watermelon salad with grilled halloumi

Watermelon Salad with Grains and Grilled Halloumi Cheese

The entire time I was making this I was singing Beyoncé lyrics to myself. When a lyric gets stuck in my head I just can’t think of anything else. “I been drinking watermelon” – insert watermelon emoji here. Maybe I will rename this my "Beyoncé salad." 

This is the perfect summer salad for your next BBQ; it combines sweet watermelon and corn with nutty grains, toasted walnuts and grilled halloumi cheese. Halloumi is a salty, briny cheese from Cyprus that has a similar texture to mozzarella. I love halloumi cheese or “grilling cheese” because it has a high melting point it can be grilled or fried without turning into a gooey mess, it becomes golden on the outside and is remains slightly rubbery on the inside.



For the chili vinaigrette:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon chili powder

kosher salt

black pepper


For the grains:

¼ cup quinoa

¼ cup farro

1¼ cup chicken stock


For the salad:

½ cup walnuts

6 ounces halloumi cheese, sliced lengthwise ½-inch thick*

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 ears of sweet corn, husked and kernels cut off the cob

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

4 ounces baby arugula

2 cups diced watermelon



For the chili vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper.


For the grains:

In a medium saucepan over medium heat bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the quinoa and farro, and cook on medium-low heat until the broth is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes. Fluff the grains with a fork and set aside.


For the salad:

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Preheat grill or griddle pan to medium-high. Brush the cheese with olive oil and grill, turning once, until lightly charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer to platter and let cool. 

In a large mixing bowl add corn, scallions, parsley, mint, walnuts, grain mixture and arugula. Using your hands, tear the halloumi into bite-size pieces; add to bowl and toss to combine. Add the dressing to the salad, two tablespoons at a time, as desired and toss to coat. Add the watermelon and toss again to combine.


Serves 4.


*Note: Halloumi cheese can be found at Greek markets, natural foods and specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets. If you can’t find halloumi cheese you can substitute queso blanco or paneer.


watermelon salad with grains and grilled halloumi

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