Greek salad with fried halloumi cheese: An explosion of flavors and textures

Photo by Chaya Rappoport

Cheese lovers who haven’t tried halloumi, meet your new obsession.

Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese originating in Cyprus. Made from sheep’s milk, the briny yet mild cheese is popular in Greece and the Middle East, and increasingly in America, too. In Israel, you can find halloumi on practically every cafe menu.

Its real magic lies in its high melting point: Halloumi can be grilled or fried without falling apart or melting into a pile of hot (delicious) cheese. Instead, it takes on beautiful grill marks, a golden outside hue, and gets warm and just gooey enough in the middle. A total win in my book.

Halloumi is delicious when served simply, so I like to use it as a substitute for feta cheese in Greek salad. Its saltiness is similar to feta, but it has a completely different texture. And when fried, it gets gooey and warm, making it a nice contrast in cool, summer salads. I strongly recommend you season the cheese before frying it, as it is slightly less salty than feta.

For the dressing
Juice of ½ lemon
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the salad
1 small red onion, thinly sliced in half-moons
1 Persian cucumber, finely diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup olives, pitted
8 ounces halloumi cheese, cubed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons canola or olive oil (for frying the cheese)

Make the dressing: Stir together all the ingredients except for the oil until well combined. Then whisk in the oil slowly to emulsify.

In a large bowl, toss together the onion, cucumber, tomatoes and olives. In a separate small bowl, toss the halloumi cubes with salt and pepper to season them.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the halloumi cubes over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden and slightly soft inside.

Remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

Toss the salad vegetables with the dressing, turning them over with your hands to make sure everything is lightly coated. Add the halloumi cubes to the salad and toss gently to combine.

Divide the salad among 2 plates and serve immediately. Serves 2.

This recipe originally appeared on

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