Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Turnip greens and halloumi salad with tahini and turmeric dressing

As with so many of the meals I cook, it all starts with a single ingredient, the inspiration if you will that’ll form the base of a complete dish. Sometimes it’s an intricate dish that may take hours to prepare and cook, and other times it’s a simple and quick one.

This time, it all started a few days ago when I bought a bunch of young turnip greens from the market. I didn’t know exactly what to do with them so they stayed in the fridge, almost neglected, until yesterday, when it suddenly hit me; I would make a meal out of a salad. I do this often, I love turning salads into main dishes. And so it happened.

I had halloumi in the fridge, cucumber that was leftover from a tzatziki I made the previous day and red onion, and then I began thinking about the dressing. I wanted something a bit different, more fragrant and earthy to counterbalance and complement the fresh flavors of the greens and cucumber. Tahini came to mind, an ingredient that is never absent from my kitchen, and turmeric. That was it.

I finely sliced the cucumber and the onion with my trusted mandoline, I whisked the ingredients for the dressing and grilled the halloumi in a hot pan until it was deliciously golden. The ingredients were tossed together, the deep orange-colored dressing was drizzled on top and a handful of toasted sesame seeds were sprinkled to decorate and add more flavor and texture to the salad.

That was yesterday’s dinner.

Young turnip greens, cucumber and red onion salad with grilled halloumi and a tahini and turmeric dressing

The classic turnip greens (turnip tops) are large, much like beetroot leaves. The ones I used in this recipe are young, small turnip greens from turnips grown specifically for their leaves.
Their flavor is slightly spicy and their stalks are tender. If you can’t find them where you live, you can substitute with baby spinach, rocket or tender beetroot leaves.
For those of you reading from Holland, they are called raapstelen.

This dressing is perfect on top of a grilled or baked piece of fish, on top of roast chicken, or mixed with simply boiled legumes like beans or chickpeas to give them flavor.

Yield: 2 main servings or 4 salad servings


for the tahini-turmeric dressing
60 ml (¼ cup) tahini
3½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¾ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder
Freshly ground white pepper

for the salad
150 g young turnip greens
120 g cucumber, with skin on, thinly sliced
Half red onion, very thinly sliced
250 g halloumi cheese
A handful of toasted sesame seeds

Special equipment: mandoline (optional)


for the tahini-turmeric dressing
Add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, turmeric, cayenne, a little salt and white pepper in a small bowl and mix well using a wire whisk. Taste and add more salt if needed.

for the salad
Cut the halloumi into medium-thick slices and lightly oil them on both sides with olive oil. Heat a skillet or non-stick pan on medium heat and add the slices in one layer. Cook them for about 3 minutes on either side until golden.

Rinse well the turnip greens under cold running water, cut off the roots and drain in paper towels. In a large bowl, mix the turnip greens, cucumber and onion. Arrange on a plate and add the halloumi. Drizzle generously with the dressing and finish with the sesame seeds.
Serve immediately with fresh bread.

You can keep the tahini-turmeric dressing in the fridge for a couple of days. It will thicken in the fridge so leave it out on the counter for half an hour before you want to use it.
Also, the dressing may split. It is only natural because it contains tahini, which always splits. Don’t worry about it, just give it a good whisk before using.


  1. Yum! I wanna come over for dinner;) Those turnip greens could not look more inviting! We've been eating raw baby turnips around here and I can't seem to get enough. So delish.
    xoxo to you Magda,

    1. Oh please do :) Baby turnips, so precious, I wish I could find some here. Thanks Erin!

  2. I like the idea of combining turmeric and tahini... must try

  3. I love the look of the tahini-tumeric dressing you have used here - such a unique combination, I bet it would be delicious! Definitely saving to try out. Those fresh turnip greens and gooey fried haloumi pieces look pretty amazing too :)

    1. Thank you, Claudia. Hope you enjoy if you try it :)

  4. Got to your site via a comment made by a fellow mom on the FB forum HK moms. I'm so happy I followed the link and got here. your pics are beautiful and the food you're making is exactly like I like it: simple, full of flavors and loving its ingredients. Thanks for sharing your ideas (both food and just well... thoughts!)

    1. Dear Charlotte, thank you very much for your sweet comment. I'm glad you enjoy my food and thanks for your support!