Sunday 4 May 2014

Halloumi cheese with green vegetables

Although we are definitely not vegetarians, Jane and I eat meatless meals quite frequently. Today I want to describe one which I made recently. It is a dish of my own invention, using my instinct, and there is no recipe to follow. I'm sure you could easily adapt it to suit your own preferences.

I wanted my dish to have big visual appeal, so I chose vegetables with a theme - the colour green. This is what I got:
Runner Beans
French Beans
Broad Beans
Calabrese Broccoli (florets and stem)
Spring Onions
"Jersey Royal" new potatoes (OK, not green, but see later on...)

I boiled the potatoes and left them to cool, and then prepared all the veg in advance, so that cooking (done at the last minute) would be easy. Here is part of my "mise en place". (Apologies for the poor photo. I normally take posed photos under the lights of the cooker-hood, but the hob was in use!)

In the dish covered with clingfilm is a Basil-and-Parsley pesto, which I made to match the colour-scheme. As it turned out, the Basil dominated, and you wouldn't have guessed that there was any Parsley in it.

When the time came to start cooking (about half an hour before serving-time), I started with the pre-cooked potatoes, frying them gently in some oil with the addition of sliced Spring Onions and lots of fresh Thyme - so in a sense even the potatoes were green. After a few minutes I started on the veg, adding them to a big pan of boiling water in order of length of cooking time required. The Runner and French Beans and Broccoli stem went in first, then the Broad Beans, then the Broccoli florets, and lastly the Asparagus.

Meanwhile, I fried the sliced Halloumi cheese. Until recently we have always cooked Halloumi by griddling it, but it often went hard, dry and rubbery. Then we discovered that when fried Halloumi is lovely and soft... It only takes a few minutes to cook, so you have to keep a close eye on it and make sure it doesn't burn. You are looking for "golden", not "blackened"!

When the veggies were done I drained them and assembled them on a big oval plate (one decorated in a suitably sylvan theme!), trying to spread the various elements around evenly. Finally I placed the Halloumi on top:

I served the pesto separately, for spooning on top of our individual servings. The dish doesn't look so elegant now!

Though I say it myself, this was a great combination, and I was very proud of the result. I'm giving myself a score of 9/10 in the "Invention Test". I think this dish will be made again. It would be a really good one for eating outdoors in the Summer-time. (Did I mention the bottle of cool Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that accompanied our meal?)

Finally, I want to show you the "nibbles" that preceded our main dish:

I think we managed our Five-a-Day vegetables (or is it supposed to be Seven-a-Day?) all right yesterday!

Some elements of this meal came from my own garden - Radishes, Asparagus, Basil, Parsley. I am therefore offering it up for Harvest Monday on Daphne's Dandelions.


  1. It looks lovely. And those radishes look so wonderful. I've had to resort to buying radishes from the store. So sad. And not nearly as good.

    I've never had too much trouble with the 5 veg a day rule. But I find that the new seven is hard (at least if you are only counting veg and not fruit). And the US recommendations now I think are just more is better. Basically just eat as many as you can because each serving helps. Though I think people do better with concrete numbers to strive for.

  2. You aree doing really well with the radishes,

  3. that is basically my perfect lunch... it looks beautiful and so fresh... adore halloumi x

  4. I love halloumi, try it with a warm pitta bread, tomatoes warm or cold, sour cream or Greek yogurt with grated cucumber... Out of this world. Less meat is great for your health and the environment, the dep of health are not changing guidelines to 7 veg a day as people cannot even get to 5 without a struggle at the moment. :-)

    1. I know what you mean! I think some people eat practically NO fruit and veg. If the average is 5 a day, I reckon some of us must be consuming 10!

  5. Looks great Mark.I have a couple of packets of said cheese in the fridge,waiting for one of my meatless phases.
    I generally combine it with left over potatoes/veg after frying separately from them.

  6. I bought some Halloumi last week, have all but the runner beans in the fridge/freezer so I might just give this dish a try, makes a nice change to have a meatless meal; Thanks for the ideas

  7. Green is a great theme and I also love having a broad variety of veg within one dish. Those radishes look delicious and absolutely faultless!

  8. I don't think I have ever gotten 5 vegetables in one day except when I eat a salad. Very nice looking meal and the radishes look great too. I did not plant any this year.

  9. It sound similar to something I make in the summer as a side dish for a BBQ, minus the potatoes though, Your radish look great, I seem to have a rogue one in my sweet peas.

  10. I think I usually manage to get 5 a day, but I eat them for both lunch and dinner and often for breakfast too. Your vegetable melange looks delicious, I especially like the idea of topping it with the fried cheese.

  11. Everything looks so tempting! You also have a wonderful collection of plates and bowls.

    1. Kanak, we often buy a piece of pottery / ceramic-ware as a holiday souvenir, so we have plates and bowls from all over the world! I'll find an excuse soon to use again the lovely bright blue pottery we got once in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

  12. I love this, green and topped off with golden halloumi - I like halloumi loads, but don't gt to eat it often as my husband has taken a dislike to it for some reason :(
    Please consider linking this tempting green savoury veg dish to a food event that I am hosting this month.


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