If you need an excuse to wake up on a Sunday morning after an especially rough, long week… look no further. This Roasted Cauliflower, Avocado and Fried Halloumi Breakfast Stack with Cherry Salsa is a veritable party in your mouth! It’s a hearty gluten-free breakfast or brunch recipe with tons of delicious flavors! A deliciously salty and soft slice of fried Halloumi served with creamy avocados, roasted cauliflower and red pepper, and a fresh and herby cilantro mint cherry salsa!
Last week was a rough one for me! I got sick and had the flu which really put a dent on things that I had planned for myself, and I was looking forward to the weekend, if only because I had planned this amazing brunch for us on Sunday. But of course this recipe can be easily adapted for a quick, healthy, weekday breakfast too. Plus, I have given a few tips in the post to prep ahead for this recipe so that it takes even less time to put it together in the morning.
Roasting cauliflower and red pepper is a fantastic way to coax out incredible flavor from otherwise bland vegetables. Roasted cauliflower with those caramelized bits is sweeter, tender and more buttery, while roasted red pepper adds another layer of succulent and smoky flavor. Top that with creamy avocado and pan fried halloumi cheese – you’re banging on the pearly gates of flavor heaven. BUT, I didn’t stop there. I topped this delicious stack with a perfectly poached egg (packing a golden runny yolk inside), and a fresh cilantro mint cherry salsa! Flavor heaven is now open for business.
I had first introduced Mr K to halloumi cheese back in 2009 when we ordered a halloumi tapas dish at a restaurant in Sydney, Australia. Even though I remember him enjoying it at the time, he had no memory of it all these years later. So to re-introduce him to the wondrous flavors of halloumi cheese, I decided to use it as part of an amazing weekend brunch.
Halloumi is a firm, brined cheese with a high melting point, so it can easily be fried or grilled. It has a delightfully savory, salty flavor with a creamy texture when prepared this way. I knew I wanted to create a recipe with pan fried halloumi cheese (which is my absolute favorite way of preparing halloumi), and creamy avocado. The salty and creamy halloumi makes for the perfect pairing with creamy avocado. And instead of toast, I made roasted cauliflower “steak” to serve as the base of this breakfast/brunch. It transforms this recipe into an awesome gluten-free breakfast or brunch as well! Plus, it adds plenty of flavor too of course!
I stacked the roasted cauliflower, roasted red pepper, fried halloumi cheese and a poached egg, and then topped it with a fresh, herby, zingy cherry salsa. This fried halloumi breakfast recipe can easily be adapted for 2 or more. The only time consuming part is poaching the eggs, but you can serve this without the egg, or maybe with a soft boiled or fried egg instead.
Prepping for the roasted cauliflower, avocado and fried halloumi breakfast
The roasted cauliflower and red pepper can be made ahead of time, and to make it even easier, you can use store bought roasted pepper.
I pitted the cherries a day ahead as well, and kept them in an air-tight container in the fridge.
On the day of
I just brush the cauliflower and roasted red pepper with some olive oil and pop them in the oven on low heat, just to heat them up in time to serve breakfast.
For the cherry salsa – the herbs and balsamic vinegar were added while I was preparing the halloumi, so the cherries and herbs will be crunchy, sweet and fresh with all the flavor of cilantro and mint.
The halloumi cheese – can be either pan fried or grilled for this recipe. Once prepared, I just place the halloumi cheese in the oven along with the cauliflower and red pepper, until the eggs are ready. Halloumi cheese is best eaten warm, so it helps to keep them in a warm oven until you’re ready to serve this delicious breakfast/brunch.
When the eggs have been prepared (I love it poached, but soft boiled eggs are easier to cook in bulk), you only have to slice up the avocado and plate the cauliflower, avocado and fried halloumi breakfast!
Since halloumi cheese is decently salty, you won’t need to add salt to the avocado or egg, because the seasoning should be just right with the halloumi cheese.
This is an incredibly vibrant and hearty gluten-free breakfast or brunch recipe. You can simplify it with just the cauliflower, avocado and fried halloumi for a nutritious breakfast, or add an egg and the cilantro mint cherry salsa for a spectacular weekend brunch!
If you prefer a vegetarian option, you can skip the egg for this cauliflower, avocado and fried halloumi breakfast and it’ll still be amazingly flavorful. But I do love a good runny yolk which also adds a “sauce” to this recipe and a wonderful richness.
- 5 - 6 oz Halloumi cheese, cut into 4 slices
- 1 cauliflower head (you might not need the entire cauliflower head)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 avocados
- 4 poached eggs (or fried eggs)
- Olive oil
- Fresh lemon
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1 lb fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp chopped mint
- 2 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut the base of the cauliflower to remove the stem. Place the cut side down, and cut 4 x ¾ inch thick slices (to resemble “cauliflower steak”). Place the cauliflower slices on the baking tray. Brush both sides with oil and season each slice with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Cut the red pepper in half and remove the core and stem. Cut each half into half again (4 quarters) and coat each piece with some olive oil. Place each piece, skin side up on the same baking tray and sprinkle with some salt.
- Roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until cauliflower is slightly charred on both sides, and the red pepper has charred blisters on the skin. For cauliflower - flip them over half way through roasting. Red pepper does not require flipping.
- Once the vegetables have roasted, remove the red pepper pieces with some tongs and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to let the pieces steam for a few minutes. Remove the skin when it’s cool enough to handle. Cut each quarter in to half and store in an airtight container/jar, in the fridge.
- Let the cauliflower cool down, and place them in an airtight container in the fridge until the following morning.
- If using immediately, keep the vegetables in a warm oven until ready to use.
- Set oven to warm. Place the cauliflower and roasted red pepper on a lined baking tray and place in the warm oven to heat up.
- Place a nonstick pan on medium high heat and heat a drizzle of olive oil. When the pan is hot, place the halloumi cheese slices in the pan. Pan fry each side for about 1 ½ - 2 minutes, until each side is golden brown. Transfer the halloumi slices to the warm oven until needed.
- Fry, poach or half boil the eggs to your liking at this point.
- When ready to serve, cut the avocados in half, remove the seed and pick out the flesh with a spoon. Slice each half into slices and squeeze lemon juice over them generously to completely coat.
- The day before - pit and quarter the fresh cherries and store them in an air tight container until the following day.
- On the day of - chop the cilantro, mint and onions. Add these, and the balsamic vinegar and honey to the quartered cherries. Mix and season with salt. Set aside in the fridge until needed.
- Place the warm cauliflower slice on each plate. Top with slices of avocados (about ½ of a small avocado per person). Next, two slices of roasted red pepper, followed by the warm pan fried halloumi cheese.
- Finally place the egg on top followed by the cherry salsa.
- Optional - drizzle extra olive oil, honey and black pepper. Enjoy!
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