‘Is cheese bad for you?’ is the burning question that keeps resurfacing. So here’s the facts according to dietitian Sarah Ryan. She said some cheeses get a bad press for their levels of sodium and fat when recent evidence suggests otherwise. “Sodium is linked to high blood pressure, but not all sodium-containing foods are created equal,” she told Dairy Discovery Zone. “You may be relieved to know that cheese contributes only eight percent of the sodium in our diets. The fact is, cheese can fit into any healthy eating plan.”
Her advice on fat is just as surprising. “Though cheese has saturated fat, which raises LDL cholesterol or ‘bad cholesterol’, it may not affect your cholesterol levels at all,” she said. “New research suggests full-fat dairy products (including cheese) may not be associated with heart disease risk. In fact, some studies suggest full-fat dairy may reduce risk.” She said cheese (along with milk and yogurt) should be part of your dairy three a day, with adults consuming a 30g portion daily. With that said, here’s a recipe from food box service Gousto.co.uk, which serves two and takes 40 minutes to prepare.
Halloumi, Tomato And Black Rice Salad
Try this Middle Eastern (Israel) cuisine as a nourishing lunch. It’s deliciously tangy, sweet and salty at once.
80g black rice
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
225g cypriot halloumi, cut into cubes
50g wild rocket
30g blanched almonds
250g cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 spring onion, finely chopped
10g mint leaves, roughly chopped
Olive oil, pepper, salt, sugar, vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 160C (140C fan) / 350F/ Gas 4. Place cherry tomatoes on baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and one tablespoon of sugar. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until they start to wrinkle.
2. Cook black rice over a high heat for 30 minutes or until tender (it will still have a slight bite to it when cooked). Drain and rinse under cold water until cooled. Return to the (cooled) pan and set aside.
3. Place almonds on a baking tray and bake in oven for five minutes or until toasted. Set aside and cool before chopping roughly.
4. Combine the pomegranate molasses, garlic, one teaspoon of sugar, splash of warm water and a generous drizzle of olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. This is your pomegranate molasses dressing.
5. Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil over a medium heat. Add halloumi and cook for three to five minutes or until golden, turning occasionally. Set aside until ready to serve.
6. Add pomegranate molasses dressing, spring onion and mint to the rice pan and give everything a good mix. Wash and dry the wild rocket then gently tumble it through the black rice. Serve the fried halloumi cubes and roasted tomatoes over the rocket and black rice salad. Garnish with toasted almonds.
Recipe and image: Gousto.co.uk