Marinated halloumi and vegetable skewers
I have a bit of an obsession with halloumi at the moment. I love its irresistible saltiness, the way it squeaks between your teeth, and the way it grills to gorgeous crispiness on the outside and melting gooey-ness on the inside. Best of all, it’s perfect for vegetarian barbecues and grills, pairing wonderfully with summer vegetables on skewers where its meaty texture and satisfying flavour makes you wonder why anyone would bother with the faff of cooking meat.
Halloumi is best, in my opinion, when you take the time to marinate it in a simple mixture of herbs, lemon juice, garlic and oil, which is what I’ve done here. It really adds something to the final dish. I like to serve these summery vegetable skewers with a gorgeous rich yellow split pea puree, a bit like a dahl but flavoured with zingy lemon juice and lemon salt, enriched with oil and scattered with beautiful pomegranate seeds and fresh coriander. It makes for a really great combination of flavours and textures; thick, smooth and earthy, it’s perfect with the fresh grilled vegetables and salty halloumi.
Juice of 1 lemon
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
A large handful of fresh oregano or coriander
Cloves of garlic
cut into 1-inch cubes
Peppers (orange, red, or yellow)
in 2-inch pieces
Large red onions
sliced into wedges
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes (or metal skewers)
Soak the split peas overnight, or the morning of the day you want to make the dish. They take about 1.5-2 hours to cook, so plan accordingly. Put in a saucepan with about 1.5 litres water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that forms. When the water is clear, add the onion, chilli and cumin, and simmer, uncovered, for around 1.5-2 hours or until the peas have collapsed into mush and most of the water has evaporated (if it evaporates too quickly, add more to top it up). When the puree is ready, add the lemon juice, salt and olive oil, then set aside.
Meanwhile, marinate the halloumi. Put all the marinade ingredients together in a mini chopper or blender, or pound with a pestle and mortar to form a paste. Put in a bowl with the halloumi and coat thoroughly, then leave in the fridge until ready to cook.
Pre-heat the grill (or a barbecue), then arrange the peppers, onions and halloumi on the skewers. Grill for about 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve the split pea puree, scattered with the pomegranate and coriander, alongside the skewers.