Delicious and super versatile, this Warm Lamb and Halloumi Rice Salad works brilliantly as a midweek supper, an impressive dinner party main or even as a dish to take to a buffet or pot luck. It also makes great leftovers to eat for lunch the next day!
One of the things I love about lamb is how flexible and versatile it is – yeah sure it’s fabulous as a Sunday roast (with or without mint sauce), but it goes so well with so many other flavours: garlic and rosemary go wonderfully – for example my Leftover Lamb Ragu. But it’s also great with robust Mexican flavours, such as chillies, cumin and smoked paprika – for example my Spicy Mexican Lamb Stew. And of course lamb is utterly brilliant as a curry, with wonderful Indian spices – if you love lamb curry then you have to check out my 7 Easy Peasy Lamb Curry Recipes.
But one of my favourite combinations is lamb and harissa. It’s like a match made in heaven and when you add halloumi, butternut squash, fresh mint and pomegranate seeds into the mix, you know you are onto a real winner!
Imagine warm wild rice topped with griddled lamb delicately but deliciously flavoured with harissa, and all beautifully offset by the sweetness of roasted butternut squash, the squeaky saltiness of halloumi, the tang of pomegranate seeds and the freshness of mint leaves. This is the food of dreams (well my dreams at least!) and yet it can be made in just 40 minutes – making it doable even on a busy weeknight.
But this Warm Lamb and Halloumi Rice Salad also looks super pretty and would be a really impressive main course for a North African or Middle Eastern themed dinner party or for taking to the kind of party where you are asked to bring a dish – potlucks, buffets etc.
And of course if you have leftovers it’s perfect the next day as lunch! It’s delicious cold, or heat it up until it’s piping hot.
You can use any rice you like in this Warm Lamb and Halloumi Rice Salad: white / brown / red / wild, whatever you fancy or have in the cupboards. But my favourite for this salad is a combination of white and wild rice – I can buy this ready mixed from the supermarket, but if you can’t get hold of it, you can mix your own. The mix I use is 88% white long grain rice to 12% black wild rice – it’s a great combination of textures and flavours and perfect in this salad.
For the roasted vegetable element I have used a combination of butternut squash, aubergine and red pepper – these vegetables are beautiful roasted and go so well with the flavours in this dish, but you can use whatever vegetables you prefer – you need about a kilo of veg in total (just over 2lbs).
If you don’t like the idea of deseeding a pomegranate, look out for the little pots of ready to eat pomegranate seeds in your local supermarket – they are perfect for this kind of recipe.
For this Warm Lamb and Halloumi Rice Salad recipe I have chosen a mild harissa, as I was serving it to my kids and they wouldn’t have thanked me for choosing a hot one! However if you like your food spicy, you can use a hotter harissa – just take care as some harissas can blow your head off – I always taste first if I am using a new brand!!
My perfect wine match for this dish would be a spicy, but juicy red wine made with grape varieties such as Grenache, Syrah or Tempranillo.
Warm Lamb and Halloumi Rice Salad
Warm Lamb and Halloumi Rice Salad
- 300 g lamb leg steaks (roughly 2 steaks)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 500 g butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 300 g aubergine cubed
- 1 red pepper cut into bitesize pieces
- 300 g rice (I use a mix of white long grain and black wild rice)
- 200 g halloumi cut into bitesize pieces
- 100 g pomegranate seeds (roughly half a medium pomegranate)
- 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves roughly chopped or torn
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon juice only
- 4 teaspoons mild harissa (or hot harissa if you like things spicy!)
- 2 tablespoons runny honey
- Preheat your oven to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 7/425 F.
- Mix together all your marinade ingredients, except the honey. Add the lamb to the marinade and coat well. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes (or longer if you have the time).
- Place the chopped butternut squash, aubergine and red pepper on a large baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables evenly in the oil. Roast in your preheated oven for 15 minutes or until softened and just starting to go brown.
- Meanwhile cook the rice according to packet instructions or your own preferences. Keep warm until needed.
- Heat a griddle pan (or non-stick frying pan) over a high heat for 1 minute. Remove the lamb from the marinate, but reserve the marinade for later. Place the lamb steaks on the griddle pan and cook for 1 minute on high on each side, then 2 minutes on a low heat on each side (so 6 minutes in total). This will result in medium cooked lamb. If you prefer your lamb well cooked, cook your lamb for an extra minute on each side.
- When the lamb is cooked, rest for 5-10 minutes, then cut into bitesize pieces.
- Meanwhile add the honey and halloumi to the leftover lamb marinade and toss to coat.
- After the vegetables have roasted for 15 minutes, remove them from the oven. Add the halloumi and then pour over the reserved marinade. Toss everything together and roast for a further 10 minutes.
- To assemble the salad put the rice on a large serving platter, then top with the vegetables and halloumi, followed by the lamb. Drizzle over any remaining marinade from the roasting tray, then finish with the pomegranate seeds and mint.
This is a collaborative post with the ‘LAMB. Tasty Easy Fun’ campaign. ‘LAMB. Tasty Easy Fun’ is an EU funded campaign which aims to increase the use of lamb in everyday cooking. Lamb is often considered difficult to cook, expensive, or something to be saved for Sunday roasts. The aim of the campaign is to demonstrate just how tasty, easy and fun lamb is to cook with every day of the week!
Want more delicious lamb recipes? Find more here…
Want more Middle Eastern Inspired Recipes? Find more here…
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