I often receive questions along the lines of, “how do I start to eat healthier/more produce/vegetarian.” I often feel that people expect a step by step process from me but the truth is, it takes finding your own rhythm. Two things I do suggest though: start small and find ways to balance the healthy/treats. This halloumi salad is a balance for me. It’s loaded with good ingredients and balanced with one of my favorite treats: halloumi. You can’t go wrong with fried cheese, even in salads.
This halloumi salad combines the healthy power of quinoa and spinach with fried halloumi cheese and a creamy hemp dressing.
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces halloumi cut into 8 thin slices
- 2 cups shredded spinach
- 1/2 ripe avocado diced
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh herbs: chives, parsley, dill
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
In a small pot, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
While quinoa is cooking, combine ingredients for the dressing in a (high-powered) blender and run for 30 seconds, until the dressing begins to smooth. Pour into a container and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve salad.
In a skillet or grill pan over medium-low heat, add olive and add halloumi. Fry until browning and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cut halloumi into small pieces.
Assemble the salad. Combine shredded spinach, onion, halloumi, avocado, and cooked quinoa. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss until well combined. Add more dressing as desired.
Tips & Tricks: If you do not have a high-powdered blender, let the hemp seeds soak in water for about an hour before blending.
If you can't find halloumi, some stores sell a generic 'frying cheese' that can work in place of halloumi.
Stock up: get the pantry ingredients you will need: Quinoa, Halloumi, Hemp Seeds
Nutrition: get the information.
Step by Step
This is one of those feel-good, perfect for the beginning of the year, salads. The greens, quinoa, avocado, and hemp dressing make for a power-packed salad while the salty cheese helps to balance it all out. While not a variation I’ve tried, if you can’t find halloumi, you could try roasting feta and adding it to the salad.
Vegan: While the focus of this salad is the fried halloumi, you could easily swap it out for crispy fried (or roasted) tofu!
Greens: grab whatever greens look fresh at the market: lettuce, kale, or arugula would all work in this salad. Or, you could drop the greens and make this a halloumi quinoa bowl!
Grains: Have leftover grains from dinner? Use them in place of the quinoa! I’ve done similar salads with sorghum, millet, and freekeh. This halloumi salad is delicious with all types of grains.
If you’ve been around this site for any amount of time, you know I have a bit of a love obsession with halloumi. It’s the perfect balance of salty flavor and crisp texture which can be a perfect pairing for vegetables and greens. When you’re picking up halloumi, check the package. Some halloumi is made with animal rennet but there are brands that use vegetarian or microbial rennet.