This Warm Zucchini Noodle Salad with fried halloumi and burst tomatoes is a delicious, low-carb, and healthy alternative to a traditional pasta dish. It’s quick and easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and a great way to get in extra veggies!
You know what word I hate? Zoodles.
I actually have a lengthy list of words I dislike, including panties (they’re underpants, people!) and om nom nom (must we type chewing noises? Must we?!), and when people wish you a happy birthday on Facebook by writing HBD and nothing else. Are we really that lazy?!
But zoodles is definitely up there in the lexicon of words and phrases that annoy me. It may be because Zoodles will forever in my heart be Animal Noodles (alas, it’s just dawned on me that Libby’s Zoodles is perhaps a Canadian product and the rest of you may not have the same nostalgic association with the canned pasta that I do), but also because I prefer to call a spade a spade.
So what we have here is not, in fact, a noodle. We’re clear on that, right? It’s spiralized zucchini. It’s a vegetable that’s been shredded or julienned or sliced to look kinda sorta like pasta but actually isn’t. And we’re going to use it to make a killer Warm Zucchini Noodle Salad that I think you’re going to love.
Some time ago I dutifully went out and bought myself a spiralizer, because it seemed like I could hardly maintain any credibility as a vegetarian / nutritionist / food blogger without one. So I ordered the thing online and waited for it to arrive, all the while picturing myself serenely sitting down to bowl after bowl of zucchini noodles with a variety of maximally-healthy toppings.
Well. It came, I spiralized, and whomp whomp whooooomp. Turns out that a bowl of cold zucchini noodles is not the same as a bowl of warm, soul-satisfying, stick-to-yer-ribs god-honest pasta.
But then one day I had a lightbulb moment and decided to warm the zucchini noodles up, and you know what? It was a total game changer. Paired with fried halloumi cheese – a satisfying source of protein and fat – and saucy burst tomatoes, this Warm Zucchini Noodle Salad is one of my favourite quick and easy weeknight dinners.
What’s in this Warm Zucchini Noodle Salad?
Just three superstar ingredients, my friends, plus a little support from oil, salt, and spices.
- Zucchini – duh, you can’t make a zucchini noodle salad without zucchini.
- Halloumi cheese – more on this later.
- Cherry tomatoes – we’re gonna burst these suckers stovetop to maximize their flavour
How do I make this warm zucchini noodle salad?
Alright, even though this recipe makes a single serving, you’re gonna want to pull out a nice big pan. Zucchini noodles take up a lot of space!
First, get your pan nice and hot. Add a bit of olive oil, and then the tomatoes. Let them cook, undisturbed, for a few minutes until they get a bit of colour on one side and start to burst and spew liquid all over the place.
That’s your cue to throw in the halloumi, and let it get a bit golden. (Related: How to Cook Halloumi) Then, the zucchini noodles go in and everything gets a good toss until the zucchini is heated through. Slide everything into a bowl, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and dinner is done!
I’m assuming that most of you are more interested in a quick and easy dinner than making an instagram-worthy meal, so I’ve included real life instructions here. This is how I usually do it, but be warned that the zucchini noodles pick up colour from the tomatoes and the whole dish ends up looking kinda brown. (Photo here for reference)
If you want your zucchini noodles to look beautiful, you’ll need to cook them first, then put them into a bowl and do the tomatoes and halloumi and add them on top.
I don’t have a spiralizer!
Worry not, friends, there’s more than one way to shred a zucchini. You can use a julienne peeler, a mandoline with a julienne blade, or even a plain old vegetable peeler to get ribbons of zucchini instead.
I can’t find halloumi!
If you live in the US I’ve heard that Trader Joe’s is a good place to find halloumi, and if not that check at a Greek or Mediterranean specialty food store.
If you STILL can’t find halloumi… bummer, dude. You can replace the halloumi with cubes of tofu, chickpeas, or crumbled feta or goat’s cheese added at the end.
Can I make this recipe vegan?
Yup, by swapping out halloumi for tofu or chickpeas, as stated above.
Can I make this recipe in advance?
Not this time. You can spiralize the zucchini, slice the tomatoes, and cube the halloumi in advance if you want, but this is definitely not a make-ahead or freezer friendly meal.
Hey Nutrition Lady, what’s the deal with Halloumi?
Halloumi is a semi-firm unripened brined cheese from Cyprus made from a mixture of goat, and sheep, and cows milk. It has a high melting point so it can be pan fried or grilled and does not melt or fall apart.
Fried halloumi is basically proof that there is a higher being, and is fantastic as a topping on salads, with pasta, or just eaten hot out of the pan.
Halloumi is a great complement to the zucchini noodles in this dish as it adds fat and protein to the dish, making it a whole heck of a lot more satiating than zucchini noodles alone.
And if you’re going to eat an entire zucchini and a bunch of tomatoes and call it dinner, why not add a little cheese on top, ammiright?
Other quick and easy dishes you might enjoy:
Warm Zucchini Noodle Salad with Fried Halloumi and Burst Tomatoes
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pint container of cherry tomatoes halved
- 3.5 oz halloumi cubed
- 1 medium zucchini spiralized
- generous pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the tomato halves to the pan, shaking to distribute everything. Cook until they are beginning to soften and break down a bit, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the halloumi cubes to the pan with the tomatoes, and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are just beginning to turn golden.
- Add the spiralized zucchini and cook, stirring constantly, until they are warm and just barely soft. A sort of "al dente" is what you're looking for - this should only take 2 minutes or so.
- Remove from the heat, slide the whole mess into a bowl, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- Enjoy immediately!
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
- I don't have a spiralizer! Worry not, friends, there's more than one way to shred a zucchini. You can use a julienne peeler, a mandoline with a julienne blade, or even a plain old vegetable peeler to get ribbons of zucchini instead.
- Can I make this recipe vegan? Yup, by swapping out halloumi for tofu or chickpeas.
- Can I make this recipe in advance? Not this time. You can spiralize the zucchini, slice the tomatoes, and cube the halloumi in advance if you want, but this is definitely not a make-ahead or freezer friendly meal.
This recipe was originally published January 2, 2017. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on September 4, 2018.
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