This post was sponsored by Agora Foods, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I used their excellent halloumi, extra virgin greek olive oil and salad dressing to create this recipe.
A strawberry and arugula salad with fresh strawberries, grilled halloumi giving a beautiful saltiness and crunch, and candied pecans for a little something extra. This comes together in under 15 minutes and make a beautiful summery light main dish or side salad. Strawberry and grilled halloumi make the perfect flavor combination!
I am very formulaic with my favorite salads. There must be some form of cheese, a fruit, nuts, and lots of fresh greens. This roasted beetroot salad is another one I make again and again. I find that flavor combination gives the most satisfaction, making you happy to have a salad for lunch. The crunch and sweetness of the candied pecans really pushes this over the top, and it’s a step that takes only 5 extra minutes. So worth it!
Many types of cheese work well with strawberries. I chose grilled halloumi here, one of my favorite things to eat. You can also use feta, goat cheese, fresh parmesan, or really anything that comes to mind.
How to properly grill halloumi:
I used a grill pan to get some nice marks on the halloumi. You heat a little olive oil in the pan over medium heat and once hot add your cheese slices. I know some people choose to use a non stick pan and not add oil at all, but this is the way I’ve always done it! You don’t want your halloumi slices sputtering in the high heat and burning you (true story), so the key is to properly pat dry your slices of halloumi before putting them on the heat.
Salad greens: What works best?
I kept this super flexible. My favorite is arugula (or wild rocket) for a pepperiness that contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the strawberries and candied nuts. You can use any mixed lettuce, and baby spinach would also be really good in this- a natural pairing to strawberries.
The candied pecans:
Nuts are essential to a salad in my humble opinion. If you have a nut allergy, feel free to ignore me or sub in some sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Toasted nuts really elevate the flavor, but if you want to go further, add some candied pecans to your strawberry salad. They are sweet and a little salty, crunchy and smoky. Delicious! And they come together in five minutes on the stovetop. Ridiculously easy. All you need to do is melt together sugar, water, cinnamon. You add the pecans, and toss to coat. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn pecans out onto parchment paper and let cool completely, then break apart. Congratulations, you just upped your salad game. And you don’t even need to turn on your oven. Thanks fifteen spatula’s for the recipe!
You can go crazy here! Honey mustard dressing, a balsamic vinaigrette, a citrus dressing, simple olive oil and salt and pepper. I have a favorite dressing that I tend to use anytime I’m making a green salad which you can find here. I used Agora food’s pomegranate balsamic dressing here and it worked so well, especially with the pomegranate seeds thrown in.
Strawberry Halloumi Salad with Candied Pecans
For the salad base:
- 150 g halloumi, sliced
- 1 cup ripe strawberries, sliced
- 4 cups salad greens, I used one box of arugula
- Handful pomegranate seeds
For the candied pecans:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 cup pecans
For the candied pecans:
- Combine the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and water in a skillet and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolved and mixture is bubbling.
- Add the pecan halves and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring to coat the pecans in the glaze.
- Remove pecans from the heat onto a piece of parchment or non stick paper, allow to col completely, then break pecans apart. Set aside.
For the salad:
- Drizzle a non stick pan with a little olive oil and heat on medium heat until hot
- Add sliced halloumi and grill on each side 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Set aside
- Assemble the salad by placing your washed salad greens in your serving bowl, topping with sliced strawberries, grilled halloumi, pomegranate seeds, and candied pecans.
- Serve with salad dressing. I used Agora's pomegranate balsamic glaze which worked perfectly but you can also use my go to salad dressing I linked in the notes.