Grilled Halloumi & Watermelon Salad is a perfect summer meal on its own, or alongside any grilled meats, chicken, or fish. Fresh garden salads and grilling are summer meal essentials and combining them in one dish are delicious.
What is Halloumi?
Halloumi is a semi-firm cheese from Cyprus. It's made from a mixture of goat's milk and sheep's milk with rennet added to cause curdling. The curds are then brined, which gives halloumi it's saltiness. The cheese is often flavoured with, or garnished with mint.
Halloumi has a delicious chewy, squeaky texture, and a distinctive salty flavour. It has a high melt point so it can easily be grilled or fried until it's browned. Cooking the cheese softens the chewy texture and tames the saltiness.
Why Doesn't Halloumi Melt?
Like Indian Paneer or Mexican Queso Fresco, Halloumi has a high PH level and a rigid protein structure so that it doesn't soften and spread when it's heated. This means halloumi is perfect for grilling, frying, sauteeing, and roasting. If you are looking for a melty, gooey cheese, this is not the one.
Can I Make This Salad If I Don't Have a Grill?
You can absolutely make this grilled halloumi & watermelon salad if you don't have a grill, or maybe the weather isn't suitable for outdoor cooking. Halloumi is just as delightful if you pan-fry it. Simply brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and fry in a hot skillet for one to two minutes per side until browned.
Is Halloumi Cheese Vegetarian?
Traditionally, rennet is an ingredient used in cheese making, including halloumi. Rennet is an animal product that is added during the process to cause the curds to separate from the whey. So cheese is not always a vegetarian option. However, more and more cheese is made using microbial enzymes rather than rennet, and this means those cheeses are vegetarian friendly.
In fact, I happen to have six different types of cheese in my fridge. (I know) I checked the ingredient labels, and all but one of them,(Parmigiano Reggiano, imported from Europe) including halloumi, lists microbial enzymes and not rennet.
So, if you are vegetarian, check the labels on your cheeses. Find out more here: What's In Your Cheese?
About Halloumi & Watermelon
Grilled or fried halloumi is perfect in a vegetable salad like this delicious Roasted Asparagus & Halloumi Salad But halloumi especially loves fruit, in particular stone fruits and melons.
Halloumi cheese and watermelon in particular have a special affinity for contrasting flavours and textures. This halloumi & watermelon salad has all of the elements that a good salad requires. Salty, chewy umami-packed grilled halloumi, sweet juicy watermelon, crisp cucumbers, tart lemon juice and peppery, fragrant basil make for a simple but perfect harmony of flavours.
Can I Make Grilled Halloumi & Watermelon Salad Ahead?
Grilled halloumi, once cooled will revert back to its rubbery texture and become too firm. It's best to eat fresh off the grill, while still warm.
Is Halloumi Cheese Healthy?
Like most cheeses, halloumi is a rich source of calcium and protein. However, it is also high in saturated fat, and sodium. Bottom line: enjoy halloumi (and all cheese) in moderation just as you would most meats and high-fat dairy products.
What About Watermelon: Is it Healthy?
The answer: a resounding yes. It may seem as though watermelon is mostly water, and it is. However, this melon is loaded with nutrients. It's brimming with vitamins A, B6, and C, and well as antioxidants and amino acids.
Watermelon also has very high levels of lycopene, a phytonutrient and powerful antioxidant that helps promote heart and bone health as well as cancer protection. And, to top it all off, this summer thirst quencher is very low in calories and sodium.
In summary: there is no need to limit your watermelon munching. Enjoy every juicy bite.
What to Serve With Halloumi & Watermelon Salad
Halloumi is a delicious source of protein, so this salad is a meal in itself. However, it's also a great side dish for steaks or grilled chicken. I especially like it with Grilled Harissa Chicken or Lemon Herb Grilled Chicken. And while you have the grill fired up, why not grill dessert? Try these Spiced Rum Grilled Peaches
Grilled Halloumi & Watermelon Salad
- 1 lemon juice of
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 cups seedless watermelon peeled and cut into 2" triangles or cubes
- 1 cup long English cucumber sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 8 oz halloumi sliced ½" thick
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup basil leaves chopped, if large
- In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, honey and red pepper flakes
- On a platter, gently toss watermelon, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes
- Heat grill on high
- Brush halloumi slices with olive oil on both sides
- Grill halloumi slices until browned, about 2 minutes per side
- Slice grilled halloumi into 2" triangles or cubes
- Arrange halloumi over the watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes
- Drizzle dressing over the salad
- Sprinkle with black pepper
- Scatter with basil leaves
- Serve immediately