This vegetarian and gluten free Halloumi quinoa salad with fresh fennel, rocket and radishes, dressed with an easy lemon dressing, is ready in under 30 minutes. Halloumi cheese is pan fried in chilli and sesame seeds until golden and crispy, then served with crunchy vegetables and nutritious quinoa to make a filling and healthy salad.
Salty halloumi cheese, sweet fresh fennel and quinoa are a delicious combination! The addition of quinoa provides extra protein and nutrients as well as making the salad into more of substantial meal, and I really love using it in recipes for my son, like these mushroom quinoa bites and cauliflower cheese bites.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Halloumi cheese – this Cypriot cheese remains firm when heated.
- Quinoa – you can use tri colour quinoa (as in the images) or white quinoa
- Rocket (arugula) – sub baby spinach or cos lettuce.
- Fennel – fresh fennel, finely shaved with a vegetable peeler or knife.
- Walnuts – substitute pecans or hazelnuts, or to make it nut free add pepitas/pumpkin seeds or leave out altogether.
Yes you can eat it raw.
In a non stick pan with minimal oil. Or under a hot grill.
Don’t overcook it, although it does tend to go rubbery once cool, so is best eaten as soon as you have cooked it.
Yes you can. The fennel bulb is best thinly sliced, and the fronds can be use like fresh dill.
You can slice it raw for a salad, as in this salad. It adds a lovely crunch. You can also roast fennel until soft and sweet, and add it to a salad with lentils, rocket and apple.
Cooked quinoa will keep for 3-4 days in a covered container in the fridge.
My Recipe Tips
- For a nut free salad: Leave out the walnuts. You could replace them with seeds such as pumpkin seeds if you wish.
- No sesame seeds: Use other seeds such as linseeds, or leave out the seeds altogether.
- More spice: Up the chilli flakes.
- Other vegetables: I sometimes use tomatoes instead of radishes, and some capsicum/bell pepper – whatever you have in the fridge!
Tips for Cooking Quinoa
- Rinse the quinoa before cooking. Quinoa has a coating called saponin which can taste bitter or soapy.
- I have found I always need a little extra water than the instructions on the packet of quinoa states.
- Fluffy quinoa – Leaving the lid on the saucepan for 10 minutes at end of cooking, once the heat is turned off, results in fluffy quinoa.
How to eat this halloumi quinoa salad
Whilst it is a delicious meal on its own, here are a few more ideas for serving this salad:
- Serve alongside some pumpkin soup, carrot and lentil soup or if it’s summer, cold cucumber soup
- My family can’t resist a slice of super soft bread on the side.
- Or some air fryer garlic bread
Can I make this halloumi salad ahead?
You can make components of the salad ahead of time, but I would recommend cooking the halloumi cheese just before eating.
- Quinoa: You can cook the quinoa and keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 3-4 days.
- Dressing: You can also make the dressing up to 2 days ahead and store in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before using.
More easy and healthy salad recipes
These healthy salad recipes all make great main meals, as well as being delicious side salads.
This post was originally published February 2020 but has since been updated with more information for you.
Halloumi Quinoa Salad
- ¼ c 40g quinoa cooked according to packet
- 1½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1½ tablespoon sesame seeds
- 150 g halloumi
- ⅓ small bulb fennel finely sliced with knife or vegetable peeler
- Large handful rocket (arugula)
- 3 radishes sliced
- 4 " 10 cm cucumber sliced in half moons
- 1 tablespoon walnuts roughly chopped
- A little extra olive oil for frying the halloumi
- Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions. (See hints above if not used to cooking quinoa) and leave to cool.
- Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil with the lemon juice, seasoning with black pepper (the halloumi is salty), then leave to one side.
- Place the fennel, rocket, cucumber and radishes on a serving platter/or plates.
- On a small plate, mix the chilli flakes and sesame seeds. Slice the halloumi into 1 cm thick slices then press into the seed mixture, coating both sides.
- Heat a non stick pan on medium heat and put a drizzle of oil in it (about ½ tsp) then fry he halloumi for a couple of minutes each side until golden. You may need to fry it in two batches.
- When cooked, carefully place on the rocket, cucumber and radishes, sprinkle over the walnuts and drizzle over the dressing.
- Best served serve straight away.