I am a huge fan of halloumi, for those of you that may not of come across halloumi before it is a wonderfully chewy cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk with a high-melting point which makes it ideal for grilling or frying. You can marinate it to add flavours, throw it onto a BBQ for vegetarians (and non-vegetarians if they love it as much as I do), add a grilled slice or two to a burger, there are endless choices with this very versatile cheese, but for this recipe I have used it to make an extremely healthy Donna Hay recipe, smoky halloumi and quinoa salad.

Now I know that my blog is always a little unbalanced, there are sooooo many cake recipes, but if you are a regular to the blog you will know that I believe in everything in moderation and on the whole I follow a very healthy diet and do try to eat cleanly as much as I can. It has also recently been brought to my attention that I do not have a vegetarian section on the blog, which is silly as I have a huge amount of vegetarian recipes on here. This I will be looking into and will hopefully be adding soon. Just so that it is easy to see them.

I have long been an advocate of healthy pulses and heritage flours, where possible I use Spelt and I absolutely adore quinoa. Quinoa is a hard one to describe without putting someone off, to me it looks like tiny frog spawn (see I told you, you really don’t fancy it now do you?), but please trust me, its delicious and so good for you. Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wa’ is a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains. When cooked it opens up to release little white curls (like a tail) as they soften. Quinoa has twice the protein content of rice or barley and is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese. It also possesses good levels of several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre, see, its worth trying just for all that goodness !

Cooked quinoa seeds become fluffy and creamy, yet maintains a slight crunch. It has a delicate and subtly nutty flavor, versatile for breakfast (as a cereal), lunch (as a salad) or dinner (as a side), it takes on other flavours well and is surprisingly filling.

This recipe brings together so many textures and flavours, the squeak and chewiness from the halloumi, fluffy quinoa and the burst of fresh tomatoes is amazing, this is all given a lift with the zest of a lemon and fresh lemon thyme, add in the smoky paprika and you have all bases covered.

This dish is so quick, so simple and just perfect for summer.

Buon appetito


Serves 4

1 cup (200g) white quinoa
2 cups (500ml) water
450g mixed tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 cup baby spinach leaves
500g halloumi, sliced
6 sprigs lemon thyme
finely shredded zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
smoked paprika dressing
¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Place the quinoa and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and allow to cool.

To make the dressing, place the lemon juice, paprika, oil and honey in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the tomato, spinach and quinoa and toss to combine. Set aside.

Place the halloumi, thyme, lemon zest and oil in a bowl and toss to coat. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the halloumi and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 2 minutes or until golden.

Serve with the salad.