Are you looking for more excuses to use halloumi at home? We get it. Once you try halloumi cheese, its salty deliciousness will imprint on your forever. It’s not only the flavour that is seriously addictive, it’s also that luscious squeaky texture which is not replicable with many other cheeses. In this article, we look at what goes well with halloumi cheese, from textures to flavour combinations that work. We profile some food ideas which you can draw from again and again to keep you in #halloumiheaven.
First of all, what does halloumi taste like?
The flavour and texture of halloumi largely depends on the type of milk it is made with. A cow’s milk halloumi tends to be softer and with a milder texture, whilst goat and sheep’s milk varieties tend to be a little denser in texture. A buffalo milk halloumi is creamy in texture and with an earthier flavour. Most also have a salty finish due to the brining process. Olympus Halloumi has less salt than other varieties.
As halloumi grows in popularity, there are many great recipes coming out now using this deliciously golden, squeaky cheese. We love the article 9 New Ways to Serve Halloumi from the BBC’s Good Food. As well, this yummy offering from Olive Magazine 31 Halloumi Recipes and Expert Guide to Cooking Halloumi will have you busy in the kitchen. Plus, you can check out our own halloumi recipes for inspiration.
But what we hope to do in this article, is give you some go-to ideas for constructing your own recipes at home, with simple combinations which we know work to enhance halloumi’s flavour and texture.
What textures work well with it?
Before we move on to flavour combinations, it’s worth noting the textures which universally work well with halloumi. It’s best to stick with a texture which compliments, rather than competes with halloumi. Regardless of what you pair it with, you want to still feel that full lusciousness on each bite. Hard textures from crackers, nuts or hard fruits and vegetables may not work as well as soft thin breads, soft fruits and grilled vegetables.
What goes well with halloumi cheese flavours?
Let’s look at some of the tried and true flavours which pair so well with halloumi.
One of the best pairings for halloumi cheese has to be lemon. Lemon is tangy and strong enough to balance the salt. It also brings out the flavour of the halloumi. You will see halloumi fried and served simply with a slice of lemon for drizzling at most Greek-Cyriot festivals like our Brisbane Paniyiri.
Mint is such a perfect marriage for halloumi’s saltiness because like lemon, it is pungent and fresh. In Cyprus during the Middle Ages, farmers began to use mint leaves to wrap the halloumi to help preserve it. The mint flavour would also improve the taste of the cheese. Today, many halloumi varieties are minted simply for the flavour. This includes Olympus Halloumi. Add more fresh mint to your halloumi salads for a greater burst of mint.
You may not have tried watermelon with halloumi before but it is a very traditional accompaniment to halloumi in Cyprus. It is usually served in the summertime for breakfast or dessert. It is equally lovely fried in the same way or as part of a salad or appetizer. Why does watermelon work so well? Firstly, the colours look amazing together. But the combination of salty and sweet, squeaky and juicy really work.
The strong sweetness of honey beautifully balances halloumi. Simply brush your halloumi with honey before frying until golden, drizzling with more honey to serve. Or use honey as the base for a delicious dressing or marinade to accompany your halloumi dish. We also love smoked honey with Olympus Halloumi. Try a couple of squishy slices of local honey-fried halloumi with some beautiful preservative-free bacon, avocado, grilled tomato and a perfectly poached egg.
Pomegranate works beautifully with halloumi, not only because of the contrast in flavour but because of the amazing textural contrast. A mouthful of soft halloumi and a sweet pop of juicy pomegranate is almost heaven itself.
Halloumi is a great meat substitute as it is very satisfying, and is enjoyed by vegetarians as a protein source. Olympus uses non-animal rennet, and if you’re vegetarian, this is worth checking on with the product you are sourcing. Halloumi goes really well with grilled vegetables like capsicum, mushroom, eggplant or zucchini. Make a gorgeous vegetable stack or delicious halloumi-vegetable skewers, and you won’t even miss the meat!
Chorizo’s spicy umami flavours are the perfect compliment to halloumi. Simply cube/slice it all and fry until golden for a simple snack that we guarantee will not last long. You can also make skewers for the BBQ, or construct the most divine halloumi-chorizo wrap for a lunchtime feast.
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Check out some of our latest halloumi recipes and ideas
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Our shakshuka recipe nests eggs in a rich tomato sauce accompanied by spicy chorizo and all topped with slices of Olympus Halloumi.