A cool tomato cucumber salad meets warm, fried halloumi cheese.
Summer salads rejoice! This recipe for herby tomato cucumber salad with warm, pan-fried halloumi cheese combines salty and fresh, warm and cold, for an easy, truly delicious side.
Tomato cucumber salad recipes always taste good. Something about the cool crunch of fresh cucumbers and the sweet juiciness of ripe summer tomatoes makes a perfect flavor combination.
But this tomato cucumber halloumi salad recipe goes one step further. It layers fresh herbs, a little citrus, and warm, salty pan-fried halloumi cheese for a dynamic dish that layers temperatures, flavors, and textures all at once.
The result is an easy summer salad that is an absolute must-eat.
What Is Halloumi Cheese?
Halloumi is a fresh, firm but springy cheese. Halloumi can be made from cow, milk, or sheep’s milk. Halloumi originated in Cyprus, a small, independent island state in the Mediterranean. Cyprus is closest to Greece in culture, but geographically closest to Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria.
Halloumi is a salty cheese that is especially known for its high smoke point. It’s dense texture and high smoke point mean that it can be grilled or fried without melting.
How to Pan Fry Halloumi Cheese
Halloumi cheese is forgiving when cooked — to a point. This tomato cucumber salad with halloumi uses a pan-fry method to cook the cheese. To get a perfect golden-brown crust on your halloumi slices, make sure you follow these tips:
- Let the halloumi drain on paper towels for a few minutes and pat the cheese slices very dry. Absorbing the moisture before cooking will prevent spatter when the cheese fries in the oil.
- Cook the halloumi on medium-low, as you would a grilled cheese sandwich. If the temperature is too hot, the cheese will scorch and the inside will not become as tender as it otherwise could.
- Use enough oil to lightly coat the skillet. No more or less is necessary.
Tomato Cucumber Halloumi Salad: Recipe Notes
This tomato cuke salad tastes incredibly fresh, and comes together effortlessly.
- The halloumi cheese does cook quickly, so I recommend mixing the salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, olive oil, herbs, seasoning), then frying the cheese and adding that last before a final toss and serve.
- Cooking and adding the halloumi last ensures that the cheese will still be warm against the cool tomatoes and cucumbers. This difference in temperatures creates a more dynamic salad.
- This recipe calls for fresh mint, parsley, and a touch of oregano. But feel free to play around with other herbs like dill or chervil.
Finally, halloumi is very salty. Hence, I do not call for more than a touch of salt in the tomato-cucumber salad portion of the recipe, but feel free to add it to taste.
Enjoy this special — and especially fresh — summer salad.
Love those summer tomatoes and cucumbers? You’ll also love:
- Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad
- Cured Salmon and Cucumber Smørrebrød
- Melted Grape Tomato Bruschetta
- Greek Mediterranean Mezze Platter
Tomato Cucumber Halloumi Salad
- 8 ounces halloumi cheese, sliced into 1/2-inch thick strips
- 1 cup ripe cut tomatoes (halved grape tomatoes or 1 large heirloom tomato cut into 1-inch chunks works best)
- 3 Persian cucumbers or 1 smallish English hothouse cucumber, cut into a large dice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon fresh, flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped fine
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 12 turns fresh-cracked black pepper
- Pat the halloumi slices very dry with clean paper towels and let them drain on a paper towel-lined plate for about 5 minutes while you cut and prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Cut the tomatoes and cucumbers, chop the herbs, and toss the vegetables and herbs together in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the lemon juice, and the salt, sugar and black pepper. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.Tip: Halloumi cheese is very salty, so this portion of the salad relies on herbs for flavor instead of salt.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium low with the remaining olive oil, or enough to lightly coat the surface.
- Add the sliced halloumi, leaving space between each slice, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Depending on the size of the pan, you may need to pan-fry the cheese in batches, adding more oil as necessary.
- Check to see if any liquid has pooled in the bottom of the tomato cucumber salad, and if so, drain it. Add the fried halloumi to the tomato cucumber salad. Lightly toss and serve immediately.