Baby Kale and Cherry Salad with Grilled Halloumi

Lately, I've been stuck in a bit of a food rut. 

Actually, I don't know if I'd call it a food rut. Trapped in a cycle of food "meh" would be more accurate. There's definitely been meals that have been an exception (see basically everything we ate in Iceland), but in general, the food I'm making at home just hasn't been as appealing. As a food lover, a food blogger, and someone who used to consider cooking dinner at night her down time, it's been a little distressing. 

Part of the reason, as I discussed in Monday's post, is that as I've become a more intuitive eater, some of that obsession with food stemming from a disordered mindset has lifted. It's interesting to me, because I've been a pretty intuitive eater for quite some time, and my disordered eating was relatively mild, yet my obsession with food is just now fading. I'm still someone who really enjoys food and eating, but also okay with not every meal being gourmet. 

Another reason for my "meh" attitude towards food is because cooking and recipe development is part of my job. I'm grateful that I'm able to make money cooking and writing about food both on my blog and for other brands - it's perfect for someone like me with introvert tendencies, who gets exhausted by counseling all day. But because there's often deadlines and expectations attached to my time in the kitchen, it's not longer the relaxing activity that it used to be. 

Also, I just really haven't had as much time to cook lately. Between work, travel and getting better about making time for self care (which used to be cooking since it was relaxing), I just haven't had time to spend in the kitchen. So I've been resorting to simple, satisfying and tasty, but not necessarily thrilling meals. Also takeout 🙌  

Being in this cycle of meh, I've been more conscious of what foods, flavors and recipes appeal to me. I like a lot of different foods (minus the dreaded papaya 😝). I like a lot of different cuisines. But what I like the most are dishes that have lots of different things going on. Like, I don't understand steak and potatoes. Or people who are content with one topping pizzas. Plain mushroom pizza? What about the goat cheese and garlic and caramelized onions and three other types of wild mushrooms and arugula and truffle oil??? I get turned off by short ingredients lists, not long ones.

It's not that I seek out complicated or fussy food, or that I have something against simplicity. I'm just drawn to dishes with lots of different flavors and textures. Sometimes that's hard to get on the plate in under 30 minutes. 

Which brings us to this salad. I started with the idea of a salad topped with sweet, ripe cherries and halloumi cheese because that flavor combination sounded like perfection on a hot day. Then I just started adding things that sounded tasty to this pile of greens until eventually I had this salad. It was actually pretty simple to make, and didn't take much longer than 30 minutes to prepare.

Normally I need another carbohydrate other than fruit to satisfy me when I'm meal hungry, but this salad was pretty satiating on that day. That doesn't mean that you might not need a bit more carb (or that I would if I made it again on a day I was hungrier). Topping this salad with a scoop of cooked quinoa would be really tasty. 

Baby Kale and Cherry Salad with Grilled Halloumi

Serves: 3-4ish

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 small garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Salad:

  • 8 ounces halloumi cheese, halved into two 1/2-3/4 inch slices
  • 3 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 bag baby kale
  • 2 cups pitted sweet cherries
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup pepitas, toasted

Heat grill on medium-high heat.

When hot, grill halloumi slices for 1-2 minutes per side until grill-marked. Rub corn with olive oil and grill a few minutes per side until grill-marked. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Cut halloumi into chunks. Using a sharp knife, cut charred kernels away from the cob. 

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a blender and blend until pureed. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. 

Place baby kale in a large bowl. Top with grilled corn, halloumi, cherries, pepitas and avocado. Drizzle with dressing, toss and serve.

More Summery Salads: