Cherry And Halloumi Salad with Quinoa and Snap Peas
Why we love it:
- 11⁄2 cups Quinoa
- 2 cups Water
- 1⁄4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Honey
- 1⁄3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil - divided
- 1 package Halloumi Cheese (8 oz. package)
- 1 cup Cherries (Fresh) or ½ cup dried
- 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt - divided
- 1 Lemon
- 2 Tablespoons Tarragon - chopped
- 3⁄4 pound Sugar Snap Peas - destrung
Place the quinoa, water and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium pot and stir. Set over medium high heat and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, stir well and turn down the heat to a steady simmer. Cook for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small jar, place the vinegar, dijon, honey, ½ teaspoon of salt, and all but 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil. Shake it until the dressing emulsifies, is well combined. (Alternatively, whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.)
Trim the snap peas by removing the string from each pod. To do this, start from the woody stem end and peel the string along the concave top of the pod. Sometimes it’s easier to use a paring knife to help hold onto the string. It’s also possible you have stringless peas - so if the pods seem tender and there’s no string to pull, you don’t even have to trim them!
Stack a few peas and slice them on a diagonal. Set aside.
Remove the halloumi from the package and decide how you’ll cut it. I like to slice it into ⅓-½ inch thick planks. Then cut it in half to make squares, and one final slice on an angle to make mostly even triangles.
Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel. Use a large non-stick saute pan and drizzle in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and when it’s hot and shimmering, add in the halloumi in one layer. Once you lay a slice down, try not to move it. Let this side cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is beautifully golden brown on the bottom.
Flip when it’s ready and cook on the other side.
Return to the quinoa, and stir it well. Turn down to medium low and cover the pan. Set the timer for 10 more minutes.
If using fresh cherries, cut the pit out. Either: Use a cherry pitter then slice each in half; or lightly press the cherries between your palm and a clean cutting board. They will crack open enough to let the pits easily side out, then you can slice them in half. Set cherries aside.
When both sides of the cheese are golden, remove the cheese to a plate. To the pan, add the last Tablespoon of olive oil and when it’s hot, add the peas and a pinch of salt. Saute over medium high heat, stirring occasionally for about 3-4 minutes. The peas should be bright green and crisp tender. Turn off the heat.
Zest the lemon over the top of the seared cheese (reserve lemon juice for another recipe this week) and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Remove the lid on the quinoa, stir in half of the dressing, the cherries and the snap peas. Toss to combine and taste it. Add more dressing to taste.
Plate quinoa evenly in large bowls. Top with the cheese. Drizzle a little more dressing overtop if desired. Chop or tear tarragon and sprinkle over the top.