A vegetarian spin on panzanella. This simple dinner salad features grilled halloumi cheese and cumin-pumpernickel croutons tossed in a lime vinaigrette. Love fresh herbs? This recipe is a great way to highlight them. Try a combo of basil, mint, dill and cilantro.
Not familiar with panzanella? It’s a salad that features cubes of crusty bread tossed with a vinegar based dressing. Check out my Simple Summer Panzanella post to learn more. Halloumi is the perfect substitute for meat in this panzanella.
Halloumi. It’s Cheese.
Not familiar with halloumi? It’s a totally under-utilized cheese. It’s the cheese that you can grill without melting it. Read my post Halloumi Cheese. It’s What’s For Dinner. Salty and squeaky to bite, very hearty. You won’t miss the meat at all. It’s super versatile.
Picky About Pumpernickel?
Don’t love pumpernickel? How about substituting a good traditional rye bread! Leave the cumin seeds out if your rye has caraway seeds. Alternatively, an olive bread or rosemary garlic would also be good options.
The key with halloumi panzanella (or any panzanella) is to get the croutons nice and crispy first. Then, when you toss with the vinaigrette, they soften up just a touch without getting soggy.
It’s a good idea to keep some of the bread to the side and not toss it all at once. The rest of the halloumi panzanella can be refrigerated and then brought to room temp the next day. Re-heat the bread in the oven for a few minutes before tossing.
Pumpernickel Bread Croutons
- 1.5 cups pumpernickel bread chunks, ideally already stale
- olive oil cooking spray
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small red chile pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 medium red pepper, sliced
- 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into half moons
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 pkg halloumi cheese
- 1 handful mixed fresh herbs (basil/mint/cilantro/dill), chopped
Make the Pumpernickel Croutons
- Preheat oven to 325°. Cut bread into 2-inch chunks, place in a baking dish in a flat layer. Spray with olive oil cooking spray and toss. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin seeds. Toss again. Bake 7-10 minutes until golden. (if using fresh bread it may take a little longer to be totally dry). Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a large serving bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, olive oil and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced red onion, chile pepper, red pepper, cucumber and avocado. Set aside.
- Heat a cast iron grill pan to medium high. Slice the halloumi into 1/2 thick slices. Spray the pan with olive oil cooking spray and sear the halloumi about 3 minutes per side until golden with grill marks.
- Add the halloumi and bread to the serving bowl. Toss well until all bread is coated. Add a handful of fresh herbs, toss again. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.