Want a restaurant quality salad that’s simple enough to make at home? One of the best lunches I’ve had recently is this Easy Halloumi Cheese Salad, hands down.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This recipe, for me, is the perfect combo of warm and cool, crispy and creamy, and it feels like a great way to transition from summer to fall.
The warm, savory halloumi cheese is the protein here, so you’ll feel nice and full after eating it. The berries, cucumber, and avocado make this recipe gorgeous to look at, and the creamy avocado dressing tastes like summer in a jar! Let’s get into the ingredients…
Here are some key ingredients you’ll need to make this Halloumi Salad:
- protein: halloumi cheese
- fruits and veggies: mixed lettuce greens, cucumber, avocado, blackberries, Castelvetrano olives, limes
- herbs and spices: basil, cilantro, mint, chives, garlic, salt, pepper
- liquids: olive oil
For the salad greens, any type will do, and I usually like to go with whatever is in season. Arugula works very well with this salad if you like a bitter, peppery flavor, and spinach works just as well. But again, go with your favorite.
I had red and green romaine leaves growing on our tower garden as well as some other mixed lettuces, so I used a handful of each and it worked out great.
Also, don’t be put off by the long ingredient list of the dressing – most of it is fresh herbs! I like this blend of herbs, but you could also use whatever you like or have growing in your herb garden, and even just a single herb like cilantro is fine.
What is Halloumi Cheese?
Halloumi cheese is a semi-hard, brined cheese that originated in Cyprus. It is traditionally made from a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, although cow’s milk is sometimes used. We tend to avoid cow’s milk, so if you are like me, check your label to make sure your Halloumi is made from sheep’s and goat’s milk!
Halloumi has a distinctive texture that is slightly rubbery and a salty taste, and gives a distinct “squeaky” sound when chewed. It has a high melting point, which allows it to be grilled or fried without losing its shape. It’s often used in Mediterranean cuisine, and it can be enjoyed on its own, in salads, or as a filling in sandwiches or wraps.
How to Make this Easy Halloumi Cheese Salad
The absolute beauty of this salad is that it is so easy to make. The first thing to do is to arrange your salad greens on a platter, then top with sliced cucumbers, avocado, and olives.
Next, you slice and brown the cheese. Halloumi cheese is nice and firm, so it slices very cleanly. You simply take the slices and place them in a non-stick skillet and cook just until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
Once that’s done you add the cheese to the salad.
Next comes my favorite part: the blackberries, and fresh basil and mint. Take a minute here and enjoy those fresh summer scents, because they are sooooo fresh and yummy!
It’s what really makes this salad POP.
The last thing you’ll do here is prepare your dressing, which comes together nice and easily with a small “bullet” style blender (or a regular blender will do just fine). To do that, you’ll add all of your dressing ingredients to the blender: half of an avocado, garlic, olive oil, basil, cilantro, chives, lime juice, salt, and pepper, then blend.
You might want to add more oil or even a bit of water to make the consistency to your liking. I prefer a nice thick dressing on this salad, but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Whatever you do, don’t skip those fresh herbs!
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can I substitute the olives?
Answer: Yes, absolutely. I prefer the Castelvetrano olives because I love the flavor, but you can put a Greek spin on this recipe by using Kalamata olives, or any olives you like.
Question: How long does this salad last?
Answer: You can store this salad in your refrigerator for 3 days, so long as you leave the dressing off until you’re ready to serve. I like to make it earlier in the week so I have lunch all week.
Question: Can I use a different cheese for this salad?
Answer: I use Halloumi cheese here because it holds up so well when pan fried, whereas other cheeses would not. If you aren’t a fan of Halloumi cheese, you can certainly top this salad with feta, goat, or burrata cheese. And in this case, you wouldn’t have to cook at all.
If you’re looking for more delicious salad recipes and lunch ideas, try my Cherry Chicken Salad, my Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, or my Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups. And if you make this Halloumi Salad, let me know how you liked it in the comments!