This Mediterranean halloumi salad recipe features pan-grilled halloumi cheese and roasted sweet potatoes tossed in a tangy tahini dressing. This vibrant gourmet salad is so easy to make for a healthy lunch or light dinner meal. Add your favourite salad toppings to finish off this delicious grilled halloumi salad.
There are many reasons to love this roasted sweet potato salad with halloumi cheese. For starters, you can make this salad all year round as the ingredients are readily available during every season of the year. And since this Mediterranean salad can be eaten either hot, cold or lukewarm it will fit in any time of year and during any occasion.
What is halloumi cheese?
Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese originating from the island of Cyprus and traditionally made with a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, although cow’s milk is sometimes used. Due to its high melting point, halloumi is perfect for grilling or frying.
It is a white layered cheese, generally preserved in brine. This Mediterranean cheese has quite a salty taste and is recognisable due to its rather squeaky but firm texture. It can be eaten either cooked or uncooked. I love to just lightly grill the cheese so the outer layer melts away slightly but the inner part remains uncooked and fresh. Halloumi can be pan-grilled or placed over a barbecue grill.
Halloumi and Sweet potato salad ingredients
- Halloumi cheese: Since Mediterranean cuisine has become more popular, so halloumi cheese is being slowly introduced into most parts of the world. It should be easy enough to find in larger chain grocery stores and if not, try to find Mediterranean / Middle Eastern speciality shops that might have some.
- Sweet potato: Oven-roasting sweet potato cubes elevates the already sweet flavour giving the outside a nice caramelisation and keeping the inside tender and soft. Just toss with a bit of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and dried thyme for the best flavour combination.
- Lettuce: I used a mix of fresh baby lettuce greens and peppery arugula, but feel free to use any other lettuce leaves you prefer, like baby spinach, Romaine or iceberg lettuce.
- Cherry tomatoes: Their sweet and slightly tart flavour combines perfectly with the other ingredients of this salad.
- Red onion: It enhances the already vibrant colours but doesn’t overpower the taste of the other ingredients.
- Herbs and seasoning: For this salad I let the mustard tahini dressing bring together the taste of all the ingredients without adding too many other flavours. Feel free, however, to add fresh or dried Mediterranean herbs like basil, oregano, mint or thyme.
Useful tips to make the perfect salad
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
To make this grilled halloumi and sweet potato salad recipe you just need to follow a couple of easy steps which are described in detail in the recipe card at the end of this post. I have included some useful tips and tricks to make the perfect salad.
Roast the sweet potato
- Use a good quality sweet potato that feels heavy and firm with a nice even skin.
- Peel the skin. Feel free to use the potato unpeeled, but for this salad, I prefer to remove the skin.
- Cut the sweet potato in equal-sized cubes before roasting. I have cut them in half-inch cubes (or 1-1,5 cm). You can cut them in larger chunks, in wedges or rings, as long as they are all equal in size. If not, some smaller pieces will be overcooked and others will still be raw after roasting.
- Don’t use too much olive oil! Using too much oil will make them soggy. Coat them lightly just to add that Mediterranean flavour.
- Don’t over-season the potato cubes. For this salad, you will want the sweet roasted flavour of the sweet potato to shine. Just elevate their natural aroma with a little salt, pepper and dried thyme.
- Roast in a pre-heated oven until golden brown on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside.
Grill the halloumi cheese
- Cut the halloumi into thin slices of around 1/3 inch (or 1 cm) thickness. Don’t cut the cheese too thin as it might break apart while grilling.
- Coat the halloumi slices lightly with olive oil before grilling, for the cheese not to stick to the grill pan. It is better to coat the cheese instead of adding oil to the pan for the best results.
- Use a grill pan or a griddle over an outdoor barbecue to get the golden brown char marks. If you don’t have a grill pan, you can also use a skillet or frying pan.
- Grill each side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown over medium to medium-high heat.
Prepare and assemble the salad
- Use a mix of different lettuce greens. I have used a combination of fresh baby lettuce leaves with peppery arugula or rocket lettuce.
- Add your favourite salad toppings, but don’t overdo it. The hero ingredients of this salad are the halloumi cheese and the sweet potato. Find ingredients that complement rather than overpower them. I have used cherry tomatoes and red onion which both pairs really nice with the main ingredients.
- Toss the salad ingredients together and place the roasted sweet potato cubes and grilled halloumi slices on top.
- Coat the salad with a good drizzle of mustard tahini salad dressing.
Which salad dressing to use?
Some salads just ask for a good drizzle of olive oil with a squeeze of lemon juice. My go-to salad dressing however is this honey mustard vinaigrette, which can be used for nearly any salad. It is that delicious! For this sweet potato and halloumi salad, I opted to add tahini paste to the honey mustard dressing to give it a more nutty taste which combines really well with the sweet potato and grilled halloumi cheese.
Tahini is a creamy toasted sesame seed paste used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. It is a rather thick paste that is best known for being used in dips like hummus or baba ganoush but can also be used in dressings or as a spread.
To make this mustard tahini salad dressing, mix olive oil, tahini paste, Dijon mustard, honey, cider vinegar, salt and pepper and toss well.
Interested in more salad recipes?
- Burrata Caprese salad
- Fresh fig salad with feta and pomegranate
- Gorgonzola pear salad with toasted pecans
- Watermelon salad with feta and cucumber
- Belgian endive salad with apple and ham
- Spanish salad with Little Gem and anchovy
Grilled halloumi salad with sweet potato
- 2 pounds (or 450 grams) sweet potato peeled and cubed
- 8 ounces (or 225 grams) halloumi cheese drained and cut in thin slices (1 cm or 1/3 inches)
- 10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 3.5 ounces (or 100 grams) lettuce leaves mixed and washed
- 1 small red onion sliced in thin half moons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
Tahini mustard dressing
- 1 teaspoon tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- salt and pepper to taste
Roast the sweet potato
- Preheat the oven to 392°F (or 200°C). Peel the sweet potato and cut in bite size cubes of around ½ inches or 1-1.5 cm. Put the sweet potato on an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Mix well.
- Place the oven tray in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
Grill the halloumi
- Cut the halloumi cheese in thin slices of ½ cm or ⅕ inches. Heat a dry non-stick or grill pan over medium heat and add the slices of halloumi. Grill each side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Set aside.
For the salad dressing
- In a small bowl mix the honey, Dijon mustard and tahini with the vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble the salad
- Place the lettuce, cherry tomatoes and onion rings on a serving plate. Pour the salad dressing over it. Add the roasted sweet potatoes and grilled halloumi cheese.
- Sweet potatoes: Don’t use too much oil to roast the sweet potatoes as it will make them soggy.
- Seasoning: Halloumi cheese is quite salty so don’t over-season the ingredients with salt. Extra flavour will be added by the tahini salad dressing.
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