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Home to Mediterranean cuisine, Halloumi has become a huge food trend in many parts of the world.
The cheese is famous for its high melting point which makes it perfect for anything from salads to burgers. Besides, the pleasant salty taste of Halloumi cheese pairs excellently with sweet food. That’s where this delicious Halloumi watermelon salad comes into play.
What is Halloumi?
Halloumi is a semi-hard brined cheese made of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It originates from the Mediterranean region. Most probably native to ancient Egypt, it’s widely produced in Cyprus today. Halloumi is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. What makes Halloumi special are its high melting point and its salty taste and gooey texture.
By the way, today Halloumi is mainly produced in Cyprus. The European Union has introduced a protected designation of origin for Halloumi in 2021. That means that only grilling cheese made in Cyprus can be called Halloumi. That doesn’t apply for other parts of the world though.
For this quick and easy Halloumi watermelon salad recipe, you only need a handful of ingredients:
- Halloumi cheese
- Fresh basil. If you don’t have any fresh basil available, you can use fresh mint instead. Fresh herbs do really level up the recipe.
- Pine nuts
- Honey. It gives an additional hint of sweetness to your salad.
I really like to limit the ingredients in this salad so as not to overpower the sweet flavor of the watermelon. The salad is perfect during summertime. If you’re looking for a hearty Halloumi salad, check out my classic Middle Eastern Halloumi salad.
Note: The exact quantities (according to the amount of servings) can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe.
How to Make Halloumi Watermelon Salad
Step 1: Slice the watermelon
To make sure your salad is warm and fresh, I first prepare the watermelon. Depending on the size of your watermelon, you want to cut it into halves first. You can use parts of it for your salad, and parts of it later (e.g. to snack or to make watermelon juice).
Cut the watermelon half into slices. Trim off the rinds with a sharp knife, then cut into the desired shape. Depending on your preference, you can chop the watermelon slices into small cubes or wedges. Transfer onto a plate.
Step 2: Grill the Halloumi cheese
Remove the Halloumi cheese from the packaging and drain the brine. Remove any excess brine with kitchen paper. Cut the Halloumi cheese into slices (about 1 cm / 0.4 inch thick). If you like, you can cut the slices into halves (make sure they don’t break further). Place the Halloumi cheese into a pan and grill on medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Add the grilled Halloumi to the watermelon.
By the way, when using a grilling pan, you don’t need to add any oil. You can add a thin layer of olive when using a conventional frying pan.
Step 3: Toast pine nuts
Add pine nuts into a small frying pan (without oil). Toast briefly (1-2 minutes) until slightly golden. Don’t make them too dark! Sprinkle the pine nuts over the watermelon and Halloumi.
Step 4: Add basil
Add fresh basil to your salad. Depending on the size of your leaves, you can either add whole leaves or roughly chop them.
Step 5: Add honey
To round off your salad, drizzle a bit of honey on top. Serve immediately.
What to Serve with Halloumi Watermelon Salad?
Halloumi watermelon salad makes a wonderful starter or a light meal. You can serve it with pita bread.
It can be paired with other Middle Eastern salads such as Tabbouleh, as well as many meat dishes such as grilled chicken.
How to Grill Halloumi
Grilling Halloumi is quite easy, once you know how it works. If you’d like to know more about how to grill Halloumi (and overcome common pitfalls), check out my grilled Halloumi recipe.
How to Cut a Watermelon
There are many ways to cut a watermelon, depending on how you prefer it. For salads, you can best make small cubes or wedges. To do so, cut the watermelon into halves. Place one half in front of you. Cut the watermelon half into slices. Trim off the rinds with a sharp knife. Then, cut into cubes or triangles.
Make Ahead & Storage
Grilled Halloumi tastes best when served right after grilling. It’s not a dish you’d prepare in advance, as Halloumi gets rubbery once it cools down. If you have any leftovers however, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge to consume the next day.
Cut watermelon can be kept in the fridge for a few days. Once your watermelon is cut up, cover with a plastic wrap to avoid it from drying out.
Any Questions or Feedback?
If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.
Halloumi Watermelon Salad
- 600 g watermelon
- 200 g Halloumi cheese
- 2 tsp pine nuts
- 1 tsp honey
- fresh basil handful
- Remove the rind of the watermelon. Cut into cubes or wedges (depending on your preference). Place onto a plate or bowl.
- Remove Halloumi from the packaging, drain any excess brine and pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut the Halloumi into slices (1 cm / 0.4 inch thick). Place in a grill pan. Grill for 2-3 minutes from one side, then flip around and grill for another 2-3 minutes until golden on both sides. Add the grilled Halloumi to the watermelon.
- Toast pine nuts in a pan (1-2 minutes, until slightly golden). Add to the remaining ingredients.
- Add fresh herbs (e.g. basil) to your salad. Use whole leaves or roughly chop.
- Top with fresh honey. Serve immediately.