Pork and Cherry Rice Bowl

$7.27 recipe / $1.82 serving
by Monti - Budget Bytes
4.50 from 4 votes
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If you want to break free from the same old same old, these Pork and Cherry Rice Bowls are a ridiculously delicious and unique twist on the classic rice bowl. Sweet and juicy cherries are a perfect contrast for unctuous, savory (and super budget-friendly) ground pork. The dish is finished with an acidic cherry sauce made with pork drippings that truly brings it all together. The best part: It’ll be on the table in about a half hour!

Overhead view of a pork and cherry rice bowl garnished with parsley.

What Is A Pork And Cherry Rice Bowl?

Ultimately, it’s a rice bowl. You have a grain, some protein, and produce. But rice bowls can get boring, and this out-of-the-box combination is savory with a touch of tart sweetness. For me, it was love at first bite.

Ingredients For Pork and Cherry Rice Bowls

While these rice bowls are easy enough for a weeknight meal (they come together in about a half hour!), their bold flavor makes them perfect for a special occasion. Here’s what you’ll need to make Pork and Cherry Rice Bowls:

  • Rice: This is the foundation of this rice bowl. I use jasmine rice in this recipe, feel free to use your favorite type, though of course the water ratio and cooking times might change depending on the type of rice used. If you need it, check out our handy tutorial on How To Cook Rice.  
  • Ground Pork: I use ground pork sausage patties because they’re budget-friendly and super convenient. They are already seasoned, so you only have to cook the pork through. Pork sausage patties are usually made with fennel or sage, seasonings that pair perfectly with savory cherries. You can, of course, use your favorite ground pork or plant-based sausage here; just make sure it isn’t something way out there like beer and cheese jalapeño.  
  • Cherries: I use frozen sweet cherries that are pitted and ready to go. They break down quickly into a sauce. Any type of sweet cherry will do here. If you want to use fresh, you’ll need to make sure they are pitted before putting them in the mix. Canned sweet cherries are fine as long as the don’t have added sugar. This is a savory preparation. If you don’t like cherries, I recommend you try one of our other fantastic rice bowls. 
  • Red Wine: Helps create our cherry sauce and adds depth of flavor. The alcohol thoroughly cooks out, so you won’t be getting anyone tipsy. If you want to skip the wine, use cranberry juice or chicken stock.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Add dimension by bringing a touch of smoky heat. Though it is a subtle heat and nothing that will knock your socks off, feel free to omit it if you’re not a fan.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds a touch of acidity to the sauce. If you don’t have lemon juice, use apple cider vinegar. 
  • Italian Parsley: Adds herbaceous notes to the mix and is also used for garnish. 
  • Garlic and Yellow Onion: These are aromatics that help add bulk and flavor to the ground pork. You can substitute the onion with a tablespoon of onion powder and the garlic with ½ teaspoon of garlic powder. If you can’t do onions and garlic, skip them.
  • Butter: Helps pull the sauce together and gives it a nice sheen. 

What To Serve With Pork and Cherry Rice Bowls

If you want to bulk up your meal, pair these Pork and Cherry Rice Bowls with an easy Side Salad, Butternut Squash Salad, or Herby Potato Salad. They’re also excellent with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms or Lemon Butter Green Beans.

How To Store The Leftovers

Store the rice and ground pork separately in airtight containers; otherwise, the rice will soak up that delicious sauce. You can refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in a microwave or on a stovetop until steaming. 

Side view of a pork and cherry rice bowl.
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Pork and Cherry Rice Bowls

4.50 from 4 votes
These pork and cherry rice bowls are a quick and delicious rice bowl meal with a unique sweet and savory twist!
Close up overhead view of a pork and cherry rice bowl.
Servings 4 (about 1.5 cups each)
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Rest Time 10 minutes
Total 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp salted butter, divided ($0.38)
  • 2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed ($0.75)
  • 2.5 cups boiling water ($0.00)
  • 1/4 tsp salt, divided ($0.01)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 12 oz. pork sausage ($2.99)
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped ($0.42)
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh sweet cherries ($1.25)
  • 1/2 cup red wine ($0.94)
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice ($0.01)

Instructions 

  • In a medium pot with a heavy lid or in a rice cooker, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and mix in the rice. Toast the rice in the butter, stirring until fragrant. Then add the boiling water and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  • Once the rice comes to a boil and there are small steam vent holes across the surface, cover and cook for 15 minutes. When the fifteen minutes are up, remove the rice from the heat, but do not uncover the pan. Allow the rice to steam for an additional 10 minutes before removing the lid.
  • In the meantime, place a skillet over medium-high heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter in it. Add the diced yellow onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the pork sausage to the pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Mix the chopped Italian Parsley into the pork.
  • Remove the pork from the pan, leaving the juices in the pan. Add the red wine to the pan and deglaze it, using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits. This should take about 1 minute.
  • Chop the cherries into quaraters and add them to the deglazed pan, stirring occasionally until the liquid reduces into a thin syrup, about 5 minutes. Take the cherries off the heat. The rice should also be done cooking by now, so make sure to take it off the heat and allow it to steam for 10 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and lemon juice to the cherry sauce. Stir to incorporate. Add the final tablespoon of butter to the cherry sauce and stir until it melts.
  • Once the ten-minute resting time for the rice is up, uncover and fluff it. Taste for salt and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Divide the rice between four bowls. Top the rice with the ground pork. Drizzle with cherry sauce. Garnish with Italian parsley and serve.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 749kcalCarbohydrates: 81gProtein: 20gFat: 35gSodium: 796mgFiber: 2g
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How to Make Pork and Cherry Rice Bowls – Step by Step Photos

Boiling water being poured into a pot with rice.

In a medium pot with a heavy lid or in a rice cooker, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and mix in 2 cups of rice. Toast the rice in the butter, stirring until fragrant. Then add 2 1/2 cups boiling water and 1/8th teaspoon salt. 

Half cooked rice in the pot, showing air vents in the surface.

Once the rice comes to a boil and there are small steam vent holes across the surface, cover and cook for 15 minutes. When the fifteen minutes are up, remove the rice from the heat, but do not uncover the pan. Allow the rice to steam for an additional 10 minutes before removing the lid.

Sautéed onion in a skillet.

In the meantime, place a skillet over medium-high heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter in it. Add 1 diced yellow onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

Cooked pork sausage in the skillet.

Add 12 ounces of pork sausage to the pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Mix ½ cup chopped Italian Parsley into the pork. 

Red wine being poured into the pan to deglaze.

Remove the pork from the pan, leaving the juices in the pan. Add 1/2 cup red wine to the pan and deglaze it, using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits. This should take about 1 minute.

Reduced red wine sauce in the skillet.

Chop 1/2 cup fresh or frozen sweet cherries into quarters, then add them to the deglazed pan, stirring occasionally until the liquid reduces into a thin syrup, about 5 minutes. Take the cherries off the heat. The rice should also be done cooking by now, so make sure to take it off the heat and allow it to steam for 10 minutes. 

Butter added to the cherry red wine sauce in the skillet.

Add the remaining 1/8th tsp salt, 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1/4 tsp lemon juice to the cherry sauce. Stir to incorporate. Add the final tablespoon of butter to the cherry sauce and stir until it melts.

Fluffed rice in the pot.

Once the ten-minute resting time is up, uncover the rice and fluff it. Taste for salt and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Cherry pork rice bowl being assembled.

Divide the rice between four bowls. Top the rice with the ground pork. Drizzle with cherry sauce. Garnish with Italian parsley and serve.

A fork digging into a pork and cherry rice bowl.
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  1. Just made this & it was great! I doubled the sauce because I like super saucy food over rice, & added some dijon to it to cut the sweetness of the cherries. Used kielbasa because it’s what I had, added fennel seeds, smoked paprika, & piles of sage. Really fast & easy recipe, & a great change of pace – thanks for sharing it!!

  2. This was fun to try and tasted really good, but the recipe ratios are off in my opinion. I thought 2 cups dry rice was a ton for 4 servings, so I made 1.5 and it was still a lot. I’d also recommend doubling the cherry sauce, I had maybe 1.5 tbsp per bowl.

    Also, I keep forgetting to rinse my rice since I usually scroll down to the photos and follow the recipe there (I love that the ingredient amounts are listed so I don’t have to scroll back and forth— thank you!) Anyway, it would be nice to have the rice rinsing included in the first step there. Thanks!

  3. First, I want to say THANK YOU for including the serving adjustment. So helpful when I’m cooking for two so we don’t eat the entire recipe! This was good. I used ground pork instead of sausage and added celery seed and sage. I didn’t get much “sauce” so I simply added to pork to the cherries. So good! We did end up adding a teaspoon or so of grainy mustard to amp up the flavor. Drank the wine I cooked with for a great meal!

  4. Looks good and I’d like to try it. I’m a little confused on the “pork sausage” though. Are you using Italian pork sausage or a breakfast “pork sausage”, such as Bob Evans or Jimmy Dean brand?

    Thanks for the clarification.

  5. Could you give a recommendation for spices/herbs to use with plain pork mince? Salt and pepper seem obvious (maybe 1/4tsp each?), but would Herbes de Provence work? Dried thyme?

    I’ve got rice in the cupboard and both cherries and pork mince in the freezer and it would be nice to be able to get another meal in before having to go to the grocery store again ; )

    1. My favorite to add to plain ground pork is crumbled sage. A good bit too, for instance at least a ½ teaspoon or more depending of your taste for sage. Plus salt, black pepper and if you like it, some pepper flakes. I grew up on a farm where I’d help make pork sausage using a hand cranked sausage grinder in November, hog killing time in Virginia.

  6. I mistakenly bought regular ground pork instead of ground pork *sausage,* but it was still pretty good. No wine here, so I used apple cider with a splash of cider vinegar. My family agreed that it was worth having as it was, but that we’ll try it with pork sausage next time.