy free items for my nephew who has food allergies, for instance,) but also because of their commitment to support local farmers and merchants.


Some people jokingly call it “Whole Paycheck” because, yes, some products can be pricier than at the conventional grocery store, but I truly believe you get what you pay for, and the prices are reasonable if you shop seasonally, and smart. For instance, yesterday there was wild salmon on sale for $4.99/lb. Organic strawberry and blueberry cartons were 2/$4, and organic cherries were just $4.99/lb. That’s insane!


I’m waiting to explore the store to its fullest after the crowds have died down a bit, but yesterday I managed to take a hot lap and grab a giant bag of those aforementioned cherries to make a CRAZY quick and healthy meal of Grilled Chicken & Fresh Cherry Salsa (with a Skinny Cherry Berry Smash on the side!)


You will ADORE this recipe! Juicy cherries mingle with fresh basil, honey, and balsamic vinegar, then are drizzled over 8 minute grilled chicken. This dinner will take you 20 minutes TOPS to prepare. Sorry I keep computer shouting…I’m just a little excited.


Start the Grilled Chicken & Fresh Cherry Salsa by pitting 1 1/2lb cherries. I borrowed my Mom’s cherry pitter to do the job, but you can pit them the same way as if they were mini peaches. Slice, twist & pop.


Once the cherries are pitted, roughly chop them up and an add ’em to a big bowl.

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Next add 1/2 cup minced red onions, and 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

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Then chop up and add a handful of fresh basil, and 2 teaspoons honey.

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Finally, add a dash of salt, and 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar. That’s it! Stash the mix in the fridge to chill while you get the chicken ready to grill.

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Pound a couple chicken breasts (I used a cast iron skillet) to uniform thickness in a ziplock bag. I like using a bag over plastic wrap because I feel as though a chunk or two always escapes and flies across the kitchen never to be seen or heard from again. Gross.


Brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil, liberally season with salt & pepper, then grill over medium-high heat for 4 minutes a side, or until cooked through. You know I like me some fancy seasoning blends, but simple salt & pepper is still tre delish, and really lets the cherry salsa shine through.


Let the cooked chicken rest for 5 minutes, then plate, scoop, drizzle, and serve!


Grilled Chicken & Fresh Cherry Salsa

serves 4


Grilled Chicken & Fresh Cherry Salsa is a gluten-free, light and healthy, 20 minute summer meal.


  • 1-1/2lb cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 chicken breasts, pounded to uniform thickness
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper


  1. Combine cherries, red onion, lemon juice, basil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and salt in a bowl. Place into the refrigerator while you grill the chicken.
  2. Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with oil then season liberally with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for 4 minutes a side, or until cooked all the way through. Let rest for 5 minutes before topping with fresh cherry salsa.


Slightly adapted from Simply Recipes.  

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


Juicy, tart, savory, and sweet – this is one of my favorite fruit salsas of all time. I would make this whole, summery meal again and again, and seriously – 20 minutes to make the whole thing!


I couldn’t let dinner have all the fun, so I combined some more pitted cherries with blueberries and a little booze, and made a Skinny Cherry Berry Smash to sip alongside.


Fresh cherries and blueberries are muddled with mint then topped off with fresh lime juice, dark rum, and no-calorie dark cherry soda. This whole sweet and refreshing drink clocks in at under 120 calories!


Just pit 3 cherries, cut them in half, then add them to a glass with 2 Tablespoons fresh blueberries and a couple sprigs of mint. Muddle with a wooden spoon until the berries are juicy and the mint is fragrant.

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Add 1 1/2 shots (3 Tablespoons) dark rum,


then add 1 Tablespoon lime, and 3/4 cup no-calorie black cherry soda. You can use whatever type or brand of soda you like. I chose this soda sweetened with stevia, which I also picked up at Whole Foods.

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Stir, and add ice!

Skinny Cherry Berry Smash

serves 4


Skinny Cherry Berry Smash is cool and refreshing. The perfect summer cocktail!


  • 12 cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 12 fresh mint leaves
  • 6 ounces dark rum
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2-3 limes worth)
  • 3 cups black-cherry or cherry flavored soda
  • ice


  1. Add 3 cherries, 2 Tablespoons blueberries, and 4 mint leaves into each glass. Muddle with a wooden spoon, then add 1 1/2oz dark rum, 1 Tablespoon lime juice, and 3/4 cup soda to each glass and stir. Add ice.


Adapted from Eating Well.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


Hope you’ll give these recipes a try sometime!



What’s your favorite grocery store?

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  1. love Zevia – haven’t tried that kind yet!
    Or mixing it with rum…seems like a fantastic idea. :-)

  2. Beth 07.19.2012

    Woo, Whole Foods in Iowa! (I’m a Cedar Rapids native.) Looks like the lines were crazy!

    I will definitely have to try that cherry salsa. It looks amazing. Also, your photographs of the food are amazing! You’re a very talented food photographer.

  3. Lindsey 07.19.2012

    Perfect! I have some cherries & chicken I need to use up in the fridge! :)
    I mainly shop at Fareway here in Sioux City. Or Hy-Vee.
    I went shopping in Des Moines this weekend, and checked out Trader Joe’s!! Wish Sioux City would get one of those.

  4. jacie 07.19.2012

    i can’t wait to go!!! :) :) :) :) :) sooo SOOO excited.

  5. Jules 07.19.2012

    I highly disagree with any assertion that Whole Foods is committed to local producers when the majority of their stock, including produce, is flown and trucked all across the globe. Which is bad for the environment, right? And promoting a healthy environment is why they believe in not using pesticides, right? Ugh, their practices don’t match up with their policies which irritates to me to no end. I feel like they are capitalizing on a niche market, without any understanding as to why that market even exists in the first place.

  6. Sara 07.19.2012

    The grilled chicken and cherry salsa recipe looks great! Definitely will be trying it! Thanks!

  7. AC 07.19.2012

    I’ve done all my grocery shopping at super target for years now!

  8. Jane 07.19.2012

    Darn it! We have yet to get a Whole Foods where I am located :( So my version is our towns farmers market, which isn’t as awesome as yours btw!

  9. Jane 07.19.2012

    There’s actually a great article to read about their practices-whether you agree or disagree, it’s worth looking at. I posted the link above….

  10. jen 07.19.2012

    austin just got it’s 4th whole foods last month and it is within walking distance of our house-dangerous! i’m particularly drawn to the cookie bar in their bakery section :) we got some awesome coupons though when they opened up.

  11. Jessica W 07.19.2012

    Love your blog. Great pictures! And hooray for Whole Foods! Does yours have a juice bar? They make some great juices.

  12. I want a Whole Foods in Fort Worth soooo bad! Perfect recipe for me. I have a bunch of cherries left over from another recipe that I need to get rid of.

  13. Erin S. 07.19.2012

    I’m so jealous that you have both a Whole Foods and a Trader Joes now!! I would love to have either one in my town – right now I only get to go to them when I visit my family 4 hours away, which limits what I can buy…

    The cherry salsa looks fantastic, if only I wasn’t allergic to cherries!

  14. Everything about this dinner looks so delicious! Especially that drink! :) Your photos are nothing short of amazing!

  15. Chris Hoebelheinrich 07.19.2012

    I’m a Hy-Vee girl, through & through!

  16. Hannah 07.19.2012

    You’re post makes me feel incredibly lucky. Haven’t been to whole foods for an extremely long time because we’re lucky enough to have a local market dedicated to local farms in Portland. They’re pretty big out here and you can usually find one in (most) every neighborhood. (new season’s). I pick and choose though for the most part. Big grocery or box store for staples and pantry stuff, TJs for cheese and wine and some of their other stuff, farmers markets (at least this time of year) for produce and meats and other hard to find stuff from new seasons. Not one of those is further than 5 minutes from my house or work.

    • Jamie 07.20.2012

      Woooo hoo Portland! :) I just moved here and am so excited at all the grocery stores that are available.

  17. I already ate dinner and this recipe is making me drool. I would have never thought of using cherries to make a salsa topping. Brilliant!

  18. Jill 07.19.2012

    I love me some hy-vee!

  19. Rachel 07.19.2012

    I do the majority of my shopping at Hy-Vee, and when I get down to Sioux Falls, there’s a local & organic market-Pomegranate Market-That I like to shop at. I’ve never set foot in a Whole Foods, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a LONG time before SoDak ever gets one!

  20. Amanda 07.19.2012

    We have two whole foods in our city but I never seem to find myself there. I keep meaning to try their salad and pizza bar though, I’ve heard great things.
    Dinner looks yummy! I’ll have to try that soda sometime, sodas with artificial sweeteners give me heart palpitations.
    My favorite grocery store is back home in Orange County, it’s called Henry’s. They have affordable natural and organic foods, plus you can buy delicious foods from the deli. I miss that place, but thank goodness we have a Trader Joes instead.

  21. Lindsay 07.19.2012

    I dont have a whole foods in my hometown, but I am not sure that I would shop there if I did. I like to shop at Walmart and Jewel-Osco!

  22. Bek @ Crave 07.20.2012

    I wish we had a wholefoods in Australia!

  23. JoAnne J. 07.20.2012

    I’m so jealous of anyone with a whole foods! Or a Trader Joes! We don’t have either of those in Alaska and the price of cherries in Alaska in INSANE…to prepare that dinner you made would easily cost at least $10 just in cherries for just the chicken, lol. It’s craziness how much fruit costs here.
    But it looks delicious :)

  24. Kanoe 07.20.2012

    OMG I love that you used booyah HAHAHA!! I haven’t heard that in years and realize again why I love your blog LOL! I will definitely be trying these lovely cherry dishes. :-D

  25. Wowzers! Your dinner and cocktail look divine!

  26. Emily 07.20.2012

    Where in the world is the Whole Foods in DSM!? I can def drive an hour & a half for some fantastic finds! :)

    • Shauna 07.20.2012

      The Iowa Whole Foods is at 4100 University Ave. in West Des Moines :)

  27. Kathee McCright 07.20.2012

    Check out Aldi’s [owned by Trader Joe’s]; their cherries were $1.69 a pound. Beats the heck out of $4.99!

  28. Lauren T 07.20.2012

    You have the best cherry recipes! I like to shop at WF for organic and natural groceries, but I usually shop at Target/Super Target because I love the atmosphere of Target. Can’t wait to visit the WF in Des Moines when the crowds die down!

  29. Pam 07.20.2012

    Local farmer markets and Publix are my preferred grocery stores now. Whole Foods is opening across town in October. Can’t wait! I have visited Whole Foods and Trader Joes in cities 3 hours away. I will still shop local farmer markets for fresh fruits and vegetables, but it will be nice to have a closer store for products that other local stores do not carry.

    I have a confession: I have lived 55 years without eating fresh cherries. A friend shared hers with me this year and I am hooked! Thanks for the great recipes.

  30. Jen Salyer 07.20.2012

    If you really want a dark rum for your drink you are going to have to go a lot darker than that. Dark rum is usually almost black in color. Like Goslings Dark Rum – This is what we drink in Bermuda and it is pretty good. Not sure if its made its way to Iowa, but you should look out for it!

  31. Tom H. 07.20.2012

    Whole Foods!! Never in my 28 years of living would I have imagined going on a date to a grocery store, but that’s exactly what Missy and I did yesterday for our date night! It was our first Whole Foods experience and we LOVED it! The best part was that we were able to grab beers with our dinner, and then walk around the store as we finished them afterwards…leading to many an unnecessary purchase, I’m sure. But it was totally worth it, and we will most definitely be going back!

    • Casey 07.20.2012

      Too funny – my husband and I do that ALL the time. Although…I never thought to have a beer while walking around the store! Genius. Ha.

  32. Casey 07.20.2012

    Um, TOTALLY just found what I’m making for dinner tonight. Cannot. wait.

  33. kelsey 07.20.2012

    i have never been to WF, but i am excited to go! maybe this weekend!

  34. well, considering i WORK at whole foods, i’m thrilled for you guys that you finally got one :) i’m glad you aren’t afraid of the prices. we do comp shops pretty regularly, and a lot of our prices are actually LOWER than at competitive stores (especially “natural” foods…normal grocery store natural food aisles are always so $$). i think the reason people spend more money is because we have really cool specialty things they want to try :) i always get roped in somehow, but i would never dream of buying produce or seafood anywhere else. enjoy the store! :)

  35. I’m so excited that Whole Foods is finally here!! I have yet to check it out but hopefully sometime next week! I love the sound of this salsa!

  36. I am so checking it out next week! Yay! I am so excited :)

  37. Shauna 07.20.2012

    I work at the new Whole Foods in WDM! I’m glad you enjoyed your visit, and hopefully I’ll see you around in the produce department sometime! I will admit, I do miss my job at Wheatsfield Co-Op in Ames, but I absolutely LOVE working for Whole Foods!

  38. Erica 07.20.2012

    I am anxiously awaiting the first Whole Foods to open here in Idaho, I shopped there quite a bit in Colorado. But I do have some cherries (that I picked at a local organic farm for $1.00 a lb!) and I will be trying that salsa. Looks delish.

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  40. I am just not getting into the organic/Whole Foods venture… I know.. I am way behind in the times… but I will say, I have noticed a huge change with the organic foods!

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    I tried your Grilled Chicken and Cherry Salsa recipe and it was EXCELLENT! I love your food photographs and I am really enjoying your blog site!

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