Seared Halloumi with Tomato & Fresh Herbs
A craveable dish made from seared Halloumi cheese, and piled high with juicy tomatoes and a fresh herb topping. A guaranteed crowd pleaser! Serve on its own, or with cooked grains or greens for a more complete meal. Gluten Free. <jump to recipe>
Much like getting re-acquainted with a childhood best friend, summer is the time of year where my love for Halloumi cheese comes out in full force. This sturdy, squeaky cheese is pretty addictive, let me warn you. And unlike a lot of other cheeses, Halloumi can hold it’s own under the heat.
Since Halloumi is best served warm - either pan fried or grilled - it’s a great vegetarian option to satiate even the most meatiest of meat-eaters at barbecues and cookouts. We’ve been doing a lot of entertaining this summer, and if there’s one thing that rivals the attention our new rooftop patio gets, it’s definitely this dish. We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve served it, but it always disappears in minutes!
When I first dreamed up this recipe, I was inspired by a Caprese salad. Layers of juicy summer tomatoes provide a refreshing contrast to the salty cheese. Fresh herbs brighten the dish and add a pop of color. But rather than settling on a single herb, I like to whip up a quick and easy topping made from mint, parsley, lemon and capers. It’s fresh, zesty and totally complementary. You’ll want to spoon it over the plate with abandon, and you totally should.
The dish can be served on it’s own as a side or accompaniment - or if you want a more complete meal, you can serve it with cooked grains or greens of your choice. We typically serve it with farro, spelt, or brown rice, depending what we have on hand. The recipe makes for a generous amount of herb topping, which can be stirred into the grains for an extra boost of flavor.
If Halloumi is new to you, look for it in the specialty cheese section of your local grocery. It’s often near the feta cheese, and typically sold in pre-packaged blocks. The most traditional Halloumi is made from a combination of sheep and goat’s milk (not cow’s milk). If you can’t find Halloumi, you can substitute with another grillable cheese. Just make sure it has a high melting point, and if it’s less salty than Halloumi, you may wish to add a pinch of salt to the herb topping.
SEARED HALLOUMI WITH TOMATO & FRESH HERBS
SERVES 4 (GLUTEN FREE)
- 250 g block of Halloumi cheese
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed)
- 3 large tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
- 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, chopped
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- For serving (optional): Cooked grains or greens
- Slice both the Halloumi cheese and fresh tomatoes into ¼-½” thick pieces.
- Prepare the fresh herb topping. In a small bowl, mix together parsley, mint, green onions, capers, lemon zest and black pepper. Set aside. Note: The lemon juice and olive oil are best added immediately before serving.
- Heat a large skillet pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil and swirl to coat pan. Add cheese. Cook for ~2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from heat. On a serving plate, layer cheese and tomatoes.
- Add the olive oil and lemon juice to the herb topping, then spoon over the cheese and tomatoes. Serve immediately, on it’s own - or with cooked grains or greens (if desired).
This recipe calls for searing the Halloumi over a stove, which is easiest for year-round cooking. However, it can also be cooked on the grill. You can either use a heavy cast iron pan set over the BBQ, or put the cheese directly on the grill. If opting for the latter, rubbing the grill with a bit of oil will help ensure the cheese doesn’t stick.