Heat up the grill to make this halloumi salad with grilled tomato-scallion salsa and lemony pesto dressing!
Hope you guys had a lovely weekend and that if you’re in my neck of the woods, that you found some respite from the 100 degree weather! I spent Friday night in Greenville celebrating one of my dear friend’s 31st birthday. She had her second baby a couple months ago, so we enjoyed a laid back night at her house with low country boil, wine, and of course, birthday cake.
The next day a few of us hit up the downtown farmers market and snagged brunch at Nose Dive (avocado toast for me, obviously) before heading back to Columbia and spending the rest of the afternoon vegging out on the couch with The Mindy Project.
Being around my friends kids really made me think a lot about how children eat. Her oldest, Grayson, is three and he’s a total trip. Like all three-year-olds, and well, humans in general, he likes sugary foods. We caught him sneaking his fingers into the birthday cake to get little bites of frosting, which totally cracked me up. And at the farmers market, there was a minor “I want a popsicle and I want it NOW” related tantrum.
But also, there was no guilt involved in his choices. He didn’t feel guilty for eating frosting off the cake and end up eating half of it before promising to “start his diet next week.” Actually, after having his few bites of frosting, I don’t think he ended up even eating cake with us afterwards, satiated by dinner and his finger-fulls of frosting. And at brunch, he wasn’t overstuffing himself on food simply because it was a splurge meal. He stopped when he was full, leaving half his meal on the plate rather than pushing past the point to stuffed.
We all start off as intuitive eaters. As children, we eat what we enjoy while paying mind to hunger and fullness signals. There’s even evidence that children will choose food that supports their health when left alone. And most importantly, children eat with joy. The smile on Grayson’s face as he sucked the frosting off his fingers was priceless.
But through the years, the intuitive eater is chipped away by dieting messages, well meaning parents and a food industry that pushes us to eat more and more. One of our goals in Joyful Eating, Nourished Life is to reconnect you with that childlike joy in eating. To be able to eat the foods you love and not feel bad about it. To be able to make decisions on what to eat based on what you enjoy and how it makes you feel. To stop eating when satiated, not stuffed to the point of sickness. To be able to stick your fingers in frosting and only feel guilty for messing up the decoration 🙂
Our first group starting June 20th is technically full, but we decided to open up 20 extra spots because we love you and so you can take advantage of our special price for the first group! Head to the website for more details and be sure to sign up soon since it’ll be closed for new signups after Wednesday.
Now, on to todays recipe. In the summer, which lasts from April-October here in Columbia, I’m determined to make as much use of my grill as possible. So even salads get the grill treatment!
Have you ever tried halloumi cheese? It’s also called squeaky cheese. When you bite into it, you’ll know why – it makes a squeaky noise on your teeth! Halloumi is a Greek brined cheese with a high melting point, so it’s great to use for grilling and frying, like in one of my favorite Greek dishes, saganaki.
The scallions and tomatoes get the grill treatment too, where they take on a smokier, more intense flavor. And no salad is complete without carbs. If you’ve been making yours sans carbs, that’s probably a big reason why you’re hangry by 3 pm. Trust me on this one. For this salad, I used sorghum, but feel free to use anything you have on hand – brown rice, barley, farro or couscous would all be tasty! To give it a flavor boost, I tossed the sorghum with a little homemade pesto I had stored in the freezer. I was a random blend I made to use my dill, parsley, mint and basil before going out of town a few weeks ago. Feel free to substitute storebought or make your own.
- 8 roma tomatoes
- 4 large scallions
- 10 ounces halloumi cheese
- 2 cups cooked whole grain (sorghum, couscous, farro or brown rice work great)
- ½ cup pesto, following recipe or store bought
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 8 cups arugula
- Pesto (optional or use store bought):
- 4 cups any herb (basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, chives, mint, etc)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- If making pesto, blend herbs, garlic and olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat grill on medium-high heat. When hot, place tomatoes and scallions on the grill. Grill the scallions about 1 minute per side until grill marks form. Grill tomatoes about 1-2 minutes on all four sides until lightly charred. Remove scallions and tomatoes from grill and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, chop tomatoes into large chunks and slice scallions. Toss together and season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the halloumi in half lengthwise. Place on the grill and cook 1-2 minutes per side until grill marks form. Remove from heat, set aside to cool, then cut into 1 inch cubes.
- Mix pesto with juice of 1 lemon. Toss ¼ cup of the mixture with the cooked whole grain.
- Divide arugula between 4 plates. Top with scoop of whole grains, halloumi, tomato-scallion salsa and dollops of pesto for dressing.
More vegetarian recipes for the grill: