Halloumi Salad with Peaches, Cherries, and Arugula

published Aug 14, 2021
summer
Halloumi Salad with Peaches, Cherries, and Arugula

This jam-packed summer salad combines juicy peaches and cherries with peppery arugula, creamy avocado, crunchy pistachios, and crispy cubes of halloumi cheese.

Serves4 to 8

Prep30 minutes

Cook3 minutes

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halloumi salad in a bowl next to grains
Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Around this time last year, I came up with the Ultimate Summer Salad recipe — and I ate it on repeat until the peaches left the farmers market. This summer, I couldn’t wait to dig into fresh, produce-packed salads again, but I was determined to come up with a fun new spin. So I added an ingredient I know no one can resist: halloumi.

This 2021 stunner keeps the peaches and adds in sweet cherries for a fun and fruity salad inspired by this one. As you prep the rest of the ingredients, the fruit (and a sliced shallot) marinates in the lemon and apple cider vinegar dressing, allowing the sweet and tangy flavors to meld and the shallot to quickly pickle. When you’re ready to serve, toss in peppery arugula, lots of fresh herbs, creamy avocado, and pistachios for crunch. Then, top each bowl with crispy cubes of halloumi cheese — and be prepared to question why you ever used croutons.

Every bite is a combination of sweet, salty, tangy flavors and crispy-creamy-chewy textures, which is why I’ll never tire of it. I often eat it as a main (sometimes with pearl couscous stirred in for extra heft), but it’s also a stunning side dish for chicken, fish, steak, lamb, or, if you’re keeping things vegetarian, any plant-based protein, too.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

The Best Way to Cook Halloumi

Halloumi is a mellow, briny, salty cheese that hails from Cyprus. Thanks to its high melting point, it doesn’t melt when you cook it, which is why you’ll often see it grilled. As it cooks, it gets golden and crispy on the outside and soft and chewy in the center.

You can grill the cheese for this recipe, but it’s also easy to cook on the stovetop. To create the perfect crouton stand-in, I like to cut the firm cheese into 1/2-inch cubes, but you can also tear it into irregular pieces or slice into planks. Then, heat just 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet — any more and the cheese will be too greasy. Add the halloumi in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden-brown and crispy on the bottom, about 3 minutes.

Here’s where things get interesting: Don’t flip the halloumi! Overcooking the cheese can cause the soft centers to dry out and turn rubbery (a tip I picked up from my colleague Amelia). Instead, use a spatula to release the cubes from the pan and briefly toss them around in the oil, then divide among the salad bowls and savor its deliciousness.

More Ways to Enjoy Halloumi

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Twice a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Halloumi Salad with Peaches, Cherries, and Arugula

This jam-packed summer salad combines juicy peaches and cherries with peppery arugula, creamy avocado, crunchy pistachios, and crispy cubes of halloumi cheese.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 3 minutes

Serves 4 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 2 tablespoons

    plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon

    honey

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    small shallot

  • 2

    large or 3 small peaches, preferably freestone (about 12 ounces total)

  • 8 ounces

    sweet cherries, such as Bing or Rainier

  • 1/4 cup

    shelled, roasted, and salted pistachios

  • 1/2

    loosely packed cup torn fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2

    loosely packed cup torn fresh mint leaves

  • 1 (about 8-ounce) package

    halloumi cheese

  • 1

    large avocado

  • 5 ounces

    arugula, baby spinach, mixed greens, or a combination (about 5 packed cups)

Instructions

  1. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon into a large bowl (about 2 teaspoons). Juice half the lemon into the bowl (about 2 tablespoons). Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and several grinds black pepper, and whisk to combine.

  2. Prepare the following ingredients, adding each one to the dressing as you complete it: Halve and thinly slice 1 small shallot (about 1/3 cup). Halve and pit 2 large or 3 medium peaches, then slice into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (2 cups). Pit and halve 8 ounces cherries (1 1/3 cups). Toss to coat everything in the dressing and set aside to marinate while you prep the rest of the salad.

  3. Wipe down the cutting board if needed. Prepare the following, leaving them on the cutting board: Coarsely chop 1/4 cup roasted pistachios. Tear fresh basil leaves until you have 1/2 loosely packed cup. Tear fresh mint leaves until you have 1/2 loosely packed cup. Pit and dice 1 large avocado. Slice 1 package halloumi into 1/2-inch cubes.

  4. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the halloumi in a single layer and cook undisturbed until golden-brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to release the cubes from the pan, keeping the golden crust intact, and toss around in the oil (the remaining sides will not be browned). Remove the pan from the heat.

  5. Add the herbs and 5 ounces arugula to the bowl and toss to combine with the fruit. Divide the salad between 3 or 4 shallow bowls. Top each bowl with the halloumi, avocado, and pistachios.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: You can make the dressing up to 5 days in advance and refrigerate in an airtight container. Rewhisk before using.

Ingredient/Equipment Variation: 1/4 of a red onion can be used in place of the shallot.