This Israeli couscous recipe with orange vinaigrette has got it goin’ on, my friends! The salad component combines grilled halloumi cheese, Israeli couscous, sautéed kale and a few other stars and makes for the absolute perfect make-ahead salad for all the Summer bbqs you’re gonna have!
Hey everyone! How was your weekend? We visited family for Mother’s Day, so that was nice and furry child gave me a beautiful calla lily; it’s this beautiful deep purple/burgundy colour. Reading the instructions on the card that came with it, after it finishes blooming the steams have to be cut back, it needs to be placed somewhere dark and the soil should be kept dry. Also, apparently, they are poisonous to kids and pets so have to keep it out of furry child’s way (not that he gets into any of that now anyway; he is too preoccupied with tearing the stuffing out of his toys, lol).
Guess what? I don’t know if you can recall, but in a previous post I talked about how I tried Kefir milk and it was so, well, not so nice to the taste buds. In my defence, though, when I poured myself a glass I thought I was pouring goat’s milk so I wasn’t expecting the sourness that is Kefir. Feel me? Anyhow, hubby loves that stuff so now it’s a regularly stocked item in our household. So this weekend in full mental awareness, I said I was going to give Kefir another try and I did; now, I didn’t tip the full bottle on my head and drink the whole thing, but I did take a little sip and, you know what, I didn’t hate it. Maybe all it takes is baby steps. I’m not a picky eater at all, but certain things I just can’t go there. I mean even the other week I cooked moose! I made moose bourguignon. Maybe it was the full bottle of wine (in the recipe, I mean), or the copious amount of herbs, or the fact that I served it on buttery mash, but the recipe was delicious. Perhaps I’ll blog that one day. We shall see 🙂 Anywho, onto this Israeli couscous recipe, shall we?
I made this Israeli couscous recipe as a side for a bbq hubby and I were having on a Saturday evening. The recipe yields a good amount and it can be eaten warm or cold. That was one of my favourite things about this recipe. I made the salad earlier in the day and just threw it in the fridge for when we were ready. All we had to do was grill the steaks and, voila, dinner!
For this recipe, I used Israeli couscous, but if you don’t have that on hand you can certainly use quinoa. Israeli couscous should be readily available, though, in your local grocery store and would totally recommend using that if you can. I just love the texture of it and it’s hearty enough to stand up again the kale and halloumi cheese.
What is Halloumi Cheese?
Halloumi cheese is a semi-hard, brined cheese that tastes kinda like mozzarella, but is salty like feta. It doesn’t melt easily, so it’s perfect for grilling. How awesome is that?! The texture is just out of this world and it has a saltiness to it that just adds so much oomph to a recipe. Then, to go ahead and grill it? Oh my goodness! Whoever thought of grilling cheese is a freaking genius. It took all my willpower not to stuff a big hunk of the cheese in my mouth after grilling it. So much willpower. Wait; give me a minute. I need to start dreaming about that cheese again……..ok…..I’m back 🙂
When you do grill the cheese, remove from the pan and let it cool slightly before cutting it into little cubes – and if one of those little cubes of cheese happens to land in your mouth before it lands in the salad, I can’t blame ya…you were just doing quality control, right 😉 ? I left the cheese in good sized cubes because I wanted it to stand out in the recipe and no one is going to complain about decent sized pieces of cheese; if they do, then you shouldn’t be friends with them anymore….just kidding, but seriously, you should re-evaluate your relationship 😀
As you all know, I’ve said again and again that I’m a huge fan of sweet/savory combos. There’s a lot of savory/salty flavours going on here in this salad with the kale, couscous and olives….so I paired it with an Orange Vinaigrette. It’s a simple vinaigrette with a touch of sweetness from orange zest and orange juice and goes perfectly with this Israeli Couscous Salad recipe with grilled halloumi.
This grilled halloumi salad is high on the flavour meter and guaranteed to be a recipe you’ll want to make again and again. On its own, it’s completely delicious, but also pairs well with fish or chicken for a satisfying dinner. There’s grape tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, olives and sunflower seeds in there too for a little crunch and texture. That deliciousness is then tossed in a simple Orange Vinaigrette so you know it’s gonna be good (and good for you).
I can tell you that this Israeli couscous recipe is now a favourite in our home and hope it will be in yours too. Have a great week everyone and chit chat again soon 🙂
Grilled Halloumi Cheese and Couscous Salad
Grilled Halloumi Cheese & Couscous Salad
- 4 cups Israeli couscous -cooked (I used a 340g package)
- 250 g halloumi cheese -cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 bunch kale -about 6 cups, loosely packed (torn into bite sized pieces)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes -halved
- 1/4 red onion -thinly sliced
- 1 pencil chili pepper -thinly sliced
- 8 black olives -pitted and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 tbsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- salt -pinch
- black pepper -pinch
Grilled Halloumi Cheese & Couscous Salad
- Cook couscous per package instructions. You want about 4 cups cooked. I used a 340 g package. Reserve.
- Meanwhile, starting with a cold pan on medium, cook cheese about 3-4 minutes per side until lightly browned. Remove from pan to let cool slightly and reserve for later use. Once cooled slightly you can cut into cubes.
- Next, in a nonstick pan on medium low on the stove top heat olive oil. Add kale, 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper and cook just until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Add kale to reserved couscous and stir to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients (along with reserved cheese) to kale and couscous mixture. Stir to combine. Pour the Orange Vinaigrette over the salad. Enjoy!
- In a small mason jar combine, all ingredients and shake to combine.
- The instructions for the box of couscous I had was to basically heat some oil in a pan, add couscous and lightly brown for a few minutes. Then add 2.5 cups of water. Bring up heat, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Turn off heat and rest for a couple of minutes. Just prepare couscous as per your package instructions before proceeding with the recipe.
- I prefer my salads to be lighter on the vinaigrette side, meaning I don't use a lot. If you prefer you can double the recipe for the vinaigrette and add as much as you prefer to the salad (any leftovers can be used for another dish).