Meatless BBQ: Halloumi Cheese Three Ways

YUMWhile any red-blooded foodie enjoys a veggie burger now and again, it can get tiresome to keep chowing down on the same prepackaged bulgar patty as meat-eaters feast on a vast array of grilled options from shrimp skewers to pulled pork, salmon sides and steaks. What is the vegetarian-minded BBQer to do amidst the seemingly endless parade of imitation-meat options? Sick of soy and tired of tempeh, I’ve turned to halloumi cheese as my protein source of delicious grill flavor.

Halloumi has a high melting point which allows it to keep its shape and firm consistency when cooked. It is a fresh cheese, prepared much like mozzarella from goat’s or sheep’s milk. While it comes from Cyprus and is common throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, I first encountered it when I lived in Brazil where it is served as a beach snack. A good place to look for Halloumi is a Mediterranian or Middle Eastern grocery, but some supermarkets have started to carry the cheese. I’ve even found it at my farmer’s market, where one of the vendors is like-minded when it comes to grilling. Preparations after the jump.

Brazilian Beach Skewers

Brick of Halloumi
Olive Oil
Molasses heated and/or mixed with some water to form the consistency of syrup
Dried Oregano in a shallow dish
Wooden Skewers

I know this sounds weird, but it is ridiculously delicious. Fire up the grill, soak the skewers in some water for 20 minutes. Cut the halloumi into cubes with each face about the size of a postage stamp. Slide the halloumi pieces onto the soaked skewers, brush the grill with olive oil and grill the cheese until it is golden brown with black grill marks. When you have finished, drizzle the molasses mixture on top and roll in the oregano.

Halloumi, Watermelon and Mint Salad

Halloumi brick, cut into 1/2-3/4 inch thick medallions and grilled
Half a watermelon
2 handfuls of mint leaves
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt + pepper

This is a traditional Cypriot flavor combination that tastes incredible. Cube equal parts grilled halloumi and watermelon and toss in a bowl with torn mint leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and honey.

Halloumi Sandwich

The combination of tomato, cucumber and feta is classic in Greco-Turkish cooking and this sandwich is an opportunity to play with that. I would brush crusty bread with olive oil and balsamic, grill it along with the halloumi steaks (and maybe even some pieces of eggplant). Top the sandwich stack with tomato and cucumber slices and basil leaves.


Photo Credit Salimfadhley under a GNU Free Documentation License

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About the Author

I am a big fan of food. I am not a big fan of endocrine disrupting or carcinogenic compounds in my food. I will probably write a lot about that here.
  • Jen DW

    You’ve inspired me to make some Haloumi today! It will be my first non-mozzarella cheese. There’s a recipe for it in “Home Cheesemaking” by Ricki Carroll.

  • Levi Novey

    Mmm… Sounds good to me. Have you ever tried asparagus rafts on the grill? Those can be good too.

  • David A.

    These look great. Any pointers on where to find halloumi in or around Berkeley?

  • I adore halloumi cheese! Can’t wait to try these recipes. I get my halloumi in Philadelphia at Whole Foods Market, in case anyone is looking for it. :)

  • Eliza D

    You can buy it at the middle eastern grocery store on the corner of University and san pablo in Berkeley

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