Try something new with this Grilled Halloumi and Farro Salad with Lemon Chimichurri Vinaigrette! The salty smokiness of the charred halloumi cheese pairs beautifully with the nuttiness of the farro and the brightness of the vinaigrette. Add some locally grown tomatoes and spinach, and you have a truly flavorful, wholesome dish.
You can certainly create your own salad with whatever ingredients you have, but since halloumi is popular in Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, I find that a simple spinach, tomato, and cannellini bean base really allows all the flavors to shine.
- 1 cup of dry Italian pearled farro, rinsed (this variety cooks more quickly than whole or semi-pearled farro)*
- 2 cups of water
- 1 15-oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 large tomatoes, diced in 1” pieces
- 5 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 8-ounce block of halloumi cheese*
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt to taste
Lemon Chimichurri Vinagrette:
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
- ⅓ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- In a small lidded pot, heat two cups of water to a rolling boil. While the water is boiling, rinse the farro using a fine mesh sieve. When the water boils, add a pinch of salt and the rinsed farro to the pot. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook the farro for 20-25 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.
- In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette except for the olive oil and puree until smooth. Slowly add in the olive oil until everything is incorporated. Set aside.
- Combine the drained beans, chopped tomato, and spinach together in a large bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the chimichurri vinaigrette and toss to combine. Set aside while you prepare the cheese.
- Turn your grill to high heat (you want to get a good sear on the halloumi). Remove the halloumi from the package and slice lengthwise, so you have two ¾” thick slices of cheese. Brush oil generously over the cheese, then sprinkle the oregano on both sides. When the grill is hot, sear the halloumi cheese for 3-4 minutes on each side (you can turn the cheese by 90 degrees halfway through each side’s cooking if you want your cheese to have fancy crosshatch grill marks). Remove the cheese from the heat.
- Top the salad with the cooked farro and grilled halloumi cheese (you can slice the cheese into bite-size pieces or leave it whole), then drizzle the vinaigrette on top. Serve immediately.
- Halloumi is a salty, very firm cheese popular in the Eastern Mediterranean. It has a rubbery, squeaky mouthfeel and a high melting point, which makes it perfect for grilling and frying. Similar in taste to feta cheese, halloumi is hearty enough to stand in for meat in Mediterranean dishes.
- Farro is an ancient wheat-derived grain that has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture similar to that of barley or wild rice. It can be used in a variety of applications: soups, salads, and breakfast foods, to name a few. However, it’s important to note that farro is not gluten free. If you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, you can replace the farro in this recipe with quinoa or rice; simply skip step 1 of this recipe and follow the package directions to prepare.
This recipe is from Home Chef and OPL Community member Kristina Shane.