Digging through my fridge one day I discovered that I had a package of halloumi cheese underneath some cheddar in the door of the fridge. I was absolutely starving and it was lunch time. I fried up a little in a dry pan, put the pieces on crackers and had a thoroughly satisfying, if unbalanced lunch. A girl can’t live on cheese and crackers alone, without getting really fat and constipated, so later in the week I made myself a very healthy lunch while still satisfying my recurring craving for halloumi cheese.
If you are not familiar with halloumi, it is a semi-firm, unripened sheep’s milk cheese. It doesn’t melt like regular cheese and it is quite salty. I’m told it can be grilled but I’ve never tried that but I fry it often.
I used another ingredient is relatively new to me, Za’atar. It is a Middle Eastern blend of herbs that include oregano, thyme and sumac. It has a very familiar scent because it includes many common herbs but the addition of the sumac and sesame seeds adds a richness and the slightest hint of the exotic. I like to try new things but I’m kind of a chicken shit when it comes to spice so this blend that I found at Zehrs (my local grocery store) was perfect for me to try since it did not have hot spices in it. The Za’atar that I bought is part of the President’s Choice brand special Black Label line and on a leisurely trip to the grocery store I lingered in the spice section and picked up Za’atar and Sumac. I had seen Nigella Lawson use both of those on one of her shows and since she is my idol I had to have it.
For my salad I used a mix of cashews, sliced almonds, and seeds. Use whatever you have in whatever ratio you prefer. I do recommend buying the unsalted cashews though because those salted ones are just too easy to devour by the handful.
I prefer quite a tart vinaigrette. If you like your salad dressings a little less sharp, either reduce the vinegar slightly or add more oil. The vinaigrette will keep for a week or so in the fridge so you can make this salad for one like I did or serve it as a meal for four as described in the recipe.
I am dedicating this post and the one that will follow to my parents. Over the past 6 months or so, they have collectively lost over 75 pounds. I am very proud of them and I want to thank them for working so hard to be healthy. We want you both to be around for a very long time. I know that we are not always the most demonstrably affectionate family — I love you guys. Xoxo
Mixed green salad topped with fried halloumi, mixed nuts and seeds and a Za'atar vinaigrette. A very satisfying salad that is large enough for a meal. Fry only a few pieces of halloumi and save the vinaigrette for later and it is a perfect meal for one.
10 minPrep Time
10 minTotal Time
- 140 g (5 oz) mixed salad greens (approximately one package)
- 8-12 1/2 centimetre slices of halloumi
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Za'atar herb blend
- 1 1/2 tsp local honey
- pinch each of salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup mixture of sliced almonds, unsalted cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds (whatever ratio you prefer).
- In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, or a similar bowl, mix the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, Za'atar, salt and pepper.
- Whisk in the mustard with a small whisk, until thoroughly blended with the liquid. Slowly add the oil while whisking constantly until all the vinaigrette is completely emulsified.
- Set the vinaigrette aside and heat a medium non-stick frying pan to a medium-high heat.
- Slice the halloumi in 1/2 cm thick slices. When the pan is hot, fry the halloumi in batches. Fry it for 30-45 seconds per side or until each side gets a golden crust and comes away easily from the pan. How long you need to fry it per side will depend on how hot you let your pan get.
- Divide the salad greens on four plates and place 2 or 3 slices of halloumi on top of the greens. Sprinkle the nuts and seeds over each plate and then drizzle the desired amount of vinaigrette over each plate, about 2-3 tablespoons. Some people like more vinaigrette than others. Any extra vinaigrette can be stored in the fridge for a week or so.