Roasted chickpea, halloumi & red onion salad with spinach & giant cous cous

So it was my first day back at work today. It was OK. I’ll admit I was anxious about facing my work load but once I’d met with my manager and my PA and worked out a sensible plan for the next two weeks, I felt much better.

I’d also had a really helpful conversation with an old friend from church the day before. He had reached out and offered to help me think about what might make going back to work easier. I really appreciated that because he had his own life to live but took some time out of his busy schedule to help me.

I’d written about four pages of notes last night on how I could improve my work life balance and I tried to put some of those in place today. It did involve a bit of saying ‘no’ to other people and a bit more ‘yes’ to myself. I got up at seven – a real luxury. I had breakfast. I planned the lunch for today (chickpea and halloumi traybake from the Roasting Tin). I was able to take a short walk and read a chapter of my Harry Potter book. It felt like a really positive start to the day.

There was a lot of work waitng for me when I finally logged on but I took a deep breath and spend a few hours working out what the clinical priorities were for the next few days.

my starting point…


  • 1 tbspolive oil(plus more to oil the tin)
  • 200gwholewheat giant couscous(or 300g, see intro)
  • 400mlvegetable stock(or 600ml, see intro)
  • 250ghalloumi, cubed
  • 400g tin ofchickpeas
  • 1red onion, sliced
  • 1 tspsmoked paprika
  • 100gfrozen peas(optional)
  • 100gfresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 15gfresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbspextra virgin olive oil
  • juice from half a lemon(or a whole lemon)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan).
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil into the corners of a medium sized roasting tin (this will help to stop the couscous from sticking) and add 200g of giant wholewheat couscous and 400ml of vegetable stock.
  3. In a large bowl, toss 250g of cubed halloumi, a 400g tin of drained chickpeas and 1 sliced red onion with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika. Add to the tin, transfer to the oven and cook for 40 minutes.
  4. If using frozen peas (100g), defrost in the microwave or soak for a few minutes in boiling water, then drain.
  5. When the roasting time is up, remove the tin from the oven and add 100g of roughly chopped spinach, 15g of chopped coriander, the peas if using, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the juice from ½ a lemon (I usually use a whole lemon). Mix well, season to taste, eat immediately and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

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