Hemsley + Hemsley papaya, halloumi and watercress salad recipe

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  • Gluten-free
  • Healthy
  • Vegetarian
serves: 4
Skill: easy
Prep: 15 min
Cooking: 5 min
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  • A salad is always a great option for a quick, healthy and nutritious lunch – especially if it looks like this Hemsley + Hemsley papaya, halloumi and watercress salad. This salad recipe by the Hemsley sisters serves 4 people, so you can make it for a light family lunch or even as a starter or side if you’re having a BBQ for friends or family. This salad will take only 15 mins to prepare from scratch, and another 5 mins to cook the halloumi. If you’re using this recipe as a starter dish, you can use less halloumi cheese. The papaya adds a lovely sweet flavour to the salad, so you’ll be getting your sweet fix from your main course (and might not even need dessert, but we’ll let you decide). You’ll need to scoop out the papaya seeds, but you can keep the seeds to add to smoothies or salad dressings – they taste like radishes so use sparingly. To make the dressing for this salad, you’ll only need three ingredients – extra virgin olive oil, runny honey, and apple cider vinegar. Instead of apple cider vinegar, you could also use lime or lemon juice to make the dressing.


    • For the salad:
    • 4 large handfuls of watercress
    • a punnet of cherry or baby plum tomatoes, halved
    • 1 red onion, finely sliced
    • 2 large avocados, flesh scooped out and sliced
    • a handful of pine nuts or pumpkin or sunflower seeds
    • ½ a large papaya
    • 1 tsp ghee
    • 250g pack of halloumi, sliced 1 cm thick (seek out 100% sheep or goats’ milk varieties of halloumi for a better flavour)
    • sea salt and black pepper
    • For the dressing:
    • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • a squeeze of raw runny honey
    • 1½ tbsp apple cider vinegar or lime or lemon juice


    • Snip the watercress into bite-sized pieces and arrange it over a large, flat serving dish.

    • Scatter the tomatoes, onion and avocado over the bed of watercress and sprinkle over a touch of sea salt (not too much as the halloumi is salty).

    • Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, then set aside.

    • Halve the papaya and scoop out the seeds. Using a large spoon, scoop out thick slivers of the papaya flesh and pile onto the salad. If you’re struggling to make it look nice, then try slicing or cubing the fruit.

    • Heat the ghee to a high temperature in a large frying pan and fry the halloumi slices in batches for about a minute on each side until each piece takes on a golden brown colour – keep your eye on them, too long and they toughen up. Lay the hot halloumi across the salad.

    • Sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts, drizzle with the olive oil, honey, vinegar or citrus juice and a good grinding of black pepper, then tuck in while the halloumi is still hot.

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