So it’s finally warming up here in the UK, and that means its time to fuel my body with nutritious salads and smoothies. (okay, maybe there’s room for a few brownies too!) One salad I’m loving at the moment is this vegan tofu ‘halloumi’ salad.
Yes, you read that correctly: VEGAN HALLOUMI.
What is halloumi?
Halloumi is a dense and salty cheese often used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is cooked in a frying pan, where it takes on a beautiful golden hue and rich flavour. It is cheese like no other cheese, and it was my weakness during my vegetarian days.
Naturally, I had to veganize it, and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you!
How to make vegan tofu halloumi:
Making your own vegan alternative to halloumi at home couldn’t be easier. To substitute the dense and chewy texture of halloumi, I’m using tofu (where would I be without tofu?!?). You’ll want to use the firmest tofu you can find, to mimic the chewiness of halloumi. Don’t even THINK about buying silken tofu – it’s far too wet, which would result in a sticky mess in your frying pan. Not cool.
It’s also a good idea to press your tofu to make it even firmer. If you are in a pinch, you can skip this step and it will still taste good, but it just won’t feel as good. The easiest way to press tofu is by placing the block on a chopping board, putting a plate on top, and then a heavy weight/book atop the plate. Leave this for about 30 minutes, and your tofu is now one step closer to becoming gorgeous vegan halloumi!
Okay, so now we have something that feels like halloumi. But what about the taste? Halloumi has a characteristically salty, creamy, cheesy flavour. Lucky for us, tofu has a characteristically bland flavour, making it the perfect vessel for a variety of tasty seasonings. For this vegan halloumi recipe, I made a quick marinade from:
- Sunflower oil for richness
- Lime juice for tartness (cheese is a little sour in flavour)
- Nutritional yeast for cheesiness (yes, that is a real word ;))
- Salt for saltiness
When these four ingredients combine with the tofu, something magical happens. And once you add your vegan halloumi to a frying pan, something unbelievable happens! The tofu becomes gloriously crispy golden brown, whilst the insides of the tofu halloumi become chewy, creamy and salty. SWOON.
Ingredients for the perfect spring salad:
You didn’t think I was just going to stop with the halloumi, did you? As well as enjoying this vegan tofu halloumi with falafel and hummus, I love letting it take centre stage in this gorgeous spring salad.
When it comes to salads, I like to keep things pretty simple so each individual ingredient can shine. Here’s what we’ve got going on in this baby:
I used spinach in this easy spring salad, but any of your favourite salad greens will do. Though keep in mind, the darker the leaf, the more nutrients!
2. Sugar snap Peas.
These sweet green peas are the epitome of spring, and have a delightful crunch which contrasts the chewiness of the vegan halloumi. No need to cook the peas – they are crunchiest and sweetest when raw. Which is pretty good news if you ask me, as it means this salad comes together super quickly!
3. Purple sprouting broccoli.
I was beyond excited to find purple sprouting broccoli in the supermarket last week. (Yes, I’m that person!) I like to steam the broccoli in the microwave for a few minutes. It doesn’t take long at all as purple sprouting broccoli is a lot smaller than regular broccoli. Be sure to trim off any woody ends from the broccoli stems before cooking, or else your jaws will be in for a good workout!
If you don’t like broccoli, you could sub another of your favourite vegetables instead. Some roasted carrots or sliced cucumber would work well. Get creative depending on what’s in season!
You are probably thinking ‘pomegranate? on salad?!’ but hear me out, friends. Once you have tried pomegranate on your salad, you will never eat a salad sans pomegranate ever again. These ruby jewels bring sweetness and freshness to this easy halloumi salad. Not to mention that the whole sweet/ salty combo is to DIE FOR.
If you cannot find pomegranate where you live, you could sub raisins instead.
5. Tahini dressing
Okay, I know we’ve already got a fair bit going on with this salad. It’s pretty epic, I agree with you. But this tahini dressing just takes things to the next level! Tahini is essentially peanut butter but with sesame seeds. It has a mild nutty flavour and is delightfully creamy, which makes it the perfect addition to salad dressings (amongst other things, like a tablespoon headed for my mouth!)
To make this super easy tahini salad dressing, simply mix together creamy tahini, fresh lime juice and water until the dressing has reached your desired consistency. Then drizzle atop your halloumi salad and enjoy!
How to make vegan tofu halloumi salad:
There’s a few steps to making this salad, but it’s so worth it for the result. It starts by preparing the vegan tofu halloumi. Meanwhile, trim and microwave the broccoli until it’s tender. Prep the veggies, make the dressing, then bring the whole salad together!
Then sit in the garden and enjoy this colourful salad, because you deserve it.
A few notes:
- Leftovers, if there are any, can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoyed the next day.
- If you don’t have tahini, you could use any other nut/seed butter with a neutral flavour. Peanut butter would be too overpowering, unfortunately, but save some for your brownies!
- If you are prepping the salad ahead of time, keep the dressing in a separate container and drizzle it on just before serving to keep the vegetables crisp.
I hope you try this recipe! If you do, I’d love for you to tag me on Instagram @shivanilf so I can see how it goes. You can also keep updated with me on Facebook and Pinterest – I hope to see you there!
More tofu recipes:
Vegan Tofu ‘Halloumi’ Salad
For the vegan halloumi:
- 1/2 Lime juiced
- 2 teaspoons Nutritional Yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Sunflower Oil
- 200 grams Firm Tofu
For the salad:
- 100 grams Purple Sprouting Broccoli
- 2 handfuls Sugar Snap Peas
- 1 Pomegranate seeded
- 2 handfuls Spinach
For the tahini dressing:
- 1 tablespoon Tahini
- 1/4 Lime juiced
- 1 tablespoon Water add more/less depending on desired consistency
- Prepare the halloumi marinade by mixing together the lime juice, nutritional yeast, salt and sunflower oil in a shallow bowl.
- Slice the tofu into 0.5 cm thick slices. You should get 8-10 pieces from 200 grams of tofu.
- Dip the tofu slices in the marinade and cook in a dry frying pan over medium low heat until golden on both sides. (you will not need any oil as the marinade contains oil already)
- Meanwhile, divide the spinach between two serving bowls. Halve the sugar snap peas and divide them between the bowls.
- Trim the woody ends off the broccoli. Add to a medium-sized microwaveable bowl filled about 3 cm high with water. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until vibrant and tender. Rinse under cold water to stop the broccoli cooking.
- Add the broccoli to the salad bowls, along with the pomegranate seeds and tofu halloumi.
- Prepare the tahini salad dressing by mixing together the tahini and lime juice in a small bowl. Gradually add water until the dressing has reached your desired consistency. Serve with the salad!
- For a firmer ‘halloumi’, press the tofu between two plates with a book on top for about 30 minutes, to remove excess water.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoyed the next day.
- If you are prepping this salad ahead, store the dressing in a separate container to the salad, to keep the vegetables crisp. Simply drizzle on the dressing before serving!
- If you don’t have tahini, you could use any neutral nut/seed butter.