Ringing in the first Meatless Monday of the year with probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Not to be dramatic or anything, BUT – crispy spiced up halloumi resting on a farro bed along with black beans, corn, poblano peppers and a zippy honey-lime vinaigrette.
Yes, these bowls are IT.
Even my husband declared them his favorite thing I’ve ever made, so ringing endorsements all around.
Truthfully, I’ve waited way too long to share these with you guys (like, since November) but I didn’t want them to get lost in the craziness of the holidays. No one is thinking about dinner when there are cookies to be eaten, am I right?
However, the first week of January when the holiday luster has faded and we have nothing to look forward too other than dinner?
Yes, perfect timing.
Let’s talk about the real star of this show, shall we?
Traditionally used in Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cooking, halloumi is a fairly heat-resistant cheese that sears up beautifully and makes for the perfect salty, protein-rich bite. I’m only beginning to realize just how versatile it can be and love using it as a meat substitute in many of my recipes.
Here, it’s tossed in a Mexican-ish spice blend comprised of ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano before frying so that all of those flavors basically get seared into its exterior, infusing it with a little extra oomph.
In addition to the glory that are spiced halloumi nuggets, these bowls are bulked up with farro, corn, poblano peppers, and black beans. The corn, peppers, and black beans are cooked in the same pan that is used for the halloumi, so they soak up any leftover spicy bits and get a little bit of char on them.
Once cooked, the sauteed veggies are tossed together with farro and a vibrant honey-lime vinaigrette that is the perfect mix of sweet and tangy.
To assemble, the farro and vegetable mixture is divided among serving bowls and topped with equal portions of the halloumi. I like mine served with a dollop of sour cream on top, but guacamole or just straight up avocado slices would be pretty excellent additions as well.
As with any bowl, there is so much opportunity for interpretation here. Feel free to substitute the farro with your favorite whole grain or use different vegetables than the ones I’ve chosen. My one plea is that you absolutely definitely do NOT forgo the halloumi because it is magic and makes life better, but if you must then seared tofu, chicken, or shrimp would be reasonable replacements.
- 1.5 cups farro
- 3 cups water
- salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 lb halloumi, cut into ½-inch thick slices
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 1.5 cups frozen corn
- 2 poblano peppers, diced
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- sour cream and cilantro, to garnish
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- To cook the farro, bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the farro and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat, drain well, and pour into a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano. Toss the halloumi pieces in the spice blend, coating on both sides.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the halloumi and cook until seared on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the halloumi to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet (no need to clean it or wipe it out). Add the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the corn and poblano peppers to the pan and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the corn is cooked through and the poblanos are tender. Stir in the black beans and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add to the bowl with the cooked farro.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, honey, and grated garlic until emulsified and well combined. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Pour the honey-lime vinaigrette over the farro and black bean mixture. Toss to combine.
- Divide the farro and black bean mixture among serving bowls. Top with the halloumi. Serve with sour cream and cilantro, to taste.