This recipe was actually inspired by a lovely reader (hi Helen!) who emailed me recently to tell me about a dish she’d discovered, and it sounded so good I had to give it a go myself. Creamy pesto mushrooms and halloumi, served on toast like all good British things are (cheese, beans, even spaghetti).
Pesto – good.
Mushrooms – gooood.
Halloumi – goooooood.
What’s not to love?
As an added bonus, it couldn’t be simpler to make – everything’s cooked up in one pan. You can even use shop-bought pesto if you’d like to make it extra quick, though I made my own simple pesto mixture using fresh basil and nuts. I used pistachios, purely because the shop was out of pine nuts, but to be honest any nut works just fine. I also threw a few pumpkin seeds on top for an extra bit of crunch – I’ve been really getting into nuts and seeds lately (wow, I need a hobby).
I cooked my mushrooms in rapeseed oil. Apparently, rapeseed is the third most important crop grown in the UK, which I can believe – in the spring you can’t leave the house without seeing dozens of enormous, bright yellow fields (you can’t where I live, anyway). They’re absolutely gorgeous – one of my favourite springtime sights, alongside baby lambs and daffodils!
Rapeseed oil is always my go-to oil for cooking (whenever I just say ‘oil’ in a recipe, I’ve used rapeseed oil), but to be honest I’ve never given too much thought to its nutrition. I just use it because it’s got a light, fairly neutral flavour, and it has a high smoke point, meaning it’s really versatile and can be used for frying, roasting, etc.
But as it turns out, rapeseed oil contains less saturated fat than all other commonly used cooking oils, and is instead high in unsaturated fats. Replacing saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats contributes to the maintenance of normal cholesterol levels.
You can find out plenty more over on the Rapeseed Oil Benefits site, including lots of yummy recipes. They’re all pretty healthy, but look surprisingly delicious – healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring!
Do you use rapeseed oil in your cooking?
- 1 tbsp nuts (I used pistachios, but pine nuts work well too)
- Small handful fresh basil
- 150 g halloumi cheese, diced (~ 1 cup when diced)
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- ~ 8 medium chestnut mushrooms, diced
- 1 tbsp creme fraiche
- Black pepper
- 2 slices wholemeal toast
- To serve: pumpkin seeds or more pine nuts (optional)
Add the nuts and basil to a mini food processor, and blitz until well chopped.
Cook the diced halloumi in a dry frying pan for a few minutes on each side, over a medium heat. At first the halloumi will release some liquid, and once that has cooked off, it will become golden brown. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
Heat the rapeseed oil in the same frying pan, and add the diced mushrooms. Cook over a medium heat for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Turn the heat down low and return the halloumi to the pan, along with the basil mixture and the creme fraiche. Season generously with black pepper, and mix well until the creme fraiche has melted into the mushrooms.
Serve warm on wholemeal toast, topped with pumpkin seeds or extra pine nuts if desired.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.