Grilled or pan-fried halloumi cheese is tossed with sauteed kale, garlic and red pepper flakes in this simple and flavorful side dish. The crispy outside and melted center of warm halloumi is a nice contrast with the kale. It's still a healthy dish, but one that has some decadence.
Halloumi is often called the "Grilling Cheese of Cyprus" and is made from sheep's milk (sometimes with goat's milk blended in). It is sold in small blocks and should be cut into slabs or cubes before heating. The texture is firm and rubbery until grilled or pan-fried, then the cheese becomes crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Halloumi retains its shape when heated. The flavor is similar to mozzarella, only with more salt.
More Kale Recipes
If the kale you buy has small leaves you can saute them whole without boiling them first. However, if the leaves are big they might be a little tough. Consider boiling the leaves in hot water for three minutes (then squeezing most of the water out of the leaves) and/or slicing the leaves into thin strips before you saute them.
- 1 bunch of black kale
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 8-ounce block of halloumi, sliced into four thin slabs
- 1 squirt of fresh lemon juice
- sea salt to taste, if needed
- Gather the ingredients.
- In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.
- Cut the thick bottom stems off the kale. Add kale leaves to the pan, stirring occasionally until they become soft and slightly browned around the edges, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute one minute more, then remove the kale from the pan onto a plate
- Decide if you want to grill or pan-fry the halloumi.
To Grill: Brush each slab of cheese with oil on both sides. Heat the grill to medium-high. Place the cheese directly on the grill, cooking about 3 minutes a side until the cheese is nicely browned.
To Pan-Fry: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. A cast iron pan gives the halloumi an especially crispy exterior, but a non-stick pan can be used as well. When the oil is hot, add the slabs of cheese. Fry for 3 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.
When adding the halloumi to the kale, you can leave the cooked slabs of cheese whole or cut them into small bite-sized squares. Finish the dish with a squirt of fresh lemon juice. Halloumi is usually quite salty so only add salt to the kale if needed after you taste the two together.