AND A BLOOD ORANGE & SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE
I’m currently on a blood orange kick. But when I realized I wanted to feature citrus, specifically this gorgeous variety of oranges, I was slightly challenged to come up with something that fell more on the savory side of things, and most importantly, didn’t put a cut of meat in the spotlight. (Many of the savory recipes that I stumbled on using oranges, used the fruit and its juices to spoon over cooked chicken or pork.) Well, I’m eliminating the meat here, and doing a little more with the fruit by turning it into a brightly flavored vinaigrette, then pairing it with pulsed beets that I roasted until tender, and chunks of seared, crunchy, salty, squeaky, halloumi cheese. The slices of the fresh fruit along with the sweet, caramelized beets pair so well with the salty and tangy cheese. I’d say, that’s the most important thing about this bowl. Today I’m serving it on top of a bed of cooked supergrains (which is just a pre-mixed bag of uncooked red quinoa, white quinoa, millet, and buckwheat that I found at the store.) But you can certainly replace the supergrains with any alternative grain: brown rice, quinoa, farro…anything. Replace the arugula with mixed greens or kale! Add creamy slices of avocado! Add crunchy roasted almonds or cashews! That is the beauty of a buddha bowl, right? They’re highly personalizable.
However you decide to accessorize, this will be a satisfying Buddha Bowl packed with flavor.
WHY BLOOD ORANGES?: Blood oranges are a little different in flavor than say, a naval orange, or tangerine. Along with their raspberry color, they also have a tinge of raspberry tartness as well.
Halloumi Talk: Halloumi Cheese is one of my absolute favorite cheeses. Someone once asked me to explain what halloumi was. I’d say, if fresh pulled mozzarella and feta made a baby, it would make halloumi. It’s an unripened goat and sheep’s milk cheese, meaning the cheese curds aren’t formed using rennet, which makes it a true, vegetarian cheese. (Rennet is usually curdled milk collected from the linings of baby cow stomachs..I know, way too much information) But halloumi cheese is just curdled using the lactic acid already in the milk. Then it’s aged in a brine solution just like feta cheese. The characteristic that I love about it though, which many other cheeses don’t possess, is its high melting point. That means it makes a great cheese for frying or searing. The result is a deliciously crunchy, caramelized outer crust, and a soft center that won’t quickly melt into nothingness.) It is my tofu of cheeses, and that’s exactly how we handle it here, and I think you will love it!
Here’s how I made them:
Makes 2 Bowls:
4 medium beets, skins and roots removed, quartered
3 cups cooked grains (brown rice, super food, quinoa)
1 cup fresh arugula, or other leafy green
1 blood orange, sliced, rinds removed (about 8 slices)-you can also use regular oranges
8 ounces of halloumi, cubed
1-2 Tbsp olive oil for the skillet
Blood Orange Shallot Vinaigrette:
Zest and juice of 1 blood orange (should equal ~1/4 cup of juice)
2 tsp minced shallot
2 tsp country mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
2 tsp honey, or agave
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Roast the Beets: On a baking sheet, spread out the peeled and quartered beets, and roast in a 425 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and then pulse in a food processor or blender until minced and chunky–do not completely puree, unless you want hummus (Which isn’t a bad idea either actually!) Set aside.
Brown the Halloumi: While the beets are roasting, sear the halloumi. On high heat, heat a large skillet. Add olive oil, and add the cubes of halloumi. Let sear for 30 seconds on each side. Flip cubes over using tongs making sure all sides are seared. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the Dressing: In a blender add the orange juice, shallot, country mustard, honey, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until creamy.
Plate the Bowl: Toss the grains with the arugula or mixed greens and divide between two bowls. Divide the pulsed beets between the two bowls. Add the slices of blood orange. Top with the seared halloumi, and drizzle on the Blood Orange and Shallot Vinaigrette and serve.