Sweet balsamic roasted figs layered over a bed of crispy halloumi cheese is a fantastic way to start any meal and get the taste buds salivating.
What Does Halloumi Taste Like?
Distinct salty flavours with a squeaky rubbery texture.
You say what?
That doesn’t sound appealing at all! Ha, true. Whilst there is no harm in eating raw halloumi, it doesn’t sound all that delicious. However when cooked, halloumi transforms. Crispy crust, deliciously creamy middle with strong savoury flavours. I find it very hard to resist, hence my love for halloumi cheese recipes of all kinds!
Can I Substitute Halloumi?
Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese that is traditionally made from goat and sheep’s milk but today more commonly from cow’s milk. Paneer cheese is the possibly the closest option as a substitute but with its unique flavours when cooked, I feel Halloumi is one of a kind.
For our vegan and plant-based friends, you can try with firm tofu but there are also dairy-free halloumi alternatives available at supermarkets.
How to Cook Halloumi?
For most of my halloumi salad recipes, I love to pan-fry my halloumi in a flat pan to get that beautiful golden crust. You can also put in on a griddle pan or even the barbeque at the same time when grilling meat or vegetables.
It’s super quick to cook. 1-2 minutes on both sides will do the trick. Halloumi doesn’t melt but will crisp up on the outside and soften to a more creamy texture on the inside.
Why I Love Balsamic Honey Roasted Figs and Halloumi Salad
I love blending contrasting flavours in one dish. And this fig salad recipe definitely delivers.
In one bite, you will taste the saltiness of halloumi layered with sweet yet sharp balsamic honey roasted figs and a good kick of peppery freshness with the rocket leaves. It’s so good!
And visually, it is stunning on the table. Double winner when it tastes and looks amazing.
During fig season when there is an abundance of figs, you can also roast an extra batch and store for later. (Don’t tell anyone I told you but balsamic honey roasted figs are also a perfect way to end the night over a very large scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream…shhhhh).
How to Make Balsamic Honey Roasted Figs and Halloumi Salad
Roast the Balsamic Figs
Growing up, our neighbours had a very healthy fig tree that hung over our fence so we often had it in my grandma’s soup. Yes, soup. You didn’t read that wrong. It adds a very sweet taste and is good for overall health, as my grandma would tell me.
A versatile fruit, figs can also be eaten fresh, stewed, roasted or preserved. Of course, I love it in salads but I do also love it simply drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar on a good cheese platter.
To roast the figs, first preheat oven to 200°C (400°C) and coat a medium size oven proof dish with butter.
Halve the figs and place them in a bowl where you add aged balsamic vinegar, honey and a good squeeze of lemon. Toss lightly to evenly coat the fruit. Place the figs cut side down in your dish plus any liquid from the mixture to roast in the oven. I always try to keep figs in one layer in the dish so they can cook properly.
Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes, then remove from oven and gently flip the figs to cut side up. I like to do this so there is further caramelisation on the top of the figs too. It gives it a deeper colour when cooked. Leave to roast for another 5 minutes or until is is caramelised to your liking. Then remove from oven to cool down.
Toast the Walnuts
Walnuts add a crunchy element to this salad and works well with balsamic honey syrup from the roasted figs.
Roughly chop walnuts and add to a small fry pan to dry toast over medium heat until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
Cooking the Halloumi
Many large supermarkets will stock a range of halloumi. They do vary in texture and saltiness so best to try a few different brands to find the one you love the most. Halloumi has a high melting point so it doesn’t melt when cooked. Instead it softens and the saltiness becomes more of a mellow savoury taste.
Cut the halloumi into thick slices and brush lightly with olive oil. Over medium high heat, place the halloumi in a large fry pan to cook. Fry for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and then flip over to fry the other side.
There is nothing quite like fried halloumi cheese. Absolutely delicious!
Layering and Dressing the Salad
On a large serving plate, lay a bed of rocket leaves before placing halloumi slices, then finally top with balsamic roasted figs evenly across the plate.
Drizzle salad with the balsamic honey syrup left in the oven dish from the figs and finish with extra virgin olive oil. If you feel there is not enough syrup from the dish, squeeze some lemon juice and add olive oil to deglaze the dish first.
Sprinkle toasted walnuts and serve.
This fig and halloumi salad is a great starter to a meal where you can serve with warm crusty bread. Or be a part of a sharing table filled with antipasto dishes, roast lamb, green beans and yoghurt dips. Great for entertaining with friends.
More Autumn Salad Recipes:
- Persimmon Salad with Candied Hazelnuts and Coconut
- Soba Noodle Salad with Pearl Oyster Mushrooms
- Chinese Cauliflower Salad with Shredded Chicken
- Risoni Salad with Hot Smoked Salmon and Crab
- Pomegranate, Barley and Freekeh Salad
Easy Salad Dressing Recipes:
Balsamic Roasted Figs and Halloumi Salad | The Devil Wears Salad
- Preheat oven 200°C or 400°F
- Coat a medium roasting dish with butter.
- In a mixing bowl, add figs, balsamic vinegar, honey and lemon juice together. Toss gently to ensure figs are fully coated with mixture.
- Place figs cut side down and line in roasting dish in one layer.
- Roast figs in oven for approx 15-20 minutes and then flip figs cut side up and continue to roast for another 5 minutes until caramelised to your liking. Balsamic honey mixture should become a thickened syrup.
- In a small fry pan, dry toast the chopped walnuts until warm and golden brown. Remove to cool down.
- Cut halloumi in thick slices and brush lightly with olive oil. Add the rest of the olive oil and fry halloumi slices in a large fry pan over medium heat for approximately 1-2 minutes each side or until golden brown.
- To assemble salad, start with a bed of rocket leaves on a large serving plate, then place pan-fried halloumi next and finally with figs dotted on top.
- Drizzle salad with balsamic honey syrup left in the roasting dish from the figs and finish with extra virgin olive oil.
- Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and serve.
- Great dish for as a starter with warm bread.
- You can use aged balsamic vinegar instead of balsamic glaze.
- For vegan/plant-based friendly version, halloumi can be substituted for tofu or dairy-free version available in supermarkets.
- Balsamic Honey Roasted figs can be used in many other ways like over ice-cream/yoghurt as a dessert or with goat’s cheese and crackers as an appetizer.