Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Fried Halloumi
For as long as I live, I will be developing pasta salad recipes. They are just absolutely one of my favorite things to make. This recipe was inspired by my love of two things: 1. Alexis Bledel's character Lena in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants going to Greece and falling in love and 2. Halloumi. I love frying, grilling and searing halloumi. I decided that it neeeeeded to be put in a pasta salad, as I have never seen it done before. And since halloumi is a Mediterranean girl just like Lena, this salad made sense to me. I hope you fall in love with it, even if you cannot make it to Greece.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
1 8oz. box Banza gemelli*
1 8oz package of halloumi
1 cup seeded and diced cumber
1 cup halved kalamata olives
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced and diced
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves
1 cup arugula
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar from onions
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
*This recipe was developed for Banza, go-to chickpea pasta. You are welcome to use any brand of gemelli, as well as use any other shape of pasta you like! I love using 8 oz of pasta here, but you can easily use a full pound of pasta, just double everything in the recipe so the ratios stay the same!
WHAT YOU'LL DO:
I am giving this recipe to you step-by-step - it comes together so easily!
Marinate onions: Place red onion in a small bowl and submerge in red wine vinegar. Let sit, uncovered, for the length of the rest of the recipe to allow the onions to marinate.
Fry Halloumi: Place a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Slice halloumi into 1/8 inch thick pieces, lengthwise. Place slices into pan and fry them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are deeply browned. Place fried slices on to a plate to cool down.
Cook Pasta: Add pasta to pot with boiling water and season generously with kosher salt. Cook according to package directions. Strain pasta and spread it out on a tray to cool down.
Make Dressing: Add olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard and honey to a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Add kosher salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
Assemble Salad: Add cooled pasta, cooled halloumi, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, marinated onions (strained), mint leaves and dressing to bowl and mix to combine.
Refrigerate: Cover bowl and place in fridge for minimum 4 hours. Overnight works well. The longer it sits the more the flavors develop!
Serve: Remove pasta salad from fridge, add in arugula and toss to combine. Enjoy!