This blood orange halloumi quinoa salad was full of flavor and so nutritious.
By now you’re probably sick of seeing another blood orange salad! But I’m secretly hoping that you’re not because this salad is delicious and has a different flavor profile from the last one. I had some leftover blood oranges from making a blood orange sorbet, a near expiring log of halloumi cheese, and a languishing pomegranate hidden in the back of the fridge that were begging for salvation. After a quick scan of my pantry, I found freekeh, millet, lentil, and quinoa and decided the quinoa would provide the perfect backdrop for these beautiful ingredients. This blood orange halloumi quinoa salad was a clean out the fridge kind of salad that ended up working very well.
The heroes of this salad are the blood oranges and halloumi cheese. The sweet tart flavor of the oranges was heightened by the saltiness of the halloumi. If you haven’t had halloumi, you’ll have to try it once. Halloumi cheese originated from the island of Cyprus and is made traditionally with sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. Dubbed as the “Grilling Cheese” due to its unique ability to withstand high temperature, halloumi can be grilled, broiled, or pan-fried to a delicious crispy exterior and soft gooey center. With its chewy and meaty texture, halloumi is one of my favorite cheeses to use in salad.
Quinoa was the perfect base for the blood oranges and halloumi given its fluffy and slightly crunchy texture. It’s an energy-rich food that adds lots of fiber and protein. To bring everything together, I made a simple olive oil citrus dressing and tossed in some mint leaves from the garden. For a clean out the fridge kind of dish, this blood orange halloumi quinoa salad was full of flavor and so nutritious.
If you want more citrus salad inspiration, check out these recipes: blood orange and roasted beet salad, burrata blood orange and fennel salad, and seared scallops grapefruit and shaved fennel salad.
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Blood orange halloumi quinoa salad
- 1/2 cup organic quinoa
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 4 slices of ¼ inch thick halloumi, more if you like
- 4 small blood oranges
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 tbsps mint leaves
- 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 tbsps hazelnuts, toasted
- Add the water and quinoa to a sauce pan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the water has been absorbed. Add more water if needed while cooking.
- When the quinoa is ready, the curly grain will have been released from the seed. Drain off any excess water and set aside.
- Preheat the over to 350 degrees F.
- Toast the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for 5 minutes, or until they’re golden and fragrant. Place the toasted nuts on a kitchen towel and rub them against one another to remove the skins then roughly chop the nuts.
- To cook the halloumi, place a large cast-iron pan or grill pan over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium and add one tablespoon of olive oil into the pan swirling it to coat the bottom evenly. Add the cheese slices into a single layer.
- When the underside is golden brown, about 1 minute, flip the slices and cook on the other side for another minute until golden brown. Remove the cheese slices and place them on a prep plate.
- Cut a slice off the top and bottom of each orange so they have a flat bottom to sit on. Use a sharp knife to cut the peel and remove as much of the pith from the oranges as you can. Slice the oranges into ¼ inch rounds and use the tip of your knife to pick out any seeds. Set the cut orange slices aside on a prep plate.
- To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that the halloumi will be salty so you don’t need to add as much salt.
- When ready to serve, divide the quinoa between two plates. Add the blood orange slices and halloumi slices. Top with pomegranate seeds, chopped hazelnuts, and mint leaves and drizzle the dressing over the salad.