Salad bowls, buddha bowls and poke bowls are amongst my favourite meals, because it's just a bunch of different ingredients mixed together in a bowl. I love how great they are for veggie and other ingredient leftovers, I also love their versatility and the fact that you can make the best lunch box with a meal like this, which usually requires minimal effort.
Today I'm sharing a salad recipe with grilled halloumi cheese, because lately I've been using it A LOT. It also involves maple soy glazed aubergine, which (I know) might sound a little intimidating, but, please, bare with me here. You can skip the aubergine part, yet it really takes this salad to next level + once you try this technique, you'll never have a soggy aubergine again. Interested?
To make the idea of building up a satisfying salad from scratch easier, I'm highlighting the different ingredient "levels":
- SALAD BASE. Salad leaves. I chose spinach and baby gem lettuce.
- VEGGIE PROTEIN BASE. Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, beans. I chose black lentils.
- MIXED VEGGIES. I chose purple cauliflower, cucumber, leek, a bit of celery, black olives.
- FILLING TOPPINGS. I chose grilled halloumi cheese and maple soy glazed aubergine.
- GARNISH. Chopped. I chose cilantro, sesame seeds, dressing.
How to: Glazed Aubergine
One of my favourite parts of this salad is the aubergine. It is slightly sticky, full of flavour and very easily achievable. Firstly, cut aubergine into thin wedges (top to bottom). Heat a frying pan with a bit of oil in it (sunflower seed oil, toasted sesame seed oil, etc.). Pour some maple syrup and soy sauce over the aubergine wedges (be generous, but not crazy with the amount, taking into consideration the fact that soy sauce is very salty), massage it into the aubergine. Place the aubergine wedges and remanining sauce into the preheated frying pan and cook on medium heat until crisped up. Flip each wedge, fry until crispy then cover the pan and cook on low heat until aubergine cooks through & becomes soft. You can then raise the heat and let it crisp up a bit more if you like.
Serves 1 | Total time: 25 minutes
- halloumi cheese
- 1/2 of a smaller aubergine
- maple syrup + soy sauce
- boiled black lentils
- a handful of spinach
- a handful of thinly sliced baby gem or romaine
- a small piece of fresh cucumber
- 1/2 of a celery stalk
- a couple of purple (or regular) cauliflower florets
- a small piece of leek
- a handful of fresh cilantro
- sesame seeds (black or white)
- black (or other) olives
for the dressing:
- light tahini
- lemon juice
Prep the Salad Bowl
Cut spinach into thin strips and mix with baby gem or romaine salad leaves in a large deep plate. Chop the cauliflower florets, cut cucumber, leek & celery into thin slices and place in the bowl. Add some cooked lentils on top. Cook the aubergine wedges - see instructions in the beginning of the article. Heat a large frying pan and add halloumi slices, arranged in a single layer (no oil). Cook until crispy on both sides. Arrange glazed aubergine and grilled halloumi on top of the salad bowl, garnish with chopped cilantro, sesame seeds. For the dressing, mix some tahini with a bit of lemon juice, a bit of honey and salt. Adjust it to suit your taste best. Add cold water to dilute the dressing if needed. You can also add some freshly ground pepper, herbs or even plain yogurt.
You can serve it immediately or pack up a lunch box to take with you. You could also prep ahead for a wholesome post-workout or simply post-work dinner. I would keep the dressing separately if not eating right away.