Growing up in Karachi it seemed to me that all of my friends ate more or less the same food my family did. Except for one. My friend A has a Syrian grandmother and thanks to that influence the food at her house was always so different and so darned good. I shamelessly invited myself not only to her house, but to her grandmothers on more than one occasion because I simply could not get enough of the clean bright flavors. Everything was no muss no fuss delicious. I suspect the novelty of it made it seem even more delicious because once I was telling her something was really good and she said "it's just aalu gosht with no masala for Godssake!"
Clearly she didn't appreciate it as much as I did.
This warm spinach salad is one of her family recipes. The lemony garlicky spinach provides the perfect base for some lovely healthy winter flavors. The bright pomegranate seeds and the toasted walnuts provide flavor and crunch that is perfectly complemented by pieces of pan seared halloom (my addition). For those of you unfamiliar with it Halloom is a salty firm Arab cheese that lends itself well to grilling or searing as the insides melt, but the outside will turn a lovely crispy brown while still holding shape. It is now commonly available in most grocery stores in Toronto much to the delight of Zara, my 4 year old Halloom fiend.
This salad comes together quickly and is infinitely adaptable. Just use the spinach as a base and add whatsoever your heart desires. I imagine it would be equally good with some feta or goat cheese and I happen to know it is yummy without any cheese at all. We usually have prefried onions in the pantry (readily available and they keep well), but if you don't then you are welcome to make your own or omit them entirely.
Warm Spinach & Pomegranate Salad
Serves 2 as a side
1lb spinach, washed, cleaned, picked over
4-6 cloves garlic roughly chopped
Generous handful of fried crispy onions
1-2 tbsp toasted walnuts (for quick toasting use a clean dry frying pan)
⅓ cup (approx) pomegranate seeds
half a lemon for squeezing over
two 1 cm thick slices of halloom
1 tbsp of olive oil
Wash your spinach, break off any tough stalks, roughly chop and set aside to dry. Roughly chop the garlic as well.
Heat a large clean dry frying pan (or saucepan) on medium high heat and add your walnuts, keep moving them around till evenly toasted. Remove from the pan, wipe the pan and put back on the burner. Dice your halloom into 1 cm pieces and place in the pan, gently turn over after it sears to a crispy golden brown (1-2 minutes). Remove from the pan when both sides are done. Now wipe the pan off and add your olive oil and garlic. Just as the garlic starts to soften add your spinach and move it around gently until it wilts. Squeeze over the lemon juice and add a little salt if you wish. Add in half the onions, half the pomegranate and mix. Now the fun begins.
Plate your spinach, top with the remaining onions and pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle over the walnuts and finally the crispy salty chewy halloom. Dig in.
Heidie Makes says
Looks yummy! 🙂
I will be honest: I am not much of a salad person. Somehow I usually feel a little unsatisfied after eating one (even if it is full of protein or carbs) But this salad is a different thing all together. What a beautiful dish!! And yum I do adore a bit of halloumi!
Same here afra - I must admit though I ate this one all by myself ... oops 🙂
What a gorgeous salad! Love this combination.
My husband absolutely loves halloumi, I often make stuff with it for him. I'd love to try something with pomegranate seeds too as I think they'd go really well with it, unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any here
Oh what a bummer - I am a pomegranate fiend and so are my girls. Perhaps you can use a berry (chopped or whole) for contrast?
My husband & I love pomegranate, too! Just one of those [numerous] things you can't get your hands on here & fiercely miss. Thanks for the suggestion! I think cranberries or something similar would go nicely but unavailable here as well. Actually, I am going to make something with halloumi & apples. Obviously very different but I think he'll love it 🙂
Asiya @ Chocolate & Chillies says
Love this! I've been looking for new salads to try..pinning this! Love the picture too 🙂
*bow bow* big compliment coming from you - thanks!
love in the kitchen says
oh my goodness - this is gorgeous. I'll make this for sure.
looks great Sarah.
I've been so curious about Halloumi! I've seen it advertised as the grilling cheese, but I never had the guts to buy it, lol.
Lovely presentation my friend!
Thanks Henna 🙂 I really like it, it can be a little too salty some times but if you store it in water that leaches some of the salt out
Hey Sarah, so I know this may sound blasphemous, but is it possible to use frozen spinach for this? I have all the other ingredients but no fresh spinach leaves 😕
Thanks for messaging me on IG as well and for reminding me of this recipe! I am glad it worked!