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Warm Chickpea, Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables and Halloumi Salad

20 Mar

I remember many years ago spending some time at a dear friends home in Sydney while on holidays. As MJ’s tastes run to the more savoury side of things, her fridge was often an adventure in its own right full of amazing wonders. On this one particular morning, she fried up some Halloumi for our breakfast and as they say in the record books; the rest was history.

Halloumi is a semi hard cheese that is made of cows, goats and cows milk and originated in Cyprus. It is flavoured with a little mint (that in some brands is hardly even detectable), and uses non animal rennet making it safe for vegetarian consumption. Its high melting point makes it perfect for frying, and when served in this way, its slightly rubbery texture adds something amazing to the most simplest of dishes. As it is stored in brine, it has a strong salty taste; the use of additional salt should be limited.

[  SERVES: 2  |  TIME: 45MIN  |  COST: $5 – 8  ]

Ingredients

180g packet of halloumi
2 large handfuls salad greens
1 cup dried chickpeas
2 cups of water
1 continental eggplant
1 zucchini
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
½ red capsicum
sprinkle toasted nuts
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Add the water to the dried chickpeas and soak overnight (or a minimum of 4 hours). Boil for 15 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Dice all the vegetables into bite size pieces. Place into a baking tray with a drizzle of oil, seasoning  and mix well. Bake in at 180°C for 30 minutes.
  3. Slice the halloumi into 1 – 2 cm wide peices and fry in a warm saucepan until golden brown. Set aside.
  4. To assemble your salad on a plate, start with a good handful of washed salad greens. Layer with the warm roasted vegetables, chickpeas and halloumi. Garnish with the toasted nuts and a drizzle of any left over juices from the roasted vegetables. Serve immediately.

Observations

  • Sooooooooo delicious! And so easy. The textures of this dish were perfect!
  • We used a mixture of rocket and baby spinach for our salad greens. They worked well with the other flavours.
  • We used a mixture of pine nuts and almond slivers toasted lightly in a frying pan for our garnish. The crunch and flavour of the nuts adds something fantastic to salads, and should not be over looked. Try it, and see for yourself!
  • 250g of halloumi is enough for four people, so dont worry about getting a larger size. We were just hungry beasts tonight!
  • Diabetic Note: No problems here, although, be careful with the oil. If you are worried about the lack of carbs in this dish, add a slice of bread to mop your plate with!
  • Ethical Note: On the plus side, halloumi uses non animal rennet. Be careful of where your product is made, however. Upon closer inspection of the label tonight, I realised that my favourite brand is a product of Cyprus. I had always assumed that it was an Australian product because of the Australian address on the packaging. Check the fine print! (And, if you will excuse me, I must now find a new brand. The carbon miles for a cheese from Cyprus make it a little too unethical for my tastes…)
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