I love salads with contrasting flavors and textures, so I thought that pairing some earthy, sweet figs with some salty grilled halloumi would be delicious. And it was! This fig and halloumi salad is a breeze to throw together making it the perfect easy lunch or a great starter for a party or Thanksgiving dinner.
What is Halloumi?
Halloumi is a semi-firm, sheep and goat’s milk cheese that tastes delicious when grilled or fried. I love it because it crisps beautifully when cooked. It’s also quite salty, which makes it delicious on salads that feature fruit since it helps to balance out any sweetness.
In this fig and halloumi salad, it complements the earthiness of the figs and the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes really well.
If you can’t find halloumi where you live, you can also substitute it with any grilling cheese you like.
Some Tips for Making a Delicious Salad
I spent a lot of my life hating salads until I mastered some of the tips that I’m about to share with you.
- Pick your greens carefully. Seriously. Greens are usually the base of your salad, so you need to spend some time thinking about how they will compliment your other ingredients. For instance, I would never use romaine lettuce in this fig and halloumi salad because it’s so full of flavor. Figs are too delicate and subtle, and the romaine lettuce would totally overpower them. Something like baby spinach or a combination of spring greens works better.
- Use a variety of textures and flavors to make your salad feel well balanced. I don’t know about you, but I crave variety in my salads. If all the elements are sweet, or soft, or chewy, I lose interest in it really fast. For me the perfect salad is a mixture of sweet, salty, bitter, and rich, and it features more than one texture. You can add texture to your salads with some roasted nuts or creamy avocado, and a bit of crispy cheese or prosciutto can add texture, flavor, and richness.
- Don’t dress your salad until you are ready to serve it. Dressing salads too early is probably the biggest mistake I’ve made in the past. The oil in the dressing can wilt your greens, especially if they are delicate, turning the whole thing into an oily, wet mess. If you are bringing your salad to a potluck, pack the dressing in a glass jar and dress the salad when it’s time to eat. Or better yet, let the guests spoon the dressing over the salad themselves!
I hope you enjoy this fig and halloumi salad!
Fig and Halloumi Salad (GF)
This fig and halloumi salad is super flavorful and healthy. The fried halloumi cheese gives it a bit of saltiness that compliments the sweetness of the figs really well. It is finished with a balsamic-shallot vinaigrette to bring all the flavors together.
- For the shallot-balsamic vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons of shallot, minced
- 3/4 extra virgin oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Freshly-ground pepper
- For the salad:
- 5 slices of halloumi cheese
- Half a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 large handfuls of baby spinach
- 6 fresh figs, halved
- Freshly-ground pepper
- Step 1 Make the vinaigrette. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a glass jar with a lid. Place the lid on the jar and shake it until the ingredients are well combined. You could also whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste the vinaigrette and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Step 2 Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Place the slices of halloumi on the skillet and fry for 2 min. Flip the cheese and fry for another two minutes on the other side. You could also grill the cheese. Cut the fried cheese into cubes and set it aside.
- Step 3 In a medium-sized bowl, combine the spinach and cherry tomatoes. Divide the mixture between two plates and top it with the figs and halloumi. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Step 4 Drizzle the salad with a bit of the balsamic-shallot vinaigrette and serve immediately.
- The balsamic-shallot vinaigrette will keep in a tightly-sealed container in the fridge for a week.
- If you can’t find halloumi cheese where you live, feel free to use any other grilling cheese.
Here are more healthy, no fuss meals you might like:
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Also, if you have any questions or just want to let me know that you liked the recipe, please leave a comment below. Hearing from other adventurous home cooks always makes my day!