Grilled Halloumi + Peaches with Arugula, Jalapeños and a Honey Lemon Vinaigrette is a simple summer meal that's fresh, healthy and absolutely delicious! Salty Halloumi cheese turns crispy and melty on the grill, making it a perfect pair for the jammy, sweet charred peaches. A hefty mound of arugula, spicy jalapeños and a sweet and tangy honey lemon vinaigrette bring it all together for an awesome gluten free, vegetarian salad that's great for dinner, lunch or even brunch!
I know I have a good recipe when my mouth won't stop watering as I edit the photos. I've been making grilled Halloumi + peaches all summer long, and it's about time I shared it with you.
What is Halloumi?
Halloumi is a Greek sheep's milk cheese that comes from the island of Cyprus and I've been pretty obsessed with it ever since our trip to Greece last summer. It has a salty, milky flavor and a firm texture that is known for squeaking between your teeth in the most delightful way. Halloumi has the unique ability to be grilled or pan fried while still holding its shape and not turning to goo or melting between the grates. It gets crispy on the edges, but stays soft in the middle and takes on a wonderful toasty flavor. It's really fun to eat!
Where can you buy Halloumi?
Halloumi can be tough to find depending on where you live and the time of year. None of my local supermarkets carry it, so I often stock up whenever I can track it down. Trader Joes carries it, but you can only find it in the summertime - which I learned the hard way. It's available at Whole Foods, as well as many cheese shops and other specialty markets. I've heard that Aldi sometimes carries it, although I've never seen it there myself.
What can I substitute for Halloumi?
If you can't find Halloumi, there are some other cheeses that will work in this recipe. Bread cheese is a well known grilling cheese, Queso Panela grills up well, as does Queso Fresco and Paneer. If you have any specialty European markets in your area, stop in to see if they carry something similar to Halloumi. There are many small European and Mediterranean countries that produce their own version of a grilling cheese. For anyone that lives locally in my area, the Brigantine Freshery carries a Turkish cheese called "gill cheese" that works wonderfully in this recipe. It's a delicious cheese and the shop owners are lovely people!
Use the Best Peaches
Like so many seasonal dishes, this recipe works best when you use flavorful, in-season peaches that have a nice balance of sweetness and tang. Here in New Jersey, peaches are in season from about June to September, depending on the year, so this is definitely a summer recipe. I've made it with both white peaches and yellow peaches and it's delicious with both. You can also substitute nectarines or even apricots if they look better at the market.
How to Grill Peaches
They key to successfully grilling peaches is to make sure the grill grates are clean and well oiled. If the grill grates aren't well oiled, the peaches will stick and you won't achieve that beautiful charred crust. It's also important to toss the peaches with olive oil before grilling for extra non-stick insurance. You want the grill to be at a solid medium-high heat to give the peaches nice char without overcooking them. I also always grill peaches with the lid open so that they retain a semi-firm texture. If you close the grill and let them cook more they will turn soft and mushy.
How to Grill Halloumi
The key to grilling halloumi is also having the grill grates well oiled and coating the cheese with oil before grilling, just like with the peaches. You can let it get as much or as little char as you like. Personally, I like it when it gets extra crispy on the outside.
Serve with a Sweet + Spicy Arugula Salad
The arugula and jalapeños tossed with a honey lemon vinaigrette is inspired by the arugula salad at Steve and Cookie's, one of my favorite local restaurants. The hint of spice with the sweet dressing and peppery arugula makes the perfect base for the crispy Halloumi and charred peaches. It's SO good!
I know it's been a while since I've posted - it's been a crazy summer for us... for everyone, actually - but a summer filled with delicious food, nonetheless. I'm glad you're still here with me and I hope you give this recipe a try! More from me soon. <3
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