Being such a universally loved food, cheese seems to be a common cause of weight loss catastrophe for so many people I know. This is primarily due to their high contents of saturated fat and excessive sodium. Good news is, you don’t have to eliminate this mouthwatering delight from your diet completely because different types of cheese vary in total fat content from 9% in cottage cheese and up to 34% in parmesan. Since there are so many varieties available, you just have to be selective and consume them in moderation.
Hard, yellow cheeses like Cheddar and Parmesan tend to contain the most fat & kcals while white ones such as Feta, Halloumi, Ricotta & Cottage cheese contain the least. So when I do crave cheese (and I think it’s absolutely fine to eat them occasionally unless you’re vegan/dairy-free), I always go for one of the latter four.
Fiber from the greens, protein from the lentils, fats from the walnuts & Halloumi – this hearty salad is a pretty much a complete meal all on its own. Flavor wise, it’s a delicious balance of salty (Halloumi), nutty (lentils), creamy (tahini), tangy (lemon juice) & sweet (balsamic reduction). The toasted walnuts & blanched broccolis give the salad that added crunchy awesomeness.
Pan-seared Halloumi & Lentil Salad
Recipe type: Salad, Gluten-free, Low Carb
- 1/3 cups cooked Brown lentils (cooked in salted water, use sea salt)
- 1 small clove Garlic (finely minced)
- 1/2 tbsp light Olive oil (add more if too dry) + a bit extra for pan searing Halloumi
- 1 tbsp Tahini (add more if you prefer a creamier texture)
- Sea Salt & ground Black Pepper (according to taste)
- 1-2 squeezes of Lemon (juice only)
- 2-3 slices of Halloumi cheese (sliced not thicker than 1cm)
- handful of Wild Rocket salad
- 6-7 Walnuts (lightly toasted)
- Handful of Broccolini (blanched in salted water, use sea salt)
- Balsamic reduction/glaze (according to taste)
- Mix the cooked lentils with lemon juice, tahini, garlic, 1/2 tbsp olive oil, sea salt & pepper in a small mixing bowl gently. Set aside.
- Add a bit of olive oil to a small non stick frying pan on medium high heat - using a brush to ensure that the entire pan is lightly coated with the oil. When the oil is hot, place the Halloumi cheese and pan sear both sides till well browned. It will take just a couple of minutes (maybe less). When done, remove the pan from heat but leave the cheese in the pan to keep warm (but not burn! so if it looks like it's going to, transfer to a separate plate).
- Quickly assemble the salad on a serving plate by placing wild rocket leaves at the bottom. Next place the lentil mixture on the bed of leaves then place the pan-fried Halloumi slices over the bed of lentils. Garnish with blanched broccolini, toasted walnuts and dress with Balsamic glaze/reduction.
- Make sure to serve the salad while the Halloumi cheese is hot, perhaps with a slice of toasted sourdough (or gluten-free toast) and some lemon.
Remember to go organic as much as you can!