Pan-Seared Queso Blanco Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil Vinaigrette



If you like saganaki, this is for you. It is kind of like the fried halloumi, but the queso blanco has a different flavor character. This will make 2 vegetarian dinner salads, 4 side salads, or probably enough appetizer for 6.


  • 8 ounces queso blanco cheese (slice 1/4 inch thick)
  • 2 medium heirloom tomatoes (I used one red, one yellow)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • Cornstarch (for dredging)
  • 3 cups arugula or baby lettuce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons basil paste


Step 1

Whisk together dressing in a small bowl and set aside.

Step 2

Slice queso blanco into 1/4-inch thick slices and dredge in cornstarch; shake off excess.

Step 3

Place lettuces on a salad platter.

Step 4

Thinly slice tomatoes and set aside.

Step 5

In a nonstick skillet, heat half of the butter/oil/garlic paste. whisking it together and fry half the cheese in this for a couple minutes on each side, or just till it browns lightly but not very melted.

Step 6

Alternate cheese slices with tomato slices on the lettuce.

Step 7

Repeat with remaining cheese, using the extra oil/butter/garlic.

Step 8

Arrange those with tomatoes on the platter.

Step 9

Drizzle with dressing.

Step 10

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.


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