Perfect for an easy weeknight dinner, this Mediterranean Salad takes very little preparation time. You can make this vegetarian-friendly, with grilled Halloumi cheese, or omnivore-friendly with roasted chicken. Both versions feature juicy colourful tomatoes, salty olives, fresh basil, and big handfuls of vibrant greens. I created this salad to pair with my Roasted Red Pepper Salad Dressing, but it would also be delicious with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.
Preparing the salad
If you’re making the chicken version, make sure the chicken is cooked, or almost cooked, before you start the recipe. You could also start with leftover or takeout chicken.
If you’re making the vegetarian version, the halloumi only takes about 2-3 minutes per side on the grill, so you can leave this to almost the end.
Get your greens and basil washed and dried. Slice the tomatoes and locate the olives. (Mine always seem to be at the very back of the fridge.) You can use any kind of olives you like. I’ve made this with garlic-stuffed black olives and totally loved that flavour combination and the extra texture from the slightly crunchy garlic.
If you don’t have olives, or don’t care for them, sun-dried tomatoes would also be nice here.
Some crisp cucumber would make a great addition if you want to add even more vegetables to the mix.
You can make the meal a bit more formal by arranging the lettuce and other elements on each plate. Give the plate a little movement by organizing an ingredient, say something bright and red and eye-catching, like the tomato here, and lay it out in an imperfect trajectory. Your eyes will follow that and make the food seem more alive and more appetizing.
Tips for mixed groups
This salad is super simple to make for mixed crowds as you can add the protein (either the Halloumi cheese or the chicken) to the servings individually.
If you want to make this salad vegan/plant-based, you could enjoy it without the protein, although that’s obviously not a meal all on its own. I haven’t mastered vegan Halloumi so I haven’t included it, but this Vegan Tofu Halloumi recipe calls for marinating and then grilling tofu, and I thought it was quite good. The recipe calls for a waffle iron or sandwich press, neither one of which I have, but I was able to grill the Halloumi just by putting my tofu in a grill pan, and then pressing the tofu down with a heavy cast iron pan. One little tweak that I’d suggest is to leave out the dried mint, as it might not pair so well with the rest of the salad ingredients.
- 2 cups mixed greens
- 6 small tomatoes
- 6 olives
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- olive oil, optional
- 2 ounces halloumi cheese
- 3 ounces chicken breast, cooked
- 1 tablespoon
Roasted Red Pepper Dressing
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Wash and dry the greens, halve or quarter the tomatoes, and pit the olives if desired.
- If you are making the vegetarian version, heat a heavy pan, slice the halloumi into thin slices and grill over medium heat until the halloumi starts to get a bit browned and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Optionally, toss the greens with a little bit of olive oil, just so they are very lightly coated. Assemble the greens, tomatoes, olives, and fresh basil and your choice of halloumi or chicken.Serve with Roasted Red Pepper Salad Dressing.