Loaded Mediterranean Salad with Homemade Vegan Halloumi Cheese

Food Stories is a new column in which Best of Vegan community members share recipes from their cultures and personal stories connected to those dishes. Today, Noha Elbadry-Cloud of @leeksnbeets shares her recipe for Loaded Mediterranean Salad with Homemade Vegan Halloumi Cheese.

This recipe was featured in Noha’s profile for the new weekly BIPOC Portraits series by Val and Mani Latifi, where they interview vegan creators and shed light on the unique challenges BIPOCs face in making the decision to embrace veganism. Click here to see the full article.

Loaded Mediterranean Salad with Homemade Vegan Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi cheese to Middle Eastern cuisine is kind of like what mozzarella is to Italian cuisine, and fried halloumi is like a Middle Eastern version of mozzarella sticks. It’s one of the very few cheeses I was unable to find vegan versions of at grocery stores and one that I have incredibly fond memories of. This recipe for fried halloumi is the product of many trials (a few of which were catastrophic failures) at creating a vegan version just as delicious and comforting.

In this salad: A base of baby spinach and spring mix topped with ribboned cucumber, chopped red onion, crinkle-cut steamed beets, halved sweet mini bell peppers, halved black cherry tomatoes, sliced manzanilla olives, crispy black beans, and chickpeas seasoned with shawarma spice blend, hemp seeds, radish microgreens, and homemade vegan halloumi all drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

Published with permission from @leeksnbeets.

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Loaded Mediterranean Salad with Homemade Vegan Halloumi Cheese

Loaded Mediterranean Salad with Homemade Vegan Halloumi Cheese


Ingredients

Scale

VEGAN HALLOUMI CHEESE

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, then drained
  • 1 cup cold water
  • ¼ cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp agar agar
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup neutral oil for frying
  • 2 pumps non-stick oil spray (optional but recommended)

Instructions

  1. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick oil. Set aside.
  2. In a high-speed food processor, combine together all the ingredients aside from the oil for frying. Pulse until completely smooth.
  3. Transfer the cheese mixture to a sauce pan and heat on medium-low, whisking the whole time until mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Once mixture begins to clump, continue whisking 1 more minute. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to your prepped sheet pan. Spread into a single even layer.
  5. Place cheese in your freezer and let set at least 30 minutes, or until ready to use.
  6. Once ready to cook the halloumi, heat up the neutral oil in a skillet (I used a textured grilling cast iron one).
  7. Take out the cheese and cut into whatever shape you desire. I used a round cookie cutter. Return any leftovers you’re not cooking right away to the freezer.
  8. Fry until golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side, and enjoy!

Notes

To make it a salad: Use a base of baby spinach and spring mix topped with ribboned cucumber, chopped red onion, crinkle-cut steamed beets, halved sweet mini bell peppers, halved black cherry tomatoes, sliced manzanilla olives, crispy black beans, and chickpeas seasoned with shawarma spice blend, hemp seeds, radish microgreens, and homemade vegan halloumi all drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

Find more of Naha’s recipes at @leeksnbeets.

Text, recipe & photography by Noha Elbadry-Cloud (@leeksnbeets).

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Loaded Mediterranean Salad with Homemade Vegan Halloumi Cheese

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