Pasta salad with grilled shrimp and halloumi

A big, bright bowl of deliciousness!

This incredible meal is tied for first place this summer along with these fully-loaded souvlaki bowls. It’s super quick and easy to grill up the toppings for the cooked pasta, but if you like you can roast the shrimp, halloumi and vegetables in the oven at 400F on a parchment-lined baking tray instead, or cook them in a heavy-duty frying pan over medium heat. We enjoy this dish hot or warm, but it can also be refrigerated after preparation and served cold. I am a big fan of pickled red onion but you could certainly use raw or grilled red onion if you prefer. Orzo is great for pasta salads because it cooks so quickly, but other small shapes would also be fine. Last but not least, you can speed things up by using your favourite bottled Greek salad dressing, if you like.


For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) finely-crumbled feta (optional)

For the salad:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) mushrooms (in 3/4 inch / 2 cm pieces)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped orange, yellow or red pepper (in 3/4 inch / 2 cm pieces)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped zucchini (in 3/4 inch / 2 cm pieces)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) Greek dressing, divided
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 250 g package halloumi cheese, cut in 1/4 inch (6 mm) slices
  • 1 cup (250 mL) uncooked orzo
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped spinach
  • Fresh mint or parsley, chopped and lemon wedges, to serve


  • Combine all the salad dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight lid and shake to combine well. Re-shake the dressing each time you add some to the salad’s components.
  • Preheat barbeque to medium (350F) and lightly grease a grill pan.
  • Put the sliced red onion in a small bowl. Heat the red wine vinegar (don’t bring to a boil) and pour over the onions. Let sit for 10 minutes then drain off the liquid.
  • Place the prepared vegetables in a bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of the Greek dressing.
  • Place the shrimp in a small bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the Greek dressing. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
  • Place the halloumi slices on a plate and brush with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the Greek dressing.
  • In a small saucepan, bring water or broth to a boil. Add orzo and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the pasta is al dente (tender-firm), about 8 – 10 minutes.
  • While the orzo cooks, grill the vegetables until tender but not mushy. Remove from grill and set aside.
  • Place the cooked orzo and any remaining liquid into a large bowl. Immediately stir in chopped spinach and let it wilt. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the Greek dressing and set aside.
  • Once orzo and vegetables are cooked, grill the shrimp and halloumi, removing each element when it is cooked. Shrimp should be pink and curled; halloumi should be golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  • To serve, you can either gently stir together the cooked pasta and spinach, vegetables, shrimp and halloumi or divide the pasta and spinach mixture between two or three bowls and top with the items which were grilled. Garnish with pickled onions and chopped herbs plus a wedge of lemon.

Serves 2 – 3.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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