Recipe: Herbed Couscous Salad with Fried Halloumi

Recipe: Herbed Couscous Salad with Fried Halloumi

Whether you are looking for a festive green recipe for St. Patrick’s Day or a delicious recipe in time for spring, you must try this delicious Herbed Couscous Salad with Fried Halloumi. 

This homemade Herbed Couscous Salad with Fried Halloumi is made with toasted couscous, tons of fresh spring herbs and chewy fried halloumi cheese. A refreshing cumin-lemon vinaigrette and a sprinkling of lemony sumac really bring all these fresh and savoury flavours together.
Recipe and photos by Melissa Leung from Season & Serve Blog (@seasonserveblog).

What is Couscous? 
Many people mistake couscous for a grain, but it is actually a small, irregular-shaped pasta made from durum wheat semolina and water. It has a relatively neutral nutty flavour and tastes fairly similar to pasta. Couscous is an incredibly popular ingredient in Morocco and other parts of North Africa, as well as the Mediterranean and the Middle East. 
There are three main types of couscous:

  1. Moroccan couscous- the smallest size of couscous and the most widely available type of couscous in markets (this is the type of couscous used in this recipe);
  2. Israeli or Pearl couscous- a medium-sized couscous that is about the size of black peppercorns; and,
  3. Lebanese couscous- the largest size couscous that are the size of boba pearls. 

How do you Cook Couscous?
If you can cook pasta, you can cook couscous– in fact, couscous is much easier to make! There are just a few key tips to keep in mind: 

  • Always use a 1:1 ratio of dry couscous to liquid (water, chicken broth or vegetable broth)
  • Pour boiling water or broth over the couscous and cover the pot tightly with a lid before letting sit for 10 minutes. Pouring boiling water and covering with a lid allows the couscous to fully cook.
  • Fluff the couscous with a fork to ensure that no big clumps form 
  • To add more flavour to the couscous, toast it in a dry pan until golden brown and fragrant before adding the boiling liquid

Fresh Herbs and Bright Flavours to Celebrate Spring
The bright and fresh flavours in this Herbed Couscous Salad with Fried Halloumi come from a combination of fresh chopped herbs and a delicious cumin-lemon vinaigrette.

Basil, parsley, and mint are the primary herbs that are used in this recipe. Each of these herbs has a very bright and refreshing flavour that helps to lighten up this otherwise heavy pasta dish. Make sure to chop these herbs finely to get a good distribution within the salad. 

The Cumin-Lemon vinaigrette is just what this Herbed Couscous Salad with Fried Halloumi was made for. Earthy ground cumin is mixed with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and sumac to create the perfect dressing. Sumac is an excellent addition to this salad since it has a bright lemony flavour that compliments the couscous, halloumi, and vinaigrette so perfectly! 

Get the Recipe!
I hope that you enjoy this recipe this Herbed Couscous Salad with Fried Halloumi this spring season! Don’t forget to tag #TastingVictoria and #SeasonServeBlog on social media to show off your creation!

Recipe: Herbed Couscous Salad with Fried Halloumi
Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Resting time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes 

For the Couscous:

  • For the Couscous:
  • 1 cup (170g) Moroccan couscous
  • 1 cup chicken stock (substitute with vegetable stock or water if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 ¼ cup Italian parsley leaves
  • ¾ cup mint leaves

For the Cumin-Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sumac (optional)

For the Fried Halloumi:

  • 2 200-gram packages halloumi, sliced into ½ cm thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil


  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the dry, uncooked couscous to the pan in an even layer. Toss the couscous every minute or so to evenly toast the couscous. Toast for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the couscous has turned a light golden brown and has a nutty fragrance.
  2. Remove the couscous from the heat and add in the olive oil and salt. Mix to combine and then add the boiling chicken stock to the pan. Cover with a lid and let it sit, covered for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Next, make the Cumin-Lemon vinaigrette. Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine. Add to the warm couscous and mix to combine. Place in the refrigerator to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Prepare the herbs. Set aside ¼ cup of basil leaves, ¼ cup of parsley leaves and ¼ cup of mint leaves for garnish. Finely chop the remaining 1 cup of basil, 1 cup of parsley and ½ cup of mint leaves. Add the herbs to the couscous once the couscous has cooled after 10 to 15 minutes and toss to combine. Transfer the couscous salad to a serving bowl or platter and set aside. 
  6. Next, fry the halloumi. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the avocado oil followed by the sliced halloumi. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crisp. 
  7. Once the halloumi is cooked on both sides, remove it from the pan and place the fried halloumi on top of the couscous salad. 
  8. Garnish with the remaining ¼ cup of basil, parsley and mint leaves and a sprinkling of sumac. Enjoy! 

Written by

Melissa Leung

Guest Writer