Not even sure that you can call a bowl full of carbs that’s topped with fried cheese a salad, but here we are!
I mean, there are veggies too. And kale!!
Where there’s kale, there must be salad. That’s pretty much a fundamental truth.
I’ve been eating a lot of vegan salads for lunch lately. It’s semi intentional in that it makes me feel good and probably somewhat accounts for the fact that not a single one of my patients in the past 4 weeks has asked me if I’m pregnant (I’m not). Daily workouts and not eating ice cream every day – also likely at play here. And now (most of) my pants fit! YAAAASSSS.
This salad is not vegan by any standards, but I’ll always make an exception for fried cheese.
Especially when it’s been marinated in harissa because that salty/spicy combo is what I’ve been LIVING for lately. Halloumi is a great cheese for frying and salad topping because it doesn’t really melt, it just softens and adds crisp-on-the-outside/chewy-on-the-inside bites to your salad bowls. THE BEST.
I’m also obsessed with this salad because the roasted veggies are spiced with sumac, which gives them sort of a tart lemony flavor, and the dressing is made with labneh! In case you haven’t heard of it before, labneh is basically what happens when you take Greek yogurt and strain it to make it EVEN THICKER. It’s so creamy and glorious.
AND it’s yogurty enough that when Remy asks for yogurt at every meal, I can hand her a bowl of this and insist that there’s yogurt in it so she should eat it. Which works! Sometimes. When she’s in the mood. (Okay, maybe one time. But still!)
- 8 oz halloumi, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ⅓ cup labneh
- 2 tbsp harissa
- juice of ½ lemon
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- '1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 cups medium diced carrots
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tbsp sumac
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup labneh
- juice of ¼ lemon
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, thinly sliced
- 1½ cups Israeli couscous
- To prepare the halloumi, in a large bowl whisk together the labneh, harissa, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in the halloumi cubes. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 10 minutes. Heat a large nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the cheese in an even layer, reserving the excess marinade. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned.
- For the vegetables, heat oven to 450F. Toss together the cauliflower, carrots, and red onion in a large bowl with the olive oil and sumac. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
- To prepare the salad, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup of labneh, lemon juice, and ¼ cup of olive oil in a large salad bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the sliced kale to the dressing and stir to coat. Set aside to allow the kale to soften, at least ten minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the couscous. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the couscous and toast, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Add 4 cups of water and salt and black pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit, still covered, for 2-3 minutes more. Fluff, drain if there is any water leftover, and toss with the kale mixture.
- To the bowl of kale, add the roasted vegetables, reserved marinade, and the halloumi cheese. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, and serve warm.
More recipes with Middle Eastern inspiration: