Greek Salad with Crispy Haloumi

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This salad has all the things that make for a great salad: crispy, crunchy, creamy, and briney elements. The golden rule for a good salad is variety, and this one definitely follows that rule! If you like greek salad, you’ll love this recipe. Want to make it dairy free? Easy! Just leave off the halloumi. It’s delicious that way too.

We start by making homemade dressing that is delightfully luscious with zero dairy needed and boldly flavoured with roasted red peppers. Whenever possible, I make my own salad dressing because store bought salad dressings typically have highly processed ingredients and lots of unnecessary fillers. Homemade dressing is extra delicious and contains only whole-food ingredients.

In terms of a balanced meal, this salad hits the mark. We’ve got an abundance of vegetables, healthy fats in the form of olive oil, avocados, and olives, and protein from the chickpeas and halloumi. Forget boring salads! This one has it all and it will keep you full until your next meal.

2 large red bell peppers
2 teaspoons of avocado oil
⅓ cup of red wine vinegar
⅔ cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove of garlic, peeled with end removed
½ teaspoon of honey
⅛ teaspoon of finely ground black pepper
½ – ¾ teaspoon of salt

250g of halloumi cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
6 cups of greens (I used a mix of baby arugula and spinach, you could also use chopped romaine)
1 avocado, sliced
½ of a cucumber, sliced
½ a small red onion, sliced OR pickled red onion slices
⅓ cup of pitted kalamata olives
¼ cup of crispy chickpeas (see notes)

Directions for the dressing:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Coat the red bell peppers with the avocado oil, place on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes before flipping them over and roasting for another 15 minutes. Let the peppers cool for 20 minutes, then remove the skin and stem and scrape the seeds off.
  3. Add roasted peppers, red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, honey, pepper, and ½ teaspoon of salt to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  4. Chill the dressing in the fridge. Makes 2 cups. You won’t use all of it for this salad so enjoy it for up to two weeks on other meals.

Directions for the salad:

  1. Heat a large pan with the olive oil on medium-high heat on the stove. Add the halloumi cubes and fry for 1-2 minutes on one side before flipping and cooking for another 1-2 minutes. The halloumi will be crispy and browned.
  2. Assemble your salad by topping the greens with sliced avocado, sliced cucumber, sliced or pickled red onion, olives, crispy chickpeas, and the crispy halloumi. Drizzle with the roasted red pepper dressing and serve immediately.

Notes: For the crispy chickpeas, I used a store bought one from the natural section at my grocery store, but you can also roast your own chickpeas in the oven with a little olive oil and salt.

Contributed by Melanie Maxwell, R.H.N.