This grilled halloumi salad recipe ticks a lot of boxes for us—it’s yummy, it’s quick, the clean up is minimal and it’s almost impossible not to love! Even devoted carnivores can’t deny the gloriousness that is halloumi cheese cooked directly on a grill until it’s got lovely little grill marks, a hint of a crisp outer layer and a milky, creamy, slightly oozy middle. Pop it on top of an arugula salad and dress it all with a creamy, herby basil dressing and, well, it’s hard to think of someone who would actually say “no thank you” to this stunner of a meal. Cherry tomatoes, pickled onions and grilled avocado slices (yes, grilled avocado slices!) round out a salad recipe that’s deeply satisfying and absolutely company-worthy.
What Is Halloumi?
Halloumi cheese is a cheese that originated in Cyprus, and was traditionally enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean. Usually made from goat’s or sheep’s milk—or sometimes a combination of the two—it’s salty and milky, a bit like a saltier, tangier, slightly firmer version of mozzarella. It’s usually served cooked, and most often cooked by grilling, just as we do here in this delicious grilled halloumi salad. Although it’s high in saturated fat, halloumi is a terrific vegetarian source of protein and calcium, and we happen to think that this halloumi salad recipe counts as at least a kinda sorta healthy-ish vegetarian dinner, and it’s certainly healthier for the planet than having, say, a cheese burger. It’s big slabs of grilled cheese! On a salad! It’s the best meatless Monday ever.
A Few Basic Grilled Halloumi Salad Ingredients
Rich and melty, grilled halloumi cheese is easily the star of this salad recipe. But grilled avocado gives it a run for its money! A little smoky and nicely creamy, it’s a terrific addition. The two together bring a lot of heft, so a generous bed of spicy arugula is the perfect lettuce to contrast and complement all that fatty richness. Pickled red onions bring a little tangy bite to the party, too, and juicy ripe cherry tomatoes root the salad firmly in summertime (just in case all that grilling didn’t already let you know that this is a super summery salad.) As for the butter and panko? You’ll just use a little butter to toast the panko bread crumbs so that they’re extra crispy and ever so slightly warm—an ideal textural lift to a salad that’s seriously splendid. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this halloumi cheese salad recipe:
A Creamy, Basil-y, Halloumi Salad Dressing Recipe
A fabulous salad calls for an equally stand-out salad dressing, and this rich and creamy basil dressing really fits the bill. You know that stuff we said earlier about this halloumi salad being healthy-ish? Well, with mayo AND sour cream in the halloumi salad dressing, we’d better go ahead and say that this recipe is healthy-ish with a heavy emphasis on ish. But there’s still lettuce at play, so that’s good, right? Anyway, to make this super delicious, slightly ranch-ish basil salad dressing, simply blend together:
How To Make A Gorgeous Grilled Avocado and Halloumi Salad
There are a lot of little elements to this salad recipe—the grilling, the toasting, the dressing-making—but none of them are hard or fussy, and you can just take it one step at a time. It also doesn’t require any special kitchen tools or fiddly techniques. Just a little time and attention to yield a truly elegant, indulgent grilled halloumi salad. Here’s how to make it:
Fire up the grill!
Brush the halloumi and avocado slices with olive oil.
Grill the halloumi and avocado just until they get grill marks—a couple of minutes per side. They don’t actually need to be cooked, grilling just adds a nice smoky flavor and gets the cheese melting a bit, so you get to take a break from worrying about reaching a particular internal temp.
Make the basil dressing!
Toast the panko in a bit of butter until it’s crisp and golden brown.
Assemble the grilled halloumi salad and serve right away, while the cheese is warm and slightly oozy.