I feel like halloumi is having a moment. It seems to be one of those cheeses that is suddenly popping up everywhere I turn and to be honest, I’m wondering why it hasn’t picked up momentum sooner. It’s not like it’s a new food, but it’s finally getting the spotlight it deserves. As a vegetarian, I think it’s a fantastic ingredient because it has a heartiness that is hard to beat.
What is halloumi cheese?
Halloumi originated in Cyprus, a country in the middle east. It was traditionally made with goat and sheep’s milk but a lot of the halloumi you’ll find in the United States is made with cow’s milk. Look for goat and sheep’s milk if you can find it! There is a Greek market near my house that sells it and it’s actually cheaper to buy it there compared to the grocery store!
What does halloumi cheese taste like?
If you’ve ever had a cheese curd, halloumi also has that squeakiness. (If you’re unfamiliar with the “squeakiness” of cheese then you’re clearly not from the midwest.) It’s very salty, like feta but the texture is very firm and not crumbly. And like feta, Halloumi cheese doesn’t really melt.
These halloumi sandwiches are like a grown-up grilled cheese. I absolutely loved these and Alex and I agreed that we’ll be eating these often!
How do you cook halloumi?
I like pan-frying it on the stove. Halloumi doesn’t melt, but it gets deliciously crispy. I recommend using a non-stick skillet so it’s easier to flip. Just a few minutes on each side will give you golden brown halloumi that is crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside.
These grilled halloumi sandwiches are a simple but tasty vegetarian dinner recipe!
- 4 ciabatta or whole wheat buns
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 8oz package of halloumi, thinly sliced into 8 pieces.
- 1 large tomato
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze or pesto (optional)
- Brush the inside of the buns with a bit of olive oil. I actually used a spray olive oil to lightly coat the buns.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet or non-stick grill pan over medium heat. Place the buns cut side down on the pan while it heats up for 2-3 minutes. The buns should be just slightly toasted.
- Place the halloumi slices in the pan in a single layer. (If your pan is small, you can do this in batches.)
- Cook the halloumi for 2 minutes or until lightly browned then flip and continue to cook for 2 minutes until both sides are golden brown.
- Top each sandwich with a slice of tomato and two pieces of halloumi.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze or pesto, if desired. Alex liked his plain, I liked mine with balsamic.
I’ve tried grilling halloumi on a cast iron grill pan, a cast iron skillet, and a non-stick skillet and I got the best results with the non-stick skillet. A cast iron pan can work but the halloumi is more likely to stick and it can melt if it’s heated for too long. I’d recommend a non-stick pan, if possible.
Keywords: Grilled Halloumi Sandwich
I picked up a bottle of balsamic glaze from Trader Joe’s, which is great to keep on hand. You can make your own by heating balsamic vinegar on the stove until it thickens. You can also just drizzle balsamic vinegar on your sandwich if you prefer. I really liked the subtly sweet and tang combined with the salty halloumi. Alex prefers his plain so if you don’t have any balsamic on hand, don’t worry!
This would also delicious with pesto! Simply smear a tablespoon of pesto on the top of your bun before assembling your sandwich!
Side dish ideas for halloumi sandwiches
What’s your favorite type of cheese? Have you ever had halloumi?