Mediterranean Eggplant and Halloumi Bowls with Lemon-Dill Sauce come together in 30 minutes and create the perfect make-ahead lunch or easy weeknight dinner. This Mediterranean fantasy of a bowl features the perfect early summer combination of briny pan-fried cheese, juicy tomatoes, and light, herb-y sauce. It’s also jam-packed with fiber and packs a decent punch of protein.
Plus, it’s make-ahead-friendly, which directly translates to your desk lunch being the envy of the entire office tomorrow. Halloumi has a firm, slightly springy texture and tastes like a mild feta cheese. This briny goat- and sheep-milk cheese boasts a high melting temp: The outside gets golden and crispy, while the inside softens lusciously. Simply brown it in a nonstick pan over medium heat to add to summer salads or grain bowls.
I typically have luck finding halloumi in the specialty cheese section at Whole Foods, but I’ve also heard of some folks finding it at Trader Joe’s (which is likely a bit cheaper). Creamy, cool, and tangy, this easy lemon-dill yogurt sauce may become your go-to, put-it-on-everything sauce. Fresh dill amps up the vibrancy, which perfectly compliments the crunchy fresh vegetables and chewy grains. Make a double batch and spoon leftovers over baked fish, grilled chicken, or anything in need of an herb-y upgrade.
As far as the grain base, I’m partial to farro, which is a great quick-cooking grain with rich, nutty flavor and a satisfying chewy texture. It’s also packed with fiber, protein, and B-vitamins. If you’re sensitive to gluten or prefer other whole-grains, feel free to swap the farro for brown rice, quinoa, or buckwheat.Nutty, salty, and hearty, this delicious grain bowl deserves a regular spot in your lunch or dinner rotation.
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 small globe eggplant, cut into cubes (about 3½ cups)
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 8 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into ⅓-in.-thick slices
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. fresh chopped dill, plus extra for garnish
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp. plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 2 cups cooked farro (or grain of choice)
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup thinly sliced English cucumbers
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add eggplant; cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and soft. Season with ¼ tsp. each of the salt and pepper, plus a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- Add an additional 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan and increase heat to medium-high. Pat halloumi dry and add to pan in a single layer. Cook, turning once, until golden brown, 1½ to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
- Combine remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil with lemon juice, dill, mustard, garlic powder, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt and black pepper; stir with a whisk. Whisk in yogurt in 1 Tbsp. increments until smooth.
- To assemble bowls, divide farro evenly into each of 4 bowls. Top evenly with cooked eggplant and halloumi cheese. Add tomatoes, cucumber, and chickpeas evenly to each bowl. Drizzle each serving with 1-2 Tbsp. lemon-dill sauce. Garnish with extra dill, if desired.