Grilled haloumi, grapes and red rice

Grilled haloumi, grapes and red rice

Real Food by Mike
Alan Benson

This dish is best served hot while the cheese is still slightly soft and stretchy – when it’s cold it becomes like rubber. You can use a barbecue or a chargrill pan to cook the haloumi and capsicum. When grilling I always prefer to use wood and charcoal, as these flavours can’t be replicated and give a distinct character to the dish. The grapes you want to use are those picked during harvest time, from the very end of summer into the first couple of weeks of autumn. Look for sweet muscat grapes or concord grapes for a sweet punch.


Quantity Ingredient
200g haloumi
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced into rings
sea salt
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
60ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
125g red rice
1 red capsicum
2 preserved vine leaves
180g red or white grapes
1/2 trevisiano or radicchio, leaves broken off and torn lengthways
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, sprigs picked


  1. Soak the haloumi in cold water in the refrigerator overnight. (This takes away the intense saltiness, which increases when you cook it.)
  2. Put the onion slices in a small bowl, sprinkle them with with sea salt and leave for 10 minutes. Pat dry and add the sherry vinegar to cure the onion. Add the olive oil and combine to make the dressing.
  3. Cook the red rice by boiling it in water until tender (about 25 minutes). Red rice cooks best if you boil it, rather than using the absorption method, as it has a husk much like brown rice and benefits from being boiled and rinsed.
  4. Grill the capsicum to blacken the skin. Remove it from the grill, put it in a plastic bag, allow to cool, then rub off the black skin. Cut the capsicum into strips.
  5. Wrap the drained haloumi in the vine leaves and secure with toothpicks. On a hot grill, cook the haloumi for 3 minutes on each side – the vine leaves will turn a lovely ash colour and have a smoky flavour. Remove from the grill, set aside and keep warm.
  6. Dress the red rice in the onion vinaigrette. Halve the grapes to expose the lovely insides and add them to the rice, along with the capsicum strips. Lay the trevisiano leaves on a platter and spoon over the rice mix. Cut the hot haloumi into wedges and place on the rice and trevisiano. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and the parsley leaves.

Medicinal Benefit

  • Grapes contain a substance called resveratrol, which helps protect the arterial lining, reducing the risk of heart disease. They also contain a certain type of tannin that binds to cancer-causing toxins in the colon, thereby offering some protection from inflammatory bowel disease, certain cancers and diverticulitis. As well as all this, they have a particularly high concentration of antioxidants.
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