Spiced pan fried paneer cheese combines with fresh Mediterranean ingredients in this delightful fusion salad. An easy, flexible recipe that can pair with bread or baked sweet potato for a quick and easy vegetarian meal.
Oh, this salad, what can I say. It’s just really nice and fresh and flavorful and summery but filling. A chance to go wild with all your favorite herbs, and the perfect thing to do with a batch of tasty heirloom / heritage tomatoes.
Flavor wise, it’s pure fusion, with some different spices common to different cuisines all playing together nicely. This seems to be the signature style around here.
It’s not a super practical salad that you can make ahead, it doesn’t travel well so don’t try to take it to your friend’s barbecue. Keep it at home and keep it all to yourself.
What you need to know when choosing your ingredients
- This one’s for the good tomatoes! You need tasty tomatoes to make this salad work because they are such a big component! Don’t compromise or the whole dish will fall flat. It just will. Ideally, you want some large heirloom or slicing tomatoes and a handful of little juicy cherry tomatoes. If you’re making this in a time of year when you can not get big heirlooms but you can get decent cherries, well, just go with 100% cherry. It will have a different look about it, and you’d probably want it in a bowl rather than a deep sided plate, but it will still be tasty.
- You can swap in halloumi if you can’t get any paneer.
- Pomegranate molasses might be a tricky ingredient to track down, so you could use honey if you can’t find it. I do think it’s worth having around if you enjoy Mediterranean vibes.
- We also use pomegranate seeds here, which I buy in a container at the supermarket. If you have a whole pomegranate, don’t hesitate to add the flesh to the salad too.
- I prefer plain hummus for this (despite my photos showing that I used a garlic and red pepper topped variation on the day of the photoshoot because the supermarket had sold out). I like the Sabra brand because it’s on the creamier side which works well in this.
- The herbs are flexible. Mint, coriander (cilantro) and chives are my dream team but you could use any one or two of these, you do not need all three. You can also try basil or parsley. Remember this salad doesn’t have a dressing, per se, the flavor is all coming from the tomato juices + herbs + pomegranate molasses combo so you really want an abundance of herbs.
How to serve it
This recipe will serve 3-4 people. To make a meal of it, here are some ideas:
- Serve it on top of a bed of lettuce leaves dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This keeps the salad very light and low in carbs and calories.
- Serve it alongside some fresh bread, such as pita, naan or ciabatta. This is especially good for mopping up all the tomato juices at the end!
- Add a baked sweet potato on the side to bring carbs.
- Turn it into more of a “bowl” meal by serving on top of some whole grains such as rice, quinoa, barley, or a mix.
More Recipe Ideas
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If paneer is your one true love, give these ideas a try
Paneer, Tomato & Pomegranate Salad
- 8 oz (225 g) block of paneer cheese, sliced into strips. Block sizes will vary with brands, so a little more or less than this is OK.
- 2 tsp olive or coconut oil
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp pomegranate molasses, for drizzling
- 1.3 lb (600 g) fresh tomatoes, I like a mix of larger and smaller ones – with the larger one sliced, and the smaller ones quartered
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup (120 g) hummus
- 2-4 Tbsp pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup (35 g) olives (green or kalamata both work), sliced
- 1 lemon or lime, for juicing
- 1 handful chives (or spring/green onion), sliced
- 1 handful fresh coriander, mint and parsley, it's OK if you don't have all three – one or two of these is fine!
- Prepare the paneer before doing anything else. Brush it with olive or coconut oil, sprinkle garam masala on top. Allow it to sit while you gather the rest of your ingredients and prepare everything else.8 oz block of paneer cheese, 2 tsp olive or coconut oil, 2 tsp garam masala
- Prepare the tomatoes. Slice and arrange them in a deep sided plate or bowl, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.1.3 lb fresh tomatoes, 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, Salt and pepper
- Dollop hummus on top of the tomatoes.1/2 cup hummus
- Pan fry the paneer. Heat a little additional oil in your pan, then add the strips to the pan and fry until brown on each side (1-2 minutes on each side should do the trick but it does depend on your paneer and the heat of your pan so keep a close eye on it)
- Add the paneer on top of the tomatoes and hummus. Squeeze lemon or lime juice over the top.1 lemon or lime
- Now quickly add the rest of the toppings: the herbs, olives, pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and serve straight away.2-4 Tbsp pomegranate seeds, 1/4 cup olives (green or kalamata both work), 1 handful chives (or spring/green onion), 1 handful fresh coriander, mint and parsley, 2 tsp pomegranate molasses