10 June 2011

Lentil, cherry tomato & halloumi salad - can't be good for you, it's too nice!

I'm assured it is, (good for you, that is), but it seems somewhat too good to be true, as it was not only a really unusual dish for us to have, but completely delicious (if a bit hard work on the jaws!).

Yes, I think next time I'll take hubby's advice and instead of the lentils we'll have bulgur wheat or maybe even Orzo.  Hubby's not keen on lentils (is any man?) and, although I like them, I did find them hard to get through in this instance.

I will admit that I kind of blew the low GI standing of the dish by putting it with some salami and lightly buttered the inside of the pitta bread, but it was a whole heap lower fat than a lot of dinners.  I gather that Halloumi cheese is a 25% fat product, so I suppose it's really like using a half-fat cheddar (which are disgusting - Halloumi is SO much nicer!).

This was the first time in aeons that I'd had Halloumi and I'd quite forgotten how it tasted and the odd "squeakiness" of its texture.  Somewhere between plasticene and polystyrene.  I'd completely forgotten about its delicious saltiness and the one I'd bought in this instance had chopped mint put through it.  Maybe they all do, I haven't a clue!  I grilled mine in the chargrill pan, (any excuse to use it!) having brushed a little olive oil over each slice.  I cut it into cubes just before serving.  Anyway, it was really tasty and loved being paired with the red onion and cherry tomatoes.

To make it more of a main course, I'd added a few ingredients to the salad, including some baby spinach leaves, finely sliced radishes and an apple cheek which I'd julienned (well, the mandolin julienned it, in fact.  My knife skills aren't quite that good yet!).  The lemon juice stopped the apple pieces from turning brown, which was perfect.

For all that I included the dressing that the recipe dictated, I found that it required a bit more than that and used a little red pepper dressing which I happened to have in the fridge.

The pitta bread works as a beautiful little scoop (I buttered it lightly inside then cut it in half) and provides a few more carbohydrates.  Personally, I'd have been happy with the salad minus the salami, but I appreciate that the addition of the salami turned it into more of a meal for the chaps.  Which is fine.  Anything that gets them eating food that's healthy for them, is okay in my book.  Well, unless it's chips, of course.  *chuckle*


Ingredients :

150g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if they're large
1 small red onion, sliced finely
3 large radishes, sliced finely
a handful of salad leaves or baby spinach leaves
the cheek cut from an apple, then julienned (cut into fine batons)
half a garlic clove, crushed
half a lemon, juiced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150g puy lentils, or bulgur wheat, orzo or couscous
250g pack Halloumi cheese, sliced
small bunch coriander leaves.

To serve :

Pitta bread
salad dressing

Method :

1.  Cook the lentils, orzo, bulgur wheat or couscous according to manufacturer's instructions, drain and leave to one side.

2.  Grill the slices of Halloumi cheese until browning and toasted.  Cut into cubes and leave to keep warm while you prepare the salad ingredients, pitta bread and lay out the salami.

2.  Into a big bowl, put the cherry tomatoes, red onion, radishes, salad leaves, apple and coriander leaves and toss to combine.

3.  Add the lemon juice & olive oil and season.

4.  Add the lentils (or whatever you are using) and again, toss to combine.

5.  Plate up the salad, adding the Halloumi cheese at the last minute.

Tuck in!

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