Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Crispy Halloumi


A Mediterranean-inspired summer palate is all I seem to crave these days; bright whites and cool, crisp greens bring healthful and seasonal balance to extra hot temperatures. Meanwhile, I manage to gaze at halloumi cheese almost every time I grocery shop, wondering if it’d be worth the splurge. And so, to justify the halloumi purchase, I created a recipe based around it!

This pasta salad is a simple yet elevated winner for your pool party or family lunch. I used a chickpea-flour Banza pasta noodle, but any tubular shape will do. And while my version didn’t include red onion since I personally find it too strong to taste, I placed it into the recipe notes as an optional addition because I think it’d complement the dish beautifully!


Serves 8

1 8-ounce block fresh halloumi, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 box pasta (mezze rigatoni, penne, or rigate), cooked al dente
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cucumber, halved and sliced thin
2 roasted red pepper halves (from a can), rinsed and diced
2 ounces crumbled feta
1/4 red onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon aleppo pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Cook pasta in heavily salted water according to package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. While pasta is still warm, stir in lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and red wine vinegar so the pasta may begin to marinate. Set aside.

2. Heat remaining olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Place halloumi in a single layer in the pan, allowing to crisp, untouched, for at least 2 minutes. Keep an eye on the cheese so it does not burn! Once cheese easily comes off pan (if it’s still sticking, it’s still cooking), flip and cook two minutes more. Transfer halloumi to a paper towel-lined plate.

3. Add cucumber, red pepper, red onion, dill and basil, salt, pepper and oregano. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Toss in halloumi just before serving.