This Roasted Sweet Potato and Halloumi Salad with Citrus Tahini Dressing is an elegant, vibrant and gourmet salad perfect for the holiday season.
Using seasonal ingredients, this Roasted Sweet Potato and Halloumi Salad with Citrus Tahini Dressing hits all the rights notes for the holiday season. The combination of textures, flavours and colours in this salad make it one that your guests are sure to remember.
A Holiday Salad
Holidays and celebrations require special salads and this particular one is sure to impress.
The salad greens are embellished with caramelized sweet potatoes, toasted pine nuts, crunchy red onions, sweet ruby red pomegranate seeds and warm and salty Halloumi cheese. Best of all is the delicious citrusy tahini dressing used to dress this salad.
How to Make Sweet Potato and Halloumi Salad
If you decide to make this salad as part of your holiday spread, I recommend you plan ahead. This is what I like to call a special occasion salad and does take some time to prepare.
You can speed things up by getting some of it done a day before your special event. Since pomegranates take some time to de-seed, it's best to do it ahead of time. You can also toast the pine nuts and make the citrus tahini dressing a day or two before serving.
If those three things are done ahead of time, then all that will be left to do is roast the sweet potatoes and prepare your salad greens. For optimal results, it's best to pan-fry the Halloumi as close as possible to serving time.
How to Make Tahini Salad Dressing
The recipe for the tahini dressing and the technique for pan frying the halloumi cheese are adapted from Suzanne Husseini's Modern Flavors of Arabia cookbook.
I love Suzanne's citrus-infused tahini dressing and find it complements this salad perfectly (by the way, this is not a sponsored post, I just like Suzanne's recipes and recommend her book to all who enjoy Middle-Eastern food).
Suzanne makes the dressing by adding honey to the tahini paste and including freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice. This makes the dressing less tart and perfect for dressing sweet and savoury salads.
Ingredients for Tahini Salad Dressing:
- Garlic clove
- Lemon freshly squeezed juice
- Orange. You'll need the zest and juice of half an orange
- Ground sumac. This ingredient is optional (see recipe note)
- Water. Used to thin out tahini to a dressing consistency.
To make the dressing, simply combine the tahini, garlic paste, orange zest and freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice in a bowl or jar. Slowly add 1/2 cup of water, whisking until the sauce is well blended.
Taste the dressing and adjust to your liking. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a teaspoon of water at a time until you have the desired consistency.
I hope you give this salad a try. It's a perfect starter or side dish for your holiday meal. Just like this recipe for Pomegranate, Pear and Pecan Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, it's really worth the extra time and effort.
More Special Occasion Salads
- Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
- Spinach and Clementine Salad
- Spinach Apple Cranberry Salad
- Lebanese Tabbouleh
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Citrus Tahini Dressing
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
- 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 1-½ tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 cups baby romaine lettuce or your favourite blend
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- ½ small red onion thinly sliced
- 250 grams halloumi cheese goat or feta cheese are also good choices
Citrus Tahini Dressing* (see note)
- 1 medium garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup tahini
- 1 lemon freshly squeezed juice
- orange zest of half an orange
- ½ orange, freshly squeezed juice
- 1 tablespoon honey adjust sweetness according to taste.
- ½ teaspoon ground sumac** optional (see recipe note)
- ½ cup water more or less, to thin out tahini to desired consistency.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-size cubes (about 1 inch). Add the sweet potatoes to a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to coat the sweet potatoes with oil and seasonings.
- Roast sweet potatoes in the oven for 10 minutes, flip and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and start to caramelize. Let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, de-seed the pomegranate and set aside one cup of the seeds for the salad.
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet cooking over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until lightly golden. Be careful, they burn easily! Set aside.
- Slice the red onion and set aside.
- Wash and dry the salad greens.
- Top salad greens with roasted sweet potatoes, red onions, pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts.
- Just before serving the salad, use a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture from the Halloumi. Lightly dredge the slices of Halloumi in all-purpose flour. Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Pan fry the Halloumi cheese until golden, flip and cook until golden on the other side, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
Citrus Tahini Dressing
- In a mortar and pestle, crush 1 garlic clove with 1/2 tsp. of salt. Mash until garlic and salt form a paste.
- In a medium bowl, combine the tahini, garlic paste, lemon juice, orange zest and juice. Slowly add 1/2 cup of water, whisking until the sauce is well blended. Taste and adjust to your liking. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a teaspoon of water at a time until you have reached the desired consistency.