This halloumi pomegranate salad is your ticket to the perfect holiday meal.
It’s the best starter salad EVER. Full of incredibly flavorful ingredients. Like salted honey roasted walnuts, pomegranate arils, halloumi croutons and spiced orange vinaigrette.
Yep. Give me a huge plate right this second please.
I’m pretty sure you guys know how I feel about salad on Thanksgiving. You even know how my family feels about salad on Thanksgiving. We can make it and serve it but it mostly goes untouched. There are just so many good, nostalgic, classic dishes to be had and honestly? Sometimes salad just can’t even fit on the plate!
However, I’ll admit – as I’ve gotten older, I actually LIKE some salad on Thanksgiving. I know.
I KNOW. Can you believe this is the same blog? Oh my gosh, it’s crazy.
But it’s also true – I do like some greens on Thanksgiving. Makes me feel better about myself and life in general and alllll the stuffing I consume for 48 hours.
The kicker, though? I don’t want that salad to take up much space. On my plate OR in my stomach. I want a bit of salad, but just a light portion that doesn’t fill me up completely so I can still enjoy the million other side dishes tossed about in the kitchen.
It’s my favorite way to make a plate!
So I’m verrrry excited to tell you that this is theeeee Thanksgiving salad. Or heck, Christmas salad. Or, I mean, any starter salad to a heartier meal from the months of October to March. Let’s just get that out of the way.
Last year I shared a Thanksgiving salad that was heartier – think squash, apple chips, blue cheese – lots of filling components. And all delicious ones, I may add!
But this year? I went even simpler. This salad is SO simple. I mean, sure, in true Jessica fashion, there are a few parts that are high-maintenance. Like you actually have to make salted honey roasted walnuts (um omg yes) and sear some halloumi in a skillet for it all to come together. But still – SIMPLE.
It’s really just a simple greens salad where the tangy, bright pop of the pomegranate sticks out. An ideal plate would be loaded with greens and pom arils, a sprinkle of walnuts and one halloumi crouton on top. Not that I can ever have JUST ONE halloumi crouton, but you get my drift. If you’re trying to keep things light and all.
The dressing is a spiced orange vinaigrette that frankly tastes like how the most fantastic holiday scented candle smells. Don’t let that freak you out.
It has a hint of spiced, freshly squeeze orange juice and zest, and it’s festive AF (isn’t that what the kids say?) for the last few months of the year. It’s super delicious!
You can make the components of this salad ahead of time, though some people like freshly fried halloumi. But if you’re in a pinch and (like me) making 14 other dishes on Thanksgiving day, attempting like mad to serve them all warm at once, you can totally do it.
There is so.much.flavor.
Pomegranate Halloumi Salad
Yield: 4 people
A pomegranate halloumi salad that’s the perfect starter to your holiday meal! Drizzle with a spiced orange vinaigrette for the most festive flavor ever.
- ¾ cup raw walnuts
- 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 (8 ounce) block halloumi cheese, sliced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 8 cups spring greens + arugula mix
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ⅔ cup pomegranate arils
spiced orange vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1 shallot diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the walnuts in a bowl. Whisk together the honey and cinnamon and pour it over the walnuts, tossing multiple times to coat each one. Spread the walnuts on the baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing once or twice, until fragrant and golden. Remove the walnuts from the oven and let them cool.
While the walnuts are roasting, make the halloumi. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the halloumi dry with a paper towel. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the skillet. Add the halloumi and cook until golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the halloumi and place it on a plate. I like to cut the halloumi slices in half so they resemble croutons! If you want the halloumi to be warm when serving, you can assemble the salad first!
Place the greens in a large bowl and toss with the salt and pepper. Add on the pomegranate seeds, walnuts and halloumi. Drizzle with the orange dressing and serve.
spiced orange vinaigrette
Whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, honey, mustard, orange zest, shallot, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. This keeps great in the fridge for a few days!
And it’s pretty too! Autumn jewels!