Sauteed Sole Fillets with Cherries and Almonds

Until about 10 years ago, if a recipe description mentioned the words low fat, healthy, or low calorie my mind would translate that to mean dry, tasteless, and bland. When I was in high school, my dad’s doctor put him on a diet. For weeks all he ate was stewed chicken and tasteless vegetables. Needless to say, that diet didn’t last long. My mom didn’t know how to cook lighter so she opted for tasteless and bland.

Today, there are “healthy” recipes everywhere. While I love reading them, getting around to actually making them has been a problem.  In the back of my mind, a little voice keeps saying “That’s going to be nasty. Remember the stewed chicken.” Since I’m all about culinary exploration, I’m branching out to incorporate some lighter recipes in my collection. Once a week, I’m going to pull out some of those recipes and review them here on If you have any suggestions on sources of  lighter recipes, let me know and I’ll try some of them and post them here.

This recipe was in the Weight Watchers weekly flyer 2 weeks ago.  It was originally written with tilapia but the sole sounded better to me. This is the original recipe on the Weight Watchers site.

Sauteed Sole With Cherries and Almonds


1               Tbsp  Almonds, Sliced

1/4           Tsp  Salt

1                 Lb  Sole or Tilapia Fillets

1/4           Tsp  Black Pepper, Freshly Ground

3               Tsps  Olive Oil, Extra-virgin

1                 Sm  Onion, Chopped

1                 oz  Wine, Dry White

1/2             cup  Cherries, Sweet, Pitted, Halved

1/3             cup  Vegetable Broth, Reduced-sodium, Fat-free

1/2           Tsp  Dried Thyme



 1. Toast the almonds in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Toast until slightly golden brown – about 4 minutes. Set aside.

2. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in skillet. Add fish and cook until lightly browned – about 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Once done remove from skillet.

3. Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in the skillet, then add the onion. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes

4. Add white wine and scrape bottom of pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for about 20 seconds.

5. Add cherries, broth and thyme.  Simmer until sauce is reduced – about 30 seconds.

6.  Divide the sauce and spoon over fillets. Sprinkle toasted almonds on top.

Per Serving : 185 Calories; 6g Fat (32.0% calories from fat); 23g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 55mg Cholesterol; 375mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat.

4 points per serving.

What the original recipe didn’t tell you:

1. Since cherries are out of season, use frozen cherries. I found them at Kroger and they worked wonderfully.

2. This recipe didn’t turn out saucy like the picture from Weight Watchers. I added a few extra tablespoons of vegetable broth and was still struggling to keep sauce in the pan.

3.  The original recipe said cook the fish 2 minutes on each side. My fillets weren’t even close to being done after 4 minutes. Cooking time of course will vary with the thickness of your fish. Mine took closer to 4 minutes each side.

4. 2 teaspoons of oil for cooking the fish wasn’t enough to cover the bottom so I had to use a little cooking spray too. A couple of the pieces still stuck to the bottom of the skillet.

5. Because the fish stuck to the bottom of the pan, there were lots of browned bits to be scraped up when making the sauce. This was fine because they added lots of flavor but it made my sauce more chunky than I expected.

The final verdict? This recipe was very tasty and frankly I was surprised. The white wine sauce with the cherries added a lot of flavor to otherwise boring white fish. Don’t let the “sweet” cherries scare you off. They aren’t sweet and add a tartness to the dish that I really enjoyed. This recipe is a keeper.

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