Ever had Grilled Halloumi? It’s a beautiful thing!
Unlike most other cheeses, this salty, semi-hard goat and sheep milk cheese has a high melting point, which makes it an ideal contender to throw into a pan or on the grill without it turning into a total gooey mess on you.
In its cold, uncooked state, Halloumi is a bit on the dry and hard side and not exactly the kind of cheese that you’d want to include on platter of delicate cheeses. But once it’s been pan-fried or grilled, it becomes all beautiful and golden brown and crispy on the exterior while its heart turns all kinds of warm and soft and chewy and pleasantly squeaky.
OH! Be still my heart!
Without a doubt, Grilled Halloumi is the perfect partner to pair with this fresh and crisp Cucumber and Green Peas Orzo Salad. The contrast between these two companions, be it in temperature, texture or flavor, is like a match made in heaven!
To me, this super refreshing Orzo Salad, topped with a few thick slices of warm and chewy Grilled Halloumi cheese is the perfect summer comfort food!
Still, if you didn’t do dairy, you could very well leave the Grilled Halloumi out of the equation and you’d be left with a super good, super versatile and incredibly sturdy side dish!
Hey, you could even add chunks of leftover cooked chicken to it for a simple, light and delicious complete meal. Or cooked shrimp… or salmon…
You get the idea!
First, you gotta cook the orzo according to the instructions on the package, then rinse it under cold running water until it no longer feels warm and drain completely.
While the orzo is cooking, make the dressing… simply combine the ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup and whisk vigorously with a fork until well combined and slightly emulsified.
Next, combine the drained orzo, thawed green peas, chopped cucumbers, sliced green onions and chopped parsley in a large bowl and then pour the dressing right in.
Toss delicately until all the ingredients are well combined. Divide the salad equally between 4 serving bowls and reserve.
If you wanted to, you could also place it in the fridge at this point and serve it a little later today, or even tomorrow! In fact, this salad will keep well for up to 4 – 5 days and will even benefit from sitting in the fridge for a little bit, so don’t hesitate to make it ahead of time if you have to.
When ready to eat, place a well oiled cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat and then grill the slices of Halloumi cheese until they get beautifully golden brown, about 45 seconds per side.
Top each salad with 2 to 3 slices of warm cheese. The cheese that I used was shaped like a small log, so 3 slices felt like a good amount, but if your slices are bigger, you might want to bring that number down to 2… Or not!
Garnish with thin slices of cucumber and fresh thyme, if desired and serve without delay.
Cucumber and Peas Orzo Salad with Grilled Halloumi
For the orzo salad
- 350g (12.5oz) dry orzo
- 3 mini cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 1 cup (150g | 5.3oz) frozen green peas, thawed
- 3-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 green onions, sliced
For the dressing
- 8 to 12 slices halloumi cheese, about ⅓” thick (I used Doré-Mi)
- Cook the orzo according to the instructions on the package, then rinse it under cold running water until it no longer feels warm. Drain completely.
- While the orzo is cooking, make the dressing: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup; whisk vigorously until well combined and slightly emulsified. Set aside.
- Combine the drained orzo, thawed green peas, chopped cucumbers, sliced green onions and chopped parsley in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Divide the salad equally between 4 bowls and reserve. You can also refrigerate the salad at this point to serve at a later time.
- When ready to eat, heat a well oiled cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat and grill the slices of halloumi cheese until golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. Top each salad with 2 to 3 slices of warm cheese.
- Garnish with thin slices of cucumber and fresh thyme, if desired and serve without delay.