A tasty and filling couscous halloumi salad packed with protein, fresh ingredients and summer flavors. Filling and rounded enough for a meal, but also great as a side dish or small plate.
Stepping into barbecue season with this beauty of a salad! We’ve got all sorts of things going on. A big fluffy bed of rocket (aka arugula), cherry tomatoes and pesto couscous. A batch of fried halloumi. Big dollops of hummus. A scattering of pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. We started out a little Italian and ended up a little Middle Eastern, and it all ties together quite perfectly.
This salad has been a long time coming and it took me several rounds to get it right, but the great thing is that the perfect combo ended up being the easiest.
If you use ready made pesto and hummus, you’re doing very little prep. Other than chopping your tomatoes and frying your halloumi, it’s just a case of adding stuff together in a bowl.
The lack of a proper salad dressing helps. I tried several different ideas for this recipe but the best outcome was always with pesto rather than a dressing. So that can save you some effort if you want to just pick up some prepared pesto (I always prefer deli fresh pesto to jarred, but do what you gotta do).
Amendments and Substitutions for this Recipe
Like most of my recipes, this is really flexible. For me, the combo in the recipe was my ultimate favourite because it was varied and filling enough while keeping the ingredients list down, but you can always build on it with what you have and what you like.
I’ve made it bowl-style rather than salad style, by reducing or omitting the rocket. Replacing the fresh tomatoes with warm roasted vegetables also takes it more in the direction of a bowl meal.
I know I just said that deli pesto is a great option here, but fresh pesto is never a bad idea and would give you leftovers for another night. If you go down this route, pleeeease try my kale pesto. The recipe is in the Notes section in the recipe card. It is so so good in this salad. It just adds more nutrition and texture. Worth it if you are happy to buy the extra ingredients and have leftover kale and whatnot.
Pine nuts are very optional. The crunch is nice but they’re expensive. Another nut, or no nuts, would be absolutely fine.
I have to say though, the pomegranate seeds are really important in finishing this salad off so try not to ditch them. Dried cranberries would work too though. Just something with a burst of concentrated sweetness.
How to serve
This is a filling salad and can definitely be dinner for a few people with some nice fresh bread on the side. Otherwise it’s right at home as part of a mezze / tapas feast or barbecue table.
It is best served immediately so that the halloumi is fresh and hot, and while cold leftovers are just fine and tasty, I wouldn’t make it ahead on purpose.
Halloumi Couscous Salad
- 225 g (8 oz) block of halloumi, cut into cubes or strips
- 250 g (8 oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 120 g (¾ cup) dried couscous
- 8 Tbsp (½ cup) prepared pesto*
- A couple handfuls of fresh washed rocket**
- 3-4 Tbsp hummus, heaped
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- 4 Tbsp pomegranate seeds
- Handful of chopped fresh basil
- Prepare your couscous according to package instructions.
- Once it’s ready, fluff with a fork and add about half of the pesto, a couple spoonfuls at a time, until it’s nicely coated.
- Toss the couscous in a large bowl with the rocket and cherry tomatoes. Add more pesto until everything is coated to your liking.
- Pan fry your halloumi in olive oil until golden and crisp.
- Add the halloumi to the top of the couscous mix.
- Add dollops of hummus to the top of the salad and scatter with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and basil.
- Handful of kale leaves
- Handful of basil
- 3 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 Tbsp cashews
- 4 Tbsp of grated parmesan
- Extra virgin olive oil – add it to the blender a little at a time until you get the desired texture