Warm quinoa salad with grilled halloumi and parsley dressing
Anyone who’s ever tried halloumi cheese will understand why I’m so excited about this recipe. As you all know, I’m a bit of a cheese fanatic, and halloumi is one of my absolute favourites. It’s irresistibly moist and chewy, and its mild but salty flavour goes with just about anything. This time I paired it with a simple quinoa salad with leeks, broccoli and red pepper.
This is only the second time I’ve cooked with quinoa (the first was for my slow cooker lentil and quinoa tacos), but everyone seems to be obsessed with it these days, and I’m starting to see why. As with most things of its genre, it doesn’t have a huge amount of flavour on its own, which means you can dress it up however you like. It reminds me of couscous, but it’s higher in protein, which is always a good thing – and it’s gluten free! Plus it’s fun to watch that little spiral-shaped germ gradually separate (I think I need to get out more).
Aside from the halloumi, this quinoa salad cooks up in one pot, so it’s perfect if you’re not a fan of washing up (…so, everyone, right?). It’s pretty versatile too – if you’re making this as a whole meal, it’ll probably do 2 people, but you could also serve it as a side dish alongside something else (in which case it’ll go a bit further). You can skip the halloumi if you want to (I don’t know why you would, but you could), but I’d keep the parsley dressing since it adds so much flavour to the quinoa. It’s a really simple dressing – just fresh parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper – but it really brings the dish to life.
I love recipes like this, where everything’s all mixed in together and you can just mix and match what you want on your fork each time. I find it strangely comforting when everything can piled up all together in a bowl rather than laid out separately on a plate. I know, that’s weird. Let’s get on to the recipe.
What’s your favourite quinoa recipe? I could use some ideas!
- 1tbsp oil
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped into chunks or strips
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 70g leek, sliced (around half a medium leek)
- 70g quinoa
- 400ml vegetable stock
- 80g broccoli, separated into small florets
- 10g parsley
- 2tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- 150g halloumi, sliced
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok, and cook the red pepper, garlic and leek over a medium heat for several minutes until soft. Add the quinoa, and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly, before adding the vegetable stock. Bring to a gentle boil. Wait for a few minute and then add the broccoli. Cook for around 15 minutes more, stirring regularly, until the quinoa is transparent and soft and there isn’t any excess water remaining (when the water begins to dry up, make sure you stir regularly to prevent the quinoa from sticking and burning).
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the parsley dressing. Place the parsley, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor, and blitz well until the lemon and oil have emulsified and the parsley is well chopped.
- When the quinoa is nearly ready, cook the halloumi. Place the slices in a dry non-stick frying pan, and cook over a medium heat for several minutes without touching it. It will release some liquid, and once the liquid has cooked off, it will begin to brown. When the underside is golden brown, turn each slice over to cook the other side (this side won’t take as long, so keep an eye one it!).
- Serve the quinoa salad with the grilled halloumi and drizzle with the parsley dressing.