Easy Italian Halloumi Salad is a recipe my Italian friend shared with me a few years ago when we worked together in a small café. Since then, it has become a staple in my kitchen. This salad brings together crispy pan-fried halloumi cheese, juicy cherry tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, and tasty walnuts, all tossed in a simple dressing. The crispy halloumi, fresh veggies, and nutty flavors create a delicious combination that you can enjoy all year round as a light lunch or a side dish with grilled chicken or fish. Try it out, and you’ll see why it’s a favorite among my friends and family!
Why this recipe works
What sets this Easy Italian Halloumi Salad apart is its star ingredient – halloumi cheese. This firm, salty cheese has a high melting point, making it perfect for grilling or pan-frying. Made from a blend of cow’s milk, goat’s and sheep’s milk, halloumi offers a unique squeaky texture when cooked, adding lots of texture and flavor to the salad.
Combining the crispy halloumi with fresh veggies like juicy cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, crunchy cucumber, and thinly sliced red onions creates a flavour well-known from the Mediterranean region. The simple, yet flavorful dressing ties everything together, making it a great recipe to enjoy as a light lunch or side dish.
What is Halloumi Salad
Easy Italian Halloumi Salad is a vibrant and refreshing salad featuring pan-fried halloumi cheese atop a bed of fresh veggies and nuts, all drizzled with a simple dressing. This dish perfectly balances the hearty flavors of grilled halloumi with the crispness of the vegetables, creating a satisfying and nutritious meal.
Best ingredients for Easy Italian Halloumi Salad
- Halloumi cheese: The star of the dish, this firm and salty cheese offer a delicious contrast to the fresh veggies.
- Fresh spinach leaves: Baby spinach adds a burst of color and essential nutrients to the salad.
- Cherry tomatoes: These juicy tomatoes add lots of sweetness that complement the halloumi.
- Cucumber: Diced cucumber adds a refreshing crunch to the salad.
- Red onion: Thinly sliced red onions add a mild pungency and vibrant color.
- Walnuts or pecans: The addition of roughly chopped walnuts or pecans adds a delightful nutty flavor and a satisfying crunch.
- Ciabatta bread or baguette: I like to serve this salad with toasted ciabatta bread or baguette slices.
How to make Easy Italian Halloumi Salad
Please note: This is just an overview – the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Cook the halloumi. First thing’s first, let’s prepare the star of the show – the crispy halloumi. Preheat a pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add a touch of olive oil. Once hot, add the cut halloumi cubes to the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side until the cheese turns golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove the halloumi from the pan and set it aside.
Step 2: Assemble the salad. In a large bowl, combine the fresh spinach leaves, halved cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, thinly sliced red onions, and chopped walnuts.
Step 3: Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar or lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and black pepper to create a harmonious dressing that will elevate the flavors of the salad.
Step 4: Toss it all together. Drizzle the dressing over the salad ingredients and gently toss everything together. Make sure each component gets coated with the dressing for the best flavour experience.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy. Transfer your delicious Italian Halloumi Salad to a serving platter or individual bowls. Optionally garnish with fresh herbs or additional walnuts. This salad is best served immediately with toasted ciabatta bread.
Storing and freezing tips
Although this Easy Italian Halloumi Salad is best enjoyed fresh, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. However, keep in mind that the halloumi may lose its crispiness over time, so it’s best to eat it soon after preparation.
Unfortunately, freezing this salad is not recommended, as freezing will compromise the texture and freshness of the veggies and halloumi.
Top tips for the best Crispy Halloumi Salad
- Use high-quality halloumi cheese for the best results. Look for it in the grocery store, usually in the cheese section.
- To achieve that perfect golden brown and crispy halloumi, make sure your grill pan or skillet is preheated over medium-high heat.
- Pat the halloumi cubes dry with paper towels before cooking. This will help ensure they get crispy rather than soggy.
- For an outdoor cookout, you can grill the halloumi on the barbecue instead of using a grill pan or skillet.
- Get creative with your salad by adding other fresh herbs or your favorite veggies to suit your taste preferences.
This delicious Easy Italian Halloumi Salad can be served as a main dish for a light lunch or as a side salad to complement a variety of main courses. Here are a few serving suggestions to inspire you:
- Pair it with grilled chicken or steak for a hearty and wholesome meal.
- Serve it alongside roasted fish or seafood to create a refreshing and light dining experience.
- Add it to your summer BBQ spread as a flavorful and healthy option for guests.
- Enjoy it on its own as a satisfying and filling vegetarian dish.
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Can I use a different type of cheese for this salad?
While halloumi is the star of this recipe, you can experiment with other firm cheeses that have similar texture, like paneer or even tofu for a vegan version.
Can I make the dressing ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can prepare the dressing in advance and store it in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to a week. Just give it a good shake or stir before drizzling it over the salad.
Is this salad suitable for vegetarians?
Yes, this Easy Italian Halloumi Salad is a vegetarian-friendly dish.
Did you make it?
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