Have you been searching for the perfect excuse to fire up your outdoor grill for the first time after a cold winter season?
I’ve been there.
Imagine a delightful backyard gathering with family and friends, enjoying the warm sun and the sweet sound of laughter as you whip up this scrumptious salad.
It’s the perfect way to embrace the changing seasons and make some fantastic memories.
Now, let’s take a little trip to the Mediterranean and learn about the origins of our star ingredients.
Halloumi, a delicious cheese from the island of Cyprus, was traditionally made by entire towns coming together during the times of the Byzantine Empire. It was not only their main source of protein but also a beautiful way for the community to bond.
As for pomegranates, these juicy gems have a short season from September to November, so be sure to get your hands on them when you can. Although a bit tricky to cut and de-seed, these ruby-red seeds are totally worth the effort.
Here’s what you’ll need for this mouthwatering salad:
- Halloumi: This can be hard to find in some grocery stores, just ask the dairy department and they will lead you in the right direction!
- Quinoa: Feel free to use white, red, black, or tricolor quinoa.
- Pomegranates: If it’s not pomegranate season, consider using frozen or packaged seeds in plastic containers.
- Arugula: This peppery green adds a fantastic kick to the salad, balancing out the flavors beautifully. If you’re not a fan, consider mixing it with a different lettuce.
- Dressing: Make your own using the ingredients already in your pantry or look for a vinaigrette-based dressing at the grocery store.
- Save the halloumi for last: Grill the cheese after you’ve prepared the rest of the salad, as halloumi is best served warm and soft.
- Dress with care: Don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to serve, as arugula wilts quickly. I recommend dressing the salad while the cheese is grilling.
- Crank up the heat: Get those gorgeous grill marks on your halloumi by turning the grill up to high heat for a beautiful sear.
- Cool the quinoa: Let the quinoa cool before mixing it in, so the arugula doesn’t wilt prematurely.
First things first: let’s cook up some fluffy quinoa!
Grab your favorite medium saucepan, and combine 1 ½ cups of water with the quinoa. Bring it to a boil, then cover it with a lid and turn off the heat. The quinoa will continue to cook, and before you know it, you’ll have the fluffiest quinoa you’ve ever seen!
Set it aside to cool while we move on to the next step.
Now, let’s talk halloumi!
This cheese is absolutely divine when it’s hot and fresh off the grill. You can use an outdoor grill or a stove-top grill pan, but if you don’t have either, a trusty sauté pan will work just fine (minus the grill marks, but hey, it’ll still be delicious!).
Preheat your grill or pan on high, so it’s nice and sizzling hot. Then, lay the cheese slices directly onto the hot surface. You’ll know it’s ready when it starts to soften and melt, which should only take about 5-6 minutes. Set the grilled halloumi aside for now.
Let’s whip up a delightful dressing for our salad!
Combine red wine vinegar, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tahini, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small glass jar or bowl.
Give it a good shake or stir until everything’s mixed together beautifully. Set this aside for a moment as well.
Alright, now it’s assembly time!
Toss arugula, quinoa, and pomegranate seeds in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and give it another good toss.
Transfer the salad onto a serving platter or tray, and top it off with your perfectly grilled halloumi.
You’ll need a grill to prepare it, but don’t worry if you don’t have an outdoor one. Indoor grill tops work just as well, giving you those perfect grill lines on your halloumi without the need to step outside. They sit on your stovetop and are super easy to use.
Let’s discuss some serving suggestions to make this salad even more versatile.
- Since the grill is already hot and ready, why not throw on some bone-in ribeyes as your main dish? Pair it with this lovely salad for a delicious and well-rounded meal.
- If you’ve got some leftover chicken, go ahead and toss that on top for an extra protein boost that’s perfect for lunchtime.
- And, if you’ve recently made homemade labneh or hummus, a dollop of that in the dressing will add even more flavor and creaminess!
Got some dietary restrictions or preferences? No problem! I’ve got a few fantastic substitutions for this salad that you’ll love:
- Dressing: If making your own salad dressing seems daunting, a store-bought light vinaigrette (balsamic or poppy) will work just fine.
- Greens: Swap out arugula for romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, spinach, or kale – whatever you have handy in your kitchen.
- Crunch: Can’t find pomegranates? Try walnuts or almonds for that satisfying crunch instead.
- Grain: Not a fan of quinoa? Brown rice, white rice, barley, or another whole grain will work just as well.
- Vegan-friendly: Replace the halloumi with firm, non-silken tofu for a delicious vegan alternative.
- Pre-packaged pomegranates: If pomegranates are out of season or out of your budget, look for frozen pomegranate seeds in the frozen fruit aisle or packaged seeds already out of the shell served in individual packages in the fresh fruit section of your grocery store.
Where can I buy halloumi cheese?
Halloumi cheese is typically found in the specialty cheese section in a grocery store. It may be held with artisanal cheeses or Mediterranean cheeses such as feta. It is generally sold in a vacuum-sealed bag, so keep your eye out for that.
How healthy is quinoa?
It’s a gluten-free, whole grain that’s high in fiber and protein – great for vegans and vegetarians alike!
What does arugula taste like?
It’s got a sharp, peppery flavor that pairs beautifully with whole grains.
This Halloumi Quinoa and Pomegranate salad is a must-try for anyone who loves to explore texture, flavor, and fresh ingredients. It contains the perfect amount of crunch, pepper, tartness, and cheesy goodness. Drizzle it with a homemade dressing, and you have the perfect Spring salad.
Halloumi Quinoa & Pomegranate Salad
- ½ cup quinoa (uncooked)
- ½ lb halloumi
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
- 4 cups arugula
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp tahini
- ½ tbsp dijon mustard
- ½ lemon (juiced)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 ½ cups of water and the quinoa.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until quinoa is fluffy and all water is absorbed.
- Set quinoa aside to cool.
- Set a grill or grill top to high.
- Slice the halloumi into strips
- Season halloumi with salt and pepper
- Place on the hot grill or grill top on an angle (this will give you beautiful grill marks)
- Once you see the halloumi is beginning to soften, remove it from the heat and set asid.
- In a bowl, combine arugula, cooled quinoa, and pomegranates.
- Pour dressing over the bowl of arugula, quinoa, and pomegranates and toss till combined.
- Place halloumi on top and serve!
- In a bowl or jar, combine red wine vinegar, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tahini, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper
- Stir together until dressing is smooth and cohesive.
My name is Noha.
I’m passionate about food, an avid traveler, and I love to explore new cultures and cuisines whenever I get the chance by sharing my recipes and experiences with my readers.
A big fan of exploring different cuisines and always looking for new and exciting flavors to explore. I’m especially interested in healthy eating and finding ways to make delicious dishes without sacrificing nutrition.