Recipe: Halloumi salad with sweet potato croutons

Can you really claim a salad is a recipe? When it comes down to it it’s just some ingredients mixed together in a bowl. Although at its basic level isn’t all food is just ingredients mixed together in a bowl? And this has got very deep very quickly.

In fact this salad is 50% cooked so can you really claim it’s a salad? The sweet potato is cooked, the quinoa is cooked, the halloumi is cooked – and unless you have levels of patience usually only seen in fishermen when you eat it it will probably still be a warm. Which makes it nothing like a salad at all and means I’m perfectly justified in writing up a recipe.

Halloumi and pesto salad

And now I’m going to stop putting so much thought into this now and just tell you the main reason why you should make it.

It has halloumi in it.

The other ingredients are all well and good but really they’re just a vehicle to get to the halloumi. The healthy stuff you have to eat through so you can feel you’ve really earned that golden crispy cheesy delight.

The recipe I loosely based this around used kale instead of salad leaves. But no matter how much fuss is made about it, I will never like kale (I know, worst millennial ever). It’s so bitter and it tastes like grass. Nope, not for me. But if you’re trendy enough to enjoy a mouthful of grass then by all means substitute it back in for the other salad leaves.

And from one ingredient that I hate to one that I love: sweet potato. I will squeeze sweet potato into every recipe that I make (within reason. I won’t be adding it to chocolate brownies anytime soon despite what the internet says). And cut into cubes, baked until crispy and sprinkled over a salad is one of my favourite uses so far. It makes a great and healthier alternative to regular croutons.

Halloumi and sweet potato croutons

Serves 2

100g quinoa
1 vegetable stock cube
1 medium sweet potato, skin on, chopped into bite size pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
Black pepper
1 tbsp pesto
1 tsp honey
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
200g halloumi, thickly sliced
150g bag of salad leaves (I used a mix of rocket, spinach and watercress)
Large handful coriander, stalks removed and chopped
100g cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cook the quinoa according to pack instructions with the stock cube. Once cooked, fluff up with a fork and leave to cool slightly.
Spread the sweet potato chunks out over a baking tray and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of black pepper. Bake for 10 minutes then given them a stir and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Make the dressing by mixing the remaining olive oil, pesto, honey and red chilli together.
Fry the halloumi in a large frying or griddle pan over a medium heat, about 2 minutes on each side until it starts to go golden.
Toss the quinoa, salad leaves, coriander, tomatoes and dressing in a large salad bowl, top with the sweet potato, halloumi and an extra drizzle of pesto.

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