This fried halloumi salad combines halloumi cheese, arugula, cabbage and mushrooms in a juicy Asian inspired sauce. This copycat Aroma halloumi salad recipe draws inspiration from the popular Israeli Aroma Espresso Bar.
What Is Halloumi Cheese?
Halloumi cheese is a salty cheese that originates from Cyprus. It is originally made from goat's and sheep's milk. It is known for its high melting point, which makes it ideal for grilling and frying. It's also very popular in Middle Eastern recipes!
I discovered halloumi cheese when I was growing up in Israel, and I learned how to cook halloumi through many trials and experiments, and from learning from other Middle Eastern chefs.
Cypriot Halloumi cheese has a distinctive flavor that is mild but still quite salty, so it works best in dishes with other bold flavors. Its taste is most similar to ricotta salada - a mild salty cheese.
Some people think that halloumi is a raw cheese, but it's actually made with pasteurized milk. I love using halloumi cheese in many recipes: halloumi tacos, with eggs, on pizza, with pasta and with rice.
Why you should try halloumi cheese in a salad
A popular way to enjoy halloumi cheese is as part of a grilled halloumi salad. This recipe for halloumi salad is one of the most popular dishes at the Israeli coffee chain, Aroma Espresso Bar, and after craving it for years I just knew I had to replicate it for you!
This Middle Eastern, Asian-inspired halloumi cheese salad includes a mix of salad greens, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, cabbage, fresh herbs and slices of grilled halloumi cheese. The mushrooms and peppers are pan fried with an Asian salad dressing, and then added to the salad while warm. The same tangy sauce is then added to the salad to bring out the flavor of the halloumi and other ingredients.
Grilled halloumi salads are delicious served warm or cold and they make great side dishes or light main meals. The saltiness of the cheese pairs nicely with the crispness of the vegetables and brightness of the herbs, making it a great addition to any salad!
What does halloumi cheese taste like?
Halloumi cheese is a type of cheese that is particularly salty and has a unique taste. It often has a slightly crisp texture when cooked, and it can range from white to light brown in colour.
The flavour of halloumi cheese is quite strong, so it’s usually served as an accompaniment to other dishes rather than as the main course. It goes particularly well with vegetables or salads like this one.
I love to fry halloumi cheese for a crispy texture, which really brings out its salty flavour.
Halloumi cheese is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine, but it’s gaining in popularity around the world due to its unique taste and texture. Whether you like your halloumi fried or just plain, there’s something special about this salty, crispy cheese that’s sure to please any palate!
Is halloumi healthy?
While halloumi is often enjoyed as part of a meal, some may wonder if it is truly healthy to eat. Like most ingredients, the answer depends on how it's prepared and what it's served with.
Halloumi contains protein and calcium, so can be considered a healthier choice than other types of cheese. However, due to its high fat content, it should be eaten in moderation.
Adding halloumi to salads is one way to enjoy this cheese without overdoing portions, as salads tend to contain fewer calories than fried dishes.
Eating halloumi as part of a balanced diet can be beneficial for overall health, but watch out for added condiments or sauces which may add extra calories and unhealthy fats.
What type of salad greens can you use?
Salads are a great way to get your daily dose of nutrition, and the types of salad greens you choose to make this salad with can drastically alter the taste and health benefits.
To most closely resemble the flavor of the Aroma Halloumi Salad, you should use arugula and a curly-leaf lettuce, also known as Arabic lettuce or romaine lettuce. Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, and arugula are packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C.
If you’d rather have a sweeter flavor profile in your salad, opt for Bibb lettuce or butterhead lettuce.
Lastly, this salad has parsley - you can use flat leaf or curly leaf parsley. Some people prefer to add herbs like fresh mint, Thai basil or cilantro to their salads for an extra pop of flavor.
Experiment with different combinations of these different salad greens to create the perfect combination for your tastes!
Why You Should Make this Salad
This salad is extremely popular in Israel, and with good reason! It is:
- Sweet and salty
- Has a variety of textures
- Easy to make
- Combines cooked and raw ingredients
- Packed with nutrients
- Unique - combines Middle Eastern ingredients and Asian flavors
- Gluten Free
Grilled Halloumi Salad Ingredients
For Aroma halloumi salad
- halloumi cheese
- Tamari sauce, or soy sauce
- cherry tomatoes
- 4 mushrooms
- red bell pepper
- sesame seeds
For salad dressing
- Salt and pepper
How to make Aroma halloumi salad
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoon Tamari sauce or soy with 1 ½ teaspoons of honey. Add 1 tablespoon of the mixture to a grill pan along with 1 tablespoon of oil, mushrooms and bell peppers, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Season with sesame seeds. The veggies should still retain their bite, so don’t overcook. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Mix fresh ingredients
In a large bowl, combine lettuce and arugula leaves, carrot, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, onion, and parsley.
How to make pan fried halloumi
To the same pan, add cubed or sliced halloumi cheese, along with 1 tablespoon of the marinade. Fry for 2-3 minutes, turning from side to side to ensure all the sides are golden brown. Remove from heat.
Make salad dressing
In a small jar, make the salad dressing: 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of mustard, juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper.
Add the rest of the ingredients
To the bowl with the vegetables, add the cooked mushrooms and peppers that you fried at the beginning and the pan-fried halloumi cheese. Sprinkle with a little sesame seeds, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour salad dressing onto the salad, mix and serve immediately.
Tips for Making this Halloumi Salad Recipe
- Don't overcook the peppers and mushrooms - you want them to retain some bite and texture.
- Don't add too much soy marinade to the fried cheese or the vegetables.
- Try other vegetables and greens - like purple cabbage, or even kale.
Substitutions and variations:
There are so many variations you can come up with - just make sure to keep the ingredients fresh and flavorful for the best results!
- Try using fried halloumi slices as well as halloumi cubes. Traditionally, this salad is made when this firm cheese is cut into cubes and grilled, but halloumi is a great cheese to try and cut into thin cheese slices of about ¼ inch thickness, and about 2 inches in width. To make the slices, cut the block of halloumi into slices across its narrow side, arrange them on a grill or grill pan in a single layer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- If you want to add more protein to this salad, feel free to add some chickpeas for an extra boost of protein!
- Try adding avocado to the salad.
- If you don't have halloumi, try this recipe with another Mediterranean cheese - Circassian cheese.
How to Store Leftover Halloumi salad
This salad does not keep well, as the marinade will make the greens soggy.
If you want to make this salad ahead time, saute the vegetables and grill the halloumi cubes a day in advance, and keep them in individual sealed containers. Keep the salad dressing separate. You can combine the fresh ingredients except the cherry tomatoes, and keep those separate as well.
In Greece, halloumi cheese is traditionally served with olive oil and fresh oregano.
In the Middle East, halloumi cheese is traditionall served with olive oil and zaatar.
Yes! You can eat halloumi raw, it just tastes much milder.
Both are great! Grilling halloumi will give you those beautiful scorch marks on the outside of the cheese, while frying it turns it into delectable cubes that are crunchy and crispy on the outside, and gooey on the inside.
Yes, you can freeze grilled halloumi. When freezing grilled halloumi, it is important to store it properly. You should wrap the cheese well in aluminium foil or cling film before placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag. To ensure that the cheese doesn’t dry out during the freezing process, it’s also important to make sure that the container or bag is tightly sealed. Grilled halloumi will stay fresh for up to three months when stored in the freezer.
No, you don't need to rinse halloumi. Halloumi cheese is stored in a simple brine; there is no great need to wash it off as it's not bad for you.
When to serve this salad
Because of its combination of cooked and raw elements, this makes for a great salad for colder months - I love to serve this as a winter salad!
It also works great as a fall recipe. I love to serve this salad for Thanksgiving too.
It is a very substantial salad that makes for a filling lunch.
This salad would go very well with a soup, like this Keto Zuppa Toscana. I love accompanying it with homemade sourdough bread, or gluten free cornbread. Its Asian-influenced favors also make it go very well with Asian main course, like Chinese bourbon chicken.
More Ways to Enjoy Halloumi
More Mediterranean Salad Recipes You’ll Love
Did you enjoy this salad recipe with halloumi cheese? Let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to rate the recipe, pin it for later on Pinterest and share on social media by tagging @immigrantstable.
Copycat Aroma Espresso Bar Fried Halloumi Salad Recipe
For Aroma halloumi salad
- 1 package halloumi cheese cut into ½ inch cubes or thin slices
- 2 tablespoon Tamari sauce or soy sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoon honey
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ½ head small cabbage thinly sliced
- ½ purple onion slivered
- 20 cherry tomatoes of various colors halved
- 1 handful arugula
- 1 handful lettuce diced into ribbons
- 4 mushrooms thinly sliced
- ½ red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 carrot julienned
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoon Tamari sauce or soy with 1 ½ teaspoons of honey. Add 1 tablespoon of the mixture to a grill pan along with 1 tablespoon of oil, mushrooms and bell peppers, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Season with sesame seeds. The veggies should still retain their bite, so don’t overcook. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine lettuce and arugula leaves, carrot, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, onion, and parsley.
- To the same pan, add cubed or sliced halloumi cheese, along with 1 tablespoon of the marinade. Fry for 2-3 minutes, turning from side to side to ensure all the sides are golden brown. Remove from heat.
- To the bowl with the vegetables, add the cooked mushrooms and peppers that you fried at the beginning and the pan-fried halloumi cheese. Sprinkle with a little sesame seeds, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a small jar, make the salad dressing: 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of mustard, juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Pour salad dressing onto the salad, mix and serve immediately.
Welcome to At The Immigrant's Table! I blend my immigrant roots with modern diets, crafting recipes that take you on a global kitchen adventure. As a food blogger and photographer, I'm dedicated to making international cuisine both healthy and accessible. Let's embark on a culinary journey that bridges cultures and introduces a world of flavors right into your home. Read more...