Broccolini & Lentil Soup with Fried Halloumi in white bowl
Broccolini & Lentil Soup with Fried Halloumi

This is a warming, comforting and healthy bowl of soup with something special. If you aren’t familiar with halloumi, this Mediterranean cheese is dense and firm, and can stand high heat without melting into a puddle. Here, it is cubed and tossed in a skillet, crisping up nice and toasty for a deeply flavored garnish, akin to a crouton, but better. A note on the fresh herbs; I call for a mix of sage, thyme, parsley and basil, but you can use any combination of these, or just choose one herb. Also, make sure to use broccolini, sometimes called baby broccoli, and not rapini or broccoli rabe, which has a bitter flavor.

Broccolini & Lentil Soup with Fried Halloumi

Broccolini & Lentil Soup with Fried Halloumi in white bowl
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
This is a warming, comforting and healthy bowl of soup with something special. If you aren’t familiar with halloumi, this Mediterranean cheese is dense and firm, and can stand high heat without melting into a puddle. Here, it is cubed and tossed in a skillet, crisping up nice and toasty for a deeply flavored garnish, akin to a crouton, but better. A note on the fresh herbs; I call for a mix of sage, thyme, parsley and basil, but you can use any combination of these, or just choose one herb. Also, make sure to use broccolini, sometimes called baby broccoli, and not rapini or broccoli rabe, which has a bitter flavor.
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Course Soup
Servings 4

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium leek, cleaned, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 bunches baby broccoli, washed, tough ends trimmed, and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ¼ cup total of mixed fresh herbs, thyme, sage, parsley and basil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 or 9 ounces halloumi, plus extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • fresh lemon juice for finishing

Instructions
 

  • Melt the butter in a medium large saucepan and add the leeks, a pinch of salt and several grinds of fresh black pepper. Cook the leeks until they are soft, which should take about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli, garlic and tomato paste to the pot and cook, stirring for a minute or two. Add the lentils and herbs, then pour in 3 cups of the broth. Stir in one teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow the soup to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes.
  • Check the lentils for doneness, and continue to cook until they are soft. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. If there is not enough liquid, pour in a little more broth until you have a soupy consistency. Add lots more freshly cracked black pepper, then keep warm while you cook the halloumi.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the cubed halloumi and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. The halloumi is done once it has turned toasty brown.
  • To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with a squeeze of lemon juice, and garnish with the halloumi.
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