Freekeh and Halloumi Salad with Pesto Dressing

, from Issue #73. July, 2017
Photography by Sarah Tuck.
Freekeh and Halloumi Salad with Pesto Dressing

I love the nubbly texture of freekeh, but you can easily substitute with cooked brown rice or couscous.

Serves: 4


300 grams freekeh, washed
2 eggplants, sliced into
1 cm wide rounds
4 zucchini, angle sliced
⅓ cup olive oil
1 cup semi-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup mint leaves
|1 cup basil leaves
200 grams halloumi, sliced into 1cm thick slices
½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
Pesto dressing
2 cups fresh basil leaves
⅓ cup grated parmesan
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
1 large clove garlic, peeled
sea salt and black pepper


Pesto dressing: Throw everything in a blender and whiz until as smooth as you like. Keeps in a sealed container in the fridge for 4–5 days. Just before serving thin with 2–3 teaspoons water.

Put the freekeh in a pot with 500ml of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered for 15–20 minutes until the water has been mostly absorbed and the freekeh is cooked through. Drain in a sieve.

While the freekeh is cooking heat a large hot plate or grill. Brush eggplant slices with ¼ cup of oil and cook 1–2 minutes each side.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a bowl and toss zucchini slices in it so they are lightly coated. Cook in a medium frying pan or grill plate for 1 minute each side.

Toss the cooked freekeh with half of the pesto dressing and most of the herbs, semi-dried tomatoes and pine nuts (reserve a few leaves, tomatoes and nuts for garnish).

Brush the pan or hot plate with a little more oil and cook the halloumi 2–3 minutes each side until golden.

Spoon freekeh on to serving plates (or platter) and layer with the eggplant and zucchini slices. Top with halloumi, remaining pesto, and reserved herbs, tomatoes and pine nuts. Serves 4.