You'll Never Want To Make Salad Without Halloumi Croutons Again

Croutons are the staple of salads like the classic Caesar. While they add some crunch to the mix, it may sound a little boring when you break a homemade crouton recipe down into what it actually is: cubes of dried, toasted, or fried bread. If you're seeking an alternative to bread croutons that packs a little more flavor and excitement into a salad, halloumi croutons offer a welcome respite from the norm.

Halloumi cheese hails from the Mediterranean island nation of Cypress. The cheese, often made from sheep or goat milk, is soaked in brine, lending it a saltiness. Halloumi that is aged will have a slightly stronger bite, but it's still a relatively mild cheese that pairs well with salads and often draws comparisons to feta. When cooked to make croutons, halloumi cheese develops a crispness and crunchiness on the outside, and a perfectly contrasting softness on the inside. The salty flavor and bouncy texture of halloumi croutons make it a stand-out component of even the simplest salads. These are not just your typical replacement for regular bread croutons in a Caesar.

How to cook halloumi, and salad pairing ideas

To get started making this spin on croutons, you'll need to buy a nice block of halloumi. The cheese can be found in most grocery stores, usually located in the specialty cheese section (though, you can order it online too). Halloumi can be served raw or cooked, and has a high melting point that allows you to fry it until golden brown on both sides, while still maintaining its textural integrity and firmness. Most recipes that use it in salads call for it to be cubed into chunks and typically grilled or pan-fried until crispy. Cooking it also removes some of that saltiness from the brine, mellowing out the flavor a bit.

The richness and tanginess of halloumi croutons complement the bitterness of greens, enhancing an array of salads including escarole, orecchiette, and winter. You can mix halloumi cheese with cooked vegetables on a bed of leafy greens for further contrasts in taste and texture. Halloumi cheese can also be incorporated to add flavor to watermelon salad (or other fruit salads), creating a delicious sweet and salty combo. If you have never tried halloumi croutons before, substitute them in your next salad, and you may never want to go back to boring, old croutons again.