Warm Grilled Halloumi Orzo Salad
Despite its name, this beautiful, refreshing and super sturdy Warm Grilled Halloumi Orzo Salad is just as delicious eaten warm or cold, making it the perfect candidate for a light summer lunch, family picnic or BBQ among friends!
My daughter-in-law had an appointment with her tattooist last week and asked if I would tag along, for moral support, you know. I was more than happy to oblige: I just LOVE spending time at the studio, whether or not I’m the one getting inked. I just love the vibe there…
Plus, for some reason, it seems like I often get recipe ideas when I go there! This time was no exception. When came time for dinner, Dave — that’s the tattoo artist — whipped out this mouth-watering orzo salad, filled with all kinds of morsels of grilled halloumi, asparagus, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin seeds and arugula. Just one look at his dish and I knew I’d have to recreate this amazingness as soon as I could.
Funny thing is, when I actually got to whipping it up, I realized that it was a bit of a cross between two salads that I’d already come up with in the past: this Lemony Asparagus Orzo Salad and this Cucumber and Peas Orzo Salad with Grilled Halloumi. Well, let me tell you, it’s a totally brilliant union, and I’m glad that it came to be!
As delicious cold as it is in its warm state, this salad makes for a great side dish but totally qualifies as a meal on its own! It’s pretty sturdy too, so it can be made ahead of time, and it travels well (Dave had his in a Mason jar!) making it an ideal candidate for picnics and other social gatherings…
I’ve no doubt that you will love it as much as I did!
To start, 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, heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan set over medium heat; once hot, grill the slices of cheese until golden brown, about 1 minute per side; remove to a plate and set aside to cool slightly.
Next, add the onion, carrot and garlic to the pan and cook until slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes;
Then throw in the zucchini and asparagus and continue cooking for a minute or 2, until slightly browned and softened. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup; whisk vigorously until well combined and slightly emulsified. Then, slice the grilled halloumi into bite size pieces and set aside.
Place the drained orzo in a large mixing bowl and dump the slightly cooled veggies right in…
…followed with the pieces of grilled halloumi, thawed green peas, handful of arugula and pumpkin.
I find the best way to thaw frozen green peas is to place them in a sieve and rinse them under warm running water for about a minute, give ’em a good shake and then let them drip for a few seconds to rid them of excess water.
Pour that gorgeous dressing right on top of this pile of goodness…
Give the whole thing a gentle toss, until all the ingredients are well combined.
You can serve your salad immediately, or throw it in the fridge until ready to eat, as this salad is also excellent cold!
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a few days.
Warm Grilled Halloumi Orzo Salad
For the orzo salad
- 12.5 oz dry orzo
- 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 oz halloumi cheese, cut into 1/3" thick slices
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into quarter slices
- 5-6 spears asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed*
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- handful fresh arugula
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- the zest and juice of 1/2 large lemon
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp unpasteurized honey
- 1/2 tsp salt , I use Himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 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, heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan set over medium heat; once hot, grill the cheese slices until golden brown, about 1 minute per side; remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add the onion, carrot and garlic to the pan and cook until slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes; add the zucchini and asparagus and continue cooking for a minute or 2, until slightly browned and softened. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup; whisk vigorously until well combined and slightly emulsified. Set aside.
- Slice the grilled halloumi into bite size pieces and set aside.
- Combine the drained orzo, cooled veggies, grilled halloumi, thawed green peas, arugula and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss gently until well combined.
- Serve immediately; this salad is also excellent cold and leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a few days.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
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3 Comments on “Warm Grilled Halloumi Orzo Salad”
It sure is a pretty colorful salad. I had no idea what that cheese was at first. HA!! Until you said cheese later.