A few weeks back, Jesse and I spent 10 days in London, England, celebrating our recent engagement. We had a truly magical time! Lots of laugh, so many neat sights and lots of delicious food! Oh, the food! :) One of the things that really stood out to me in England was how vegetarian + vegan friendly all of the restaurants were. All of the menus had multiple veggie-options. Since I am used to only one or two options per menu, I found deciding on a meal in England really difficult! It was a GREAT problem to have! My biggest conundrum was deciding between asparagus-pea ravioli with mint or sun-dried tomato ricotta cannelloni at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant – Jaime’s Kitchen in Covent Garden. I went with the ravioli…twas a GREAT choice! Yum!
Halloumi seemed to be a very popular ingredient on many of the menus in England. Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese often used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a high melting point which makes it great for grilling and pan-frying. It retains its shape nicely and has a wonderful texture. One of my favourite meals in London was the vegetarian fish and chips that I enjoyed at a pub near Trafalgar Square. The “fish” was beer-battered halloumi cheese. It was served with tartar sauce, mushy peas and proper pub-style chips. I was in heaven!
When we got home, I was on a mission to find some halloumi cheese and thankfully found some at our neighbourhood grocery store. Since halloumi cheese is quite rich and relatively salty, I wanted to use it with really fresh, light ingredients. I paired the pan-fried halloumi with fresh spring greens with orange-cumin marinated sliced carrots. The citrus in the dressing cut the richness of the cheese. And the sweetness of the honey paired up perfectly with the saltiness of the halloumi. Jesse and I enjoyed this salad for lunch recently and were smitten! It’s the perfect salad for a light lunch.
To make this salad vegan, I suggest pan-frying a few slices of tofu with some cumin seeds. Crispy tofu would be a great substitute for the halloumi cheese. Additionally, you can grill the halloumi cheese on your BBQ. Just brush the oil onto the grill and cook the halloumi about 2 minutes on each side.