Salty halloumi cheese, sweet fennel and quinoa are a delicious combination! Add in a touch of spice, and crunchy sesame coating, and you have a delicious and imaginative salad. Crunchy vegetables go really well with the squeaky firm halloumi, and quinoa not only bulk it up, but provides extra protein and nutrients too. This salad is a great midweek meal idea, and fills you up without weighing you down – if that makes sense?!
The halloumi is pressed into chilli flakes and sesame seeds before being fried, to bring flavour and texture to the cheese. (Mr Jones isn’t the worlds biggest halloumi cheese fan so I have to do something to it for him to eat it without too many complaints!) I like to use spicy rocket and radish to accompany it, but I can imagine crunchy lettuce or some baby spinach would work if you aren’t keen on these vegetables.
For some reason, I have found cooking quinoa pretty hard to get right. I have found – through many disasters – that I always need a little extra water than the packet states. Leaving the lid on the saucepan for 10 minutes at end of cooking, once the heat is turned off, results in fluffy quinoa.
Can I make this halloumi salad ahead?
You can cook the quinoa and keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. You can also make the dressing a day ahead. I wouldn’t recommend cooking the cheese ahead of time though.
Make it Yours:
More Spice: Up the chilli flakes
Sesame seed free: You could omit the sesame seeds, and use other seeds such as linseeds or omit them altogether.
Nut Free: Leave out the walnuts. You could replace them with seeds such as pumpkin seeds if you wish
Other Veggies: I sometimes use tomatoes instead of radishes, and some capsicum/bell pepper – whatever you have in the fridge!
Quinoa & Halloumi Salad with Fennel
- ¼ c / 40g quinoa – cooked according to packet
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp chilli flakes – add ¼ tsp more if like things spicy
- 1.5 tbsp sesame seeds
- 150 g halloumi
- 1/3 small bulb fennel finely sliced with knife or vegetable peeler
- Large handful rocket
- 3 radishes sliced
- 10 cm cucumber sliced in half moons
- 1 tbsp walnuts roughly chopped
- A little extra olive oil for frying
- Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions. (See hints above if not used to cooking quinoa).
- 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.