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Do you know what differentiates this salad from just another one of my halloumi salads? Lime maple dressing, that’s what.
Lime maple dressing, AND the fact that I am including a vegan version of my beloved halloumi. I haven’t attempted to reinvent the wheel, or the halloumi, but it’s nice to give people options. It’s also nice that a tofu based version of this salad tastes as seamlessly good as a halloumi version. And I am incredibly biased (towards halloumi.)
I LOVE LIME (MAPLE DRESSING)
Shall we chat about the lime maple dressing, then? It really is low investment, high reward. By cooking down a mixture of lime juice, maple syrup and salt, a tangy, sweet and altogether delightful syrup is formed. You can use it as a salad dressing, a roasting syrup, or even on pancakes! The world is your sweet and/or savoury oyster.
In need of some homes for your lime maple dressing? Say no more, fam. I got you. A tangy alternative to plain old maple on the grain free bircher muesli? A dairy free alternative to roasted carrots, perhaps?
The salad itself, dressing aside, is easy whip up, and perfect for the summer months. Citrus gives a nice contrast to creamy, rich halloumi, and Thai basil makes a striking change to the regular ol’ herb varietals. That said, if you’re struggling to find Thai basil, you could substitute with regular basil or coriander instead, depending on the flavour profile you want.
So I mentioned that thing about a vegan option, yeah? Yeah. It’s not vegan halloumi, because I thought I’d keep it simple (spoiler alert: it’s tofu)
Basically, just halve the tofu and batter quantity of this recipe here (just the tofu part, obviously) and follow instructions until the tofu is fried. If you don’t want to use vodka (it will change the way you think of crispy tofu, but I digress) just use water. Slice the tofu as you would halloumi, just by the way.
Once you have your tofu pieces, you can repeat the method as per the instructions for halloumi, or just drizzle the glaze over, because why create extra work for yourself.
Lime maple glazed halloumi salad with citrus, cucumber ribbons, Thai basil and crushed peanuts
For the lime maple glaze:
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 225 g or one pack, they vary a little unflavoured halloumi, sliced
For the salad:
- 2 oranges peeled and sliced
- 2 ruby grapefruits peeled and sliced
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers mandolined lengthways or finely sliced lengthways
- 1 bunch of Thai basil
- Handful of toasted and crushed peanuts
- Sea salt flakes and freshly cracked white pepper to taste
- Neutral flavoured oil to drizzle (peanut is good with this flavour profile)
- Combine the lime juice and maple syrup in a small saucepan over a low medium heat, and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring intermittently, until a syrup forms. It should be golden in colour. Season well, and remove from the heat before allowing to cool.
- Once cooled, place the halloumi slices in the syrup, and move them about to combine. Leave them sit for 10-15 minutes.
- While you’re waiting, prepare the salad by adding the ingredients to a large bowl. Save some Thai basil and peanuts to garnish, and gently toss the rest in a bowl.
- To cook the halloumi, heat a nonstick pan over a medium high heat, and give it a little spray of oil. Shake each piece of halloumi to get rid of excess glaze, before putting them in the pan two at a time. Watch them very carefully – because they have a sweet glaze on them, they’re far more likely to burn. If in doubt, flip them – ugly halloumi is better than burnt halloumi.
- To assemble, layer the citrus and cucumber on a large serving plate. Top with the halloumi, remaining Thai basil and crushed peanuts, sea salt and white pepper, and a good drizzle of the leftover glaze. Serve while warm.