Melissa Hemsley is the kind of foodie you’d want as your best friend. The British cookbook author, cafe owner and holistic wellness advocate specializes in beautiful, carefree dishes that just make you feel good. Her latest cookbook, Eat Happy, is filled with quick recipes like the below, made with beautiful ingredients that are as fun to prep as they are to eat… 

A one-pan dish packed with crunch, freshness and spice. Quinoa is protein-rich and the black version, if you can get it, looks beautiful set against the herbs and salad leaves. Regular quinoa is just as good – but it needs 2 minutes less cooking time – or you could use red quinoa instead and cook for the same length of time as the black quinoa. The combination of spiced salty-sweet fried halloumi and chickpeas is unbeatable – you’ll be wanting to use this pairing with everything. This makes a bit extra and any leftovers make a great packed lunch.

Spiced Halloumi + Chickpeas with Black Quinoa Tabbouleh
serves 2


for the chickpeas:
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili flakes
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
250g halloumi, chopped into 1-inch cubes
2 tsp maple syrup

for the tabbouleh:
2 cups water or stock
1 cup black quinoa, rinsed well
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
1⁄2 cucumber, diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon
6 Tbsp extra-virgin
olive oil
3 large handfuls of salad leaves (watercress or rocket)
4 large handfuls of fresh parsley, stalks and leaves finely chopped
1 large handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
sea salt + black pepper

to serve:
1 small handful of pistachios or other nuts
1 small handful of pomegranate seeds or dried fruit


First make the quinoa for the tabbouleh. Pour the water or stock into a large, wide pan, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa and bring back up to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for about 17 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. (If the quinoa has been soaked first, simmer for 15 minutes). Uncover, fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside to allow to cool.

Meanwhile, place all the other tabbouleh ingredients except for the leaves and herbs in a large serving bowl and mix together.

Tip the cooked quinoa into the serving bowl, mix everything together. The quinoa will soak up the flavours as it starts to cool.

Wipe the pan dry, then melt the oil, add the spices and stir for a minute over a medium heat.

Turn up the heat, add the chickpeas and halloumi, tossing in the spicy oil, and fry for 45 seconds until golden brown. Toss again and fry the halloumi on the other side for another 30 seconds. Drizzle over the maple syrup, add a pinch of salt and leave to bubble for 30 seconds. Toss once more to coat in the salty-sweet oil.

Mix the tabbouleh with the salad leaves and herbs and then add the halloumi and chickpeas. Serve scattered with pistachios or other nuts, pomegranate seeds or dried fruit, if you like.

Check out Hemsley’s fridge inside her new East London abode
— learn what we discovered here!

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