Our girl started secondary school yesterday, it all went swimmingly, she had the best day ever and I held it together remarkably well. So now that she is back to school I’m going to be making lunches that are a little bit more on the healthy side. Blame a busy summer of get-togethers and picnics! Walking is also on the menu! So today I have a mostly healthy salad for you. This halloumi salad with butternut squash and quinoa. It’s the kind of salad that doesn’t really feel like a salad.
This halloumi salad comes with warming, roasted butternut squash which is lightly spiced and slightly herby. The halloumi is dry fried which makes it golden and gives the edges a little crispiness. I’ve also added some nuts and seeds to add healthy fats and some crunch. I love different textures in my food and this salad has lots of different textures. The soft butternut squash is perfect matched to the squeakiness of the halloumi, and the walnuts and pumpkin seeds add that extra crunch.
The flavours in this salad make me feel very comforted, and a bit autumnal! Hey it’s on it’s very much on it’s way. With salty, minty halloumi, sweet and warmly spiced butternut squash, a little kick from the red onion and some nuttiness from the nuts and seeds, this is a salad of many flavours. Top it off with a sweet and citrus dressing and some mint leaves and it makes this salad a nice balance between warm and fresh, zesty and smooth. The spinach and quinoa makes this a very satisfying salad, so much so that I managed to last until dinner!
You could serve this warm or cold, I like it both ways. You could prepare all of this except the halloumi and bring it to school or work, also keep the dressing separate and add when ready to eat. If you can get your hands on some traditional halloumi cheese, then all the better, it will have some mint folded into it in the middle and will be made with a non animal rennet. I like red onions in my salad but if you find them too strong you could use spring onions instead.
Halloumi salad with butternut squash and quinoa
- 200 g halloumi cheese sliced thinly
- 350 g butternut squash peeled and cut into small cubes
- 100 g quinoa
- 100 g baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 a red onion (80g) sliced thinly
- 20 g walnut halves crumbled
- 2 scant tbs pumpkin seeds
- 1 heaped tbs mint leaves
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- A very small pinch of sea salt
For the lemon, honey dressing
- 75 ml extra virgin olive oil
- The juice of 1 lemon (50ml)
- 1 heaped tsp runny honey
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C / 355F I use an electric fan assisted oven, please adjust according to your own oven.Place the butternut squash on a baking tray, add the olive oil, spices and herb and mix well. Cook until the squash is soft about 20 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting cook the quinoa. Once cooked leave to cool, then when you are ready to plate up use a fork to fluff up the quinoa.
- Heat a skillet or non stick pan until hot, turn down the heat a little then add the slices of halloumi. Cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes. They should be golden brown.
- To make the dressing add all the ingredients to a small bowl or jug and whisk until combined. Leave in the fridge until ready to serve.
- To serve, add the quinoa to a large serving dish, add the spinach, squash, red onion, nuts and seeds and mix gently. I serve the dressing on the side but you could add the dressing now and mix gently. Top with the halloumi and mint leaves.