haloumi  -n :: a salty white sheep or cow’s milk cheese from Greece or Turkey, usually eaten grilled. Also defined as: pure, unadulterated deliciousness. I typically see haloumi baked or grilled on restaurant menus which, for some reason, never appealed to me that much. But one night when we were at dinner in Aspen, I ordered the most addictive grilled haloumi salad and haven’t been able to get it off my mind since.

Haloumi is a great option for vegetarians, since grilling gives it such a satisfying golden crust on the outside and melty goodness on the inside…even carnivores wouldn’t miss the meat! As a main course option, I’d skewer with vegetables and grill, or serve on crusty bread with pesto and eggplant. For this first-course salad, I took a cue from Cypress tradition and served with cold sweet watermelon, though I added peppery arugula, mint-infused oil and balsamic to the mix. This would be such a welcome and unexpected addition to summer barbecue menus. Let me know if you give it a try, and be sure to leave a comment sharing any tweaks you made to the recipe!

Grilled Haloumi & Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh mint, stems removed, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces haloumi, drained
  • 1/4 seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into small wedges
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • reduced balsamic vinaigrette
  • flaky sea salt (like Maldon) and freshly-cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add mint leaves, and let cook on low for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out leaves, then store at room temperature in an opaque container for up to 1 week.
  2. Slice the haloumi into 1/3-inch slices. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high, brush the grate with olive oil, and grill the haloumi for about 2 minutes on each side (until heated through and grill marks show.)
  3. Create a bed of arugula on a platter, then top with watermelon wedges and grilled haloumi, slightly overlapping. Lightly drizzle the infused mint oil over everything.
  4. Sprinkle pistachios and mint leaves over top, drizzle generously with reduced balsamic and season with sea salt and pepper.

*serves 4 as a first-course

 

19 comments
  1. 1
    Quinn Cooper | July 9, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Love haloumi and paired with watermelon seems like the perfect combo.

    Quinn Cooper Style

    Reply
  2. 2
    kelsey | July 9, 2013 at 8:37 am

    oh yum!
    kw, ladies in navy

    Reply
  3. 3
    Sandra | July 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve meaning to try watermelon, feta and mint salad but this grilled haloumi sounds even better.

    Reply
  4. 4
    Supal {chevrons and éclairs} | July 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Oh this is such a great summer dish idea! I love haloumi and the texture combo with watermelon must be amazing!

    Reply
  5. 5
    Willard T. Ramos | July 9, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    The salad was tossed in my Sun-dried tomato vinaigrette and then topped with warm, a la minute grilled Halloumi cheese.

    Reply
  6. 6
    Sarah | Sarah The Architect | July 10, 2013 at 10:13 am

    What a perfect summer salad combination!! I can’t wait to try it.

    Reply
  7. 7
    Little Miss | July 10, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Hello!
    I actually come from the “mother land” of halloumi which is Cyprus – a tiiiiny country in the Mediterranean sea!
    Over here we can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) and people don’t really have much of an appetite with that kind of heat so this is a really common, every day food for us: raw halloumi with chilled water melon!
    Nothing beats it!!!

    Reply
  8. 8
    Sandra | July 1, 2014 at 6:06 am

    I made this salad yesterday but didn’t have time to infused the mint in oil and it was still delicious. Will have to try again with the minty oil ;o)

    Reply
  9. 9
    Morgan | August 13, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    I ran across this recipe in a recent issue of “Relish”, an insert in our local newspaper. It stated that if one couldn’t find haloumi cheese (which I could not), that fresh mozzarella was a good substitute. Now, I like mozzarella cheese, as it *melts* very well on pizza. However, I thought perhaps I was missing something and fresh mozzarella behaved differently. I was wrong. It was, to say the least, an epic fail – melted all over the grill. Fortunately, I was able to transfer it to the griddle plate before it oozed through the bars on the grill. I ended up frying it crispy and breaking it up on the remaining ingredients. Still tasty, but not at all what I expected from the recipe.

    Reply
    • Camille Styles | August 14, 2014 at 7:18 am

      Hi Morgan — thanks for sharing your cooking story!! You are right that fresh mozzarella is MUCH meltier than Haloumi. If subbing in this recipe, I’d do it on an indoor grill pan so that it can’t fall through the grates, and just “flash grill” it for maybe 10 or 20 seconds per side on very high heat so it gets a bit of the charred flavor on the outside.

      Reply
      • Morgan | August 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

        Thanks – I’ll give it a try next time.

        Reply
    • Mary Lou | July 17, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Another alternative to Halloumi is queso fresco which is a Mexican cheese very similar to feta … not as strong tasting and will hold up pretty well on a grill

      Reply
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