This watermelon salad recipe combines fresh fruit tossed with arugula, corn, halloumi cheese with farro and quinoa in a lemon vinaigrette.
This is the perfect summer salad for your next BBQ; it combines sweet watermelon and corn with nutty grains, toasted walnuts and 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.
Halloumi – Halloumi cheese can be found at Greek markets, natural foods, specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets like Whole Foods. If you can’t find halloumi cheese you can substitute paneer. The halloumi can also be made on the grill and until lightly charred in spots and torn into bite sized pieces.
Farro – Farro is an ancient grain. It looks similar to cooked grains of brown rice and has a nutty, complex taste. Italians use it in place of rice to create risottos and it tastes great added to salads. I use it in combination with quinoa for added texture and flavor though one or the other can be used.
Quinoa – Quinoa is a whole grain cooked similar to rice. I cook the grains in chicken broth for added flavor but you can substitute water or vegetable broth in a pinch. There are a few different types but white quinoa is the most common.
How to Make Watermelon Salad with Grains and Halloumi
For the chili vinaigrette:
Whisk the vinaigrette. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper.
For the grains:
Boil broth. In a medium saucepan over medium heat bring the chicken broth to a boil.
Cook the grains. 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.
To assemble the salad:
Toast walnuts. Heat a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the walnuts and shake the pan continuously until toasted and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Remove to a bowl, let cool, then coarsely chop.
Cook the halloumi. Return nonstick sauté pan to medium-high heat. Brush the cheese with olive oil and cook, turning once, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer to platter and let cool.
Mix the salad. In a large mixing bowl add corn, scallions, parsley, mint, walnuts, grain mixture and arugula.
Add cheese. Using your hands, tear the halloumi into bite-size pieces. Next, add to bowl and toss to combine.
Assemble and serve. 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.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this watermelon arugula salad recipe, I recommend checking out some of these: