I love meals that look super fancy (and taste delicious) but are ridiculously simple to make. This quinoa and haloumi salad fits the bill perfectly and can easily be whipped up in under half an hour.
Many Americans haven’t been exposed to haloumi. Basically it is a traditional Greek cheese, originating from Cyprus, that is grilled or pan fried until warm and brown. It is deliciously salty and squeaky and is the perfect accompaniment to fresh salads.
- 2 teaspoons of red or white wine vinegar
- 1 small clove of garlic
- Sprinkle of red chilli flakes
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ of a pumpkin or squash, chopped into chunks
- A handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 Persian cucumber (or half a regular cucumber), peeled and diced
- 1 green onion (scallion), chopped
- ½ cup of quinoa, rinsed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon
- 2 – 3 cups of fresh salad leaves (I used arugula, or rocket)
- 8 – 10 slices of haloumi
Heat the oven to around 400 F (200 C). Chop the pumpkin and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and a little salt. You can also add fresh or dried oregano for extra flavour.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, red chilli flakes and a little salt and pepper. Add the diced cucumber and green onion and stir to combine. Cover and let stand.
Place the quinoa in a small saucepan and cover with 1 cup of water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until cooked, around 20 minutes. When ready, all the liquid will be absorbed and quinoa will be fluffy.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the salad leaves, cherry tomatoes and the pumpkin (when ready). Add the quinoa when cooked and drizzle with fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Toss to coat.
Divide the salad on two separate plates.
Heat a pan over medium heat and pan fry the haloumi. It will need around 2-3 minutes on each side to get golden brown. Top the salad with the haloumi. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top. Finally, top with the pickled cucumbers and serve!
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