This Greek lamb salad with halloumi cheese, fresh herbs and lemon is a quick and easy dinner recipe tastes like it took all day to make.
I truly have no words for this crispy lamb salad.... other than holy WOW. It is a marriage of Mediterranean flavors made in heaven.
It all starts with ground lamb that is seared in a blazing hot cast iron.
Then you'll add nuggets of cheesy goodness in the form of halloumi cheese, which is sort of like a milder version of feta cheese! Also present: a shower of herbs, slivers of red onion and chunks of cucumber.
Finally, the salad gets an uplifting flair with the addition of lemon juice and really high quality olive oil.
What is Halloumi?
In terms of texture, it is bouncy and springy, and not very crumbly. Flavor-wise, it is a more mild and less salty feta, but still has that fantastic brine taste we all know and love.
In this salad, I chose to leave the halloumi raw for two reasons. The first is ease of preparation; why complicate things?
The second is because of the contrast between briny, fresh halloumi and crunchy, fatty, fried lamb. I love the way these two ingredients come together.
I can't find halloumi. What can I use instead?
You can use feta cheese instead, just go easier on the salt!
Why Use Lamb?
Ground lamb is extremely flavorful and very fatty, which makes it perfect for this recipe with minimal ingredients. Lamb cooks quickly and pairs well with the Mediterranean flavor palate that we have going on.
If you don't like lamb, no worries, you can use ground beef. However, make sure the you use really fatty beef (at least 80/20%) so that you can get a good sear on the bottom. Crunchy meat bits are what make this salad so special.
What kind of cucumbers do you use in this salad?
My favorite cucumbers are the varieties with less seeds: English, Japanese or Persian cucumbers.
These don't need to be peeled and add a great crunch to the salad.
What can I substitute for fresh lemons if I don't have any on hand?
Swap the lemon out with another citrus fruit like lime or orange. Alternatively, you could use a few tablespoons of sharp, assertive viegar like red wine vinegar, just make sure to whisk it with a little olive oil before dressing.
I don't like parsley/mint/cilantro. Can I leave it out?
Yes you can, but my advice is: don't knock it till ya try it! Cilantro, parsley and mint all blend really well together here and basically flavor the entire dish as the dressing is super minimal.
This lamb salad was inspired by my trip to the Mediterranean. Warm ground lamb meets cool creamy halloumi for a gluten-free Greek meal that can't be beat!
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 6oz. halloumi cheese
- 1 lemon
- small handful parsley
- small handful cilantro
- small handful mint
- 1/2 English cucumber (cubed)
- 1/2 small red onion (thinly sliced in half-moons)
- ~1/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin)
- salt + pepper
- Put a cast-iron skillet on the stove and get it blazing hot.
- Season lamb with salt, pepper, and the zest of a lemon. Add to the skillet and smash it around to make a big lamb pancake that covers the bottom of the pan. Cook on medium-high undisturbed for 8-10 minutes. The bottom should be REALLY crispy.
- Meanwhile, chop herbs into oblivion, and add olive oil and the juice of one lemon to them. You’ should add olive oil until the herbs are spoonable and can be poured over the salad like a “dressing.” Roughly 1/4 cup. Add salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon or salt if needed. It should be bright and acidic.
- Once the bottom of the lamb is crisp, flip and finish cooking for 1 more minute on the other side. Then remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving behind most of the grease.
- Place lamb on a large plate. Top with crumbled halloumi, cucumbers, red onion, and then drizzle herb dressing on top. You can also add more sliced lemons and some extra mint on top. Maldon salt + chili flakes don’t hurt either!
- You can serve this immediately, but it will also taste great if left to marinate for a few hours before serving. If you want to turn this into a more complete meal, serve alongside couscous!
- Category: Salads
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keywords: lamb, lamb salad, halloumi, halloumi salad, crispy lamb, lamb herbs, middle eastern salads