Melissa Hemsley’s spiced halloumi and chickpeas with black quinoa tabbouleh recipe

A one-pan dish packed with crunch, freshness and spice. Quinoa is protein-rich and the black version, if you can get it, looks beautiful set against the herbs and salad leaves. Regular quinoa is just as good (it needs 2 minutes less cooking time) or you could use red quinoa instead and cook for the same length of time as for the black quinoa. The combination of spiced salty-sweet fried halloumi and chickpeas is unbeatable – you’ll want to use this pairing with everything. This makes a bit extra and any leftovers make a great packed lunch.

Issy Croker


1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
250g halloumi, chopped into 2cm cubes
2 tsp maple syrup


500ml water or stock
200g black quinoa, rinsed well
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large handfuls of salad leaves (watercress or rocket)
4 large handfuls of fresh parsley, stalks and leaves finely chopped
1 large handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper


1 small handful of pistachios or other nuts
1 small handful of pomegranate seeds or dried fruit

1. First make the quinoa for the tabbouleh. Pour the water or stock into a large, wide pan, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa and bring back to the boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for about 17 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. (If the quinoa has been soaked first, simmer for 15 minutes). Uncover, fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside to allow to cool.
2. Meanwhile, place all the other tabbouleh ingredients except for the leaves and herbs in a large serving bowl and mix together.
3. Tip the cooked quinoa into the serving bowl and mix everything together. The quinoa will soak up the flavours as it starts to cool.
4. Wipe the pan dry, then melt the coconut oil, add the spices and stir for a minute over a medium heat.
5. Turn up the heat, add the chickpeas and halloumi, tossing in the spicy oil, and fry for 45 seconds until golden brown. Toss again and fry the halloumi on the other side for another 30 seconds. Drizzle over the maple syrup, add a pinch of salt and leave to bubble for 30 seconds. Toss once more to coat in the salty-sweet oil.
6. Mix the tabbouleh with the salad leaves and herbs, season and then add the halloumi and chickpeas. Serve scattered with pistachios or other nuts, pomegranate seeds or dried fruit, if you like.


Eat Happy: 30-Minute Feelgood Food by Melissa Hemsley is published by Ebury, price £20. As well as Melissa’s introduction and brilliant advice and tips for time-savvy, good-for-you meals, chapters cover breakfast and brunch, bowl food, meat, fish and vegetable mains, salads, sides, snacks, dips and canapés, sweets and drinks. To order a copy for £16 until 18 February, visit or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.