As the first signs of spring start to bloom, we're excited for the season's bright colors and fresh flavors that are always a warm welcome after winter. This hearty salad packs a solid punch with a grain base and halloumi cheese; combined with fresh berries and cherry tomatoes to make it also light and colorful. The end result? A well balanced salad you can enjoy for lunch and dinner, with enough substance to serve as a meal on it its own. It gets better, as this dish can also be made in advance and enjoyed for a few days after, as the grains soak up the flavors from the dressing.
- 1 cup pearled farro (barley works too)
- 16 oz. halloumi cheese
- 8 oz. fresh strawberries (or any other hearty berry or stone fruit, depending upon the season)
- 8 oz. cherry tomatoes
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. champagne vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel-Aged Pure Maple Syrup, more for added sweetness if desired
- 3 cups of baby spinach
- 2 tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil; add farro and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, and rinse barley under cold water to cool and stop further cooking.
- Light a grill. Toss halloumi, strawberries, and cherry tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper; cook, turning as needed, until charred, 6-7 minutes for halloumi and strawberries and 3 minutes for cherry tomatoes. Cut halloumi into 1 inch pieces.
- If you prefer to do this on the stove top, like we did, using a cast iron skillet is a great alternative. You can crisp up the halloumi cheese and then set aside on a plate to cool while you lightly cook the cherry tomatoes. We kept the strawberries raw for a bit more crispness.
- Soak shallots in water for 10 minutes, then drain.
- While shallots are soaking, make a vinaigrette with remaining olive oil, maple syrup and vinegar. Whisk vigorously and add shallots.
- In a large bowl toss the shallot vinaigrette with the farro, halloumi, strawberries, cherry tomatoes and almonds.
- Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately. Drizzle with additional maple syrup if desired.