Halloumi and Watermelon Salad



I have only ever had halloumi cooked. You know – grilled in a pan until the outer layer is melty and crisp, yet the inside still maintains its texture. Then eat it quick, otherwise it becomes rubbery. Squeeze some lime over it. Eat it warm and enjoy the wonderful, squeaky-between-your-teeth texture. It is so yummy.

I didn’t know that you could eat it raw. In all my years of eating, I have never come across it raw.

So it was quite a surprise to find that raw halloumi partners well with watermelon. Very. Well.

Notes on Halloumi

Halloumi was originally a Middle Eastern Bedouin cheese made from ewes’ and sometimes goats’ milk. It is long-keeping, tough and salty which made it ideal for the Bedouin way of life. It became very popular and spread to the Middle East, to Greece and Cyprus and throughout the world.

The cheese is creamy white with a fibrous texture, and is firmer, less brittle and generally less salty than Feta. It can be sliced but not crumbled. Did you know that halloumi gains its special properties during the making when the moulded curds are dipped in hot water, kneaded (often with chopped mint), and then rolled out like pastry and cut into bars? It is either eaten soon after making or can be ripened for a month.

Although enjoyed in the Middle East when uncooked, Halloumi is fundamentally known as a cooking cheese. If fact I have never known it to be used otherwise. Its has an amazing character that is revealed when it is heated.

Real Halloumi is made from ewes’ or goats’ milk but increasingly cows’ milk is being used, particularly with large scale production. This is done for financial reasons and they say that the resulting cheeses are inferior.

One of the places renown for Halloumi is Cyprus. For centuries Halloumi has been prepared there according to traditional recipes that are passed on from generation to generation. I read that Halloumi is a registered trademark certified by the European Union and no other country can produce this cheese, although it is made in Australia and the UK. I guess the trademark does not extend here.

Different halloumi’s taste quite different, and in fact cook up quite differently. Some are very salty and need to be washed before using to remove some of the salt. If the cheese is too salty then soak it in luke-warm water or milk before using to remove the excess salt.

Notes on Using Halloumi

  • Halloumi can be served fresh, fried, baked, marinated, BBQ’d or grilled. Its unique property is that it does not melt in frying or grilling, but the outside becomes soft and crisp.
  • In the Lebanon it is known as kebab cheese, being cubed, skewered and grilled over charcoal on street stalls.
  • If thin slices of the cheese are placed in a hot non-stick pan, the outside will rapidly become crisp and golden brown, while the centre melts.
  • The cheese is excellent when served with salad, hummus and pitta bread.
  • Try a slice on a grilled mushroom sandwich, cubed on top of a salad, or sliced and grilled and served for breakfast.
  • Also experiment with it raw with fruit, as in this recipe. It can even be eaten for breakfast this way.
  • Grate it raw on top of pasta or rice.
  • An unopened packaged will keep refrigerated for a year and also can be frozen.


Halloumi and Watermelon Salad

Source : traditional recipe
Cuisine: Cypriot
Prep time: 5 – 10 mins
Cooking time: 0 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it

1 small watermelon
1 packet Halloumi cheese
55g pine nuts
4 – 6 mint leaves, torn into pieces or chopped semi finely.

Cube the watermelon into 2.5cm (1″) cubes.

Cut halloumi into 2.5cm slices, and then into cubes.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan for 1 – 2 minutes, watching them carefully, and shaking the pan periodically. Don’t allow them to burn.

Arrange the watermelon on a plate or in a bowl. Scatter the halloumi over the top, then the mint leaves and then the pine nuts.


You can also put this salad on a bed of salad greens.


Author: Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.

16 thoughts on “Halloumi and Watermelon Salad”

  1. Oh wow! I would _love_ to try freshly made halloumi, kneaded with mint! Yuuuum!

    Btw, do you know the combination of feta and watermelon? I think it may also contain mint, too! Sounds divine to me!

    Oh wouldn’t it be great to try haloumi freshly made! YUM. And watermelon and feta with mint sounds good too. The acidity and saltiness of the feta would work well with the watermelon.


  2. A Greek friend of mine swears by this combination. I’ve never had it though. I keep on meaning too. Then I buy the haloumi and find I’m craving it cooked. Now you’ve reminded me about this combination, I’m going to do it.

    Hi Kathryn – I am back from holidays now. Have to say your site continues to be an amazing source of great information. I love reading it. You have never tried this? I hope that you buy a double amount of haloumi next time – grill half of it, and make the salad with the other half.


  3. I can’t believe I have never tried haloumi. You make it sound so appealing. I’ll keep this recipe in mind. Sounds very good indeed.

    Oh, Lisa, never tried haloumi?? Go girl. Right now. Get some and try it. It is a staple in my kitchen.


  4. was wondering, if you had posted anything from your innersearch travels. :-)
    Looking forward to reading of your experiences.

    Hi Arun, I arrived back home 2 days ago, and am recovering from a tummy wog. It was an amazing trip, in lots of different ways. Look for a post coming soon!


  5. that salad looks good, gotta’ wait a bit for the watermelon season …..
    i agree the large scale prod does put a damper on the taste as well as nutrition content!


  6. great info… I have haloumi as it is, and it tastes great, but do eat it straight away or it will go hard and rubbery!

    You are so right. It does go rubbery after being cooked if not eaten immediately.


  7. I discovered Haloumi about a year ago and we just love it although you are right sometimes I get some that is too salty for us. And funny but as a child my grandparents always “salted” their watermelon before eating it……….great combo !

    I have learned that if it is too salty, soak it in milk for a while. I can understand salting watermelon. I will do it too to a number of fruits, esp tropical ones.


  8. I discovered halloumi a few years ago as I moved to Cyprus, never heard of it before. But straight away I fell in love with that delicious cheese that is so versatile and gives its special note to so many dishes. Very often we try new halloumi recipes and there is not one week since then, that we won’t have at least one meal with halloumi, not to speak abou BBQs, where having halloumi is a must.


  9. Never heard of the stuff, but I am delighted that the cook and author explains and defines everything. Just as I’m thinking, “What is hallourmi,” I come across the definition. I’ve never been one for reading fiction. Give me reality any day! And this site is incredible for the wonderful recipes, incredible variety of foods, definitions, explanations, and photos. The literary verbage thrown in makes reading the site as fun as cozying up with a good story. Thanks! I love the site!


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