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- 1 1/4 cups (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves
- 3/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and/or pear tomatoes
- 12 ounces Halloumi cheese, cut crosswise into 2-inch-thick slices
- 12 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Combine mint, 3/4 cup basil, Parmesan, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, and pine nuts in processor. Blend until smooth. Season pesto with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Thread tomatoes onto skewers. Brush with 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt. Grill skewers until tomato skins crack, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Grill Halloumi until golden, 2 minutes per side. Transfer cheese to platter.
Remove tomatoes from skewers and scatter over cheese. Top with dollops of pesto. Sprinkle with sliced basil and serve.
Nutritional ContentOne serving contains the following: Calories (kcal) 464.6 %Calories from Fat 78.7 Fat (g) 40.6 Saturated Fat (g) 16.1 Cholesterol (mg) 44.1 Carbohydrates (g) 5.6 Dietary Fiber (g) 1.6 Total Sugars (g) 2.5 Net Carbs (g) 4.0 Protein (g) 20.5 Sodium (mg) 446.2Reviews Section
Halloumi Traybake with Pesto Rice & Roasted Vegetables
A delicious and hearty vegetarian sheetpan / tray bake dinner! Caramelized roasted sweet potato, mushrooms and peppers with pesto rice, topped with grilled halloumi. Everything comes together easily in one big roasting dish for a simple dinner.
Oh, this traybake, I love it. Mr. Veggie loves it. You’re going to love it too.
So comforting, so veg packed, so many tastes and textures. So much going on without needing to make a load of different things in different pans.
- Big rounds of sweet potato which are soft and melty on the inside.
- Salty, squeaky halloumi that’s crispy on top
- Pesto rice
- Balsamic roasted onions, peppers and mushrooms dotted around
Though it adapts to the contents of your fridge and to your favourite foods. There is no need to follow the recipe perfectly and it always turns out great.
I said in the blurb there that it’s a simple dinner, which it is, but it’s not quick. It’s going to be a little over an hour start to finish, but a lot of that time is hands off.
That is the joy of the sheet pan dinner / tray bake / whatever you refer to it as. You dip in and out of it, and the timings don’t need to be followed to the letter. It suits some situations well.
Like when there are unpredictable kids to supervise. Or when the kids are in bed and there is a glass of wine and someone to chat with.
To make this as easily as possible you would need a few things to hand that you may not always have available:
- Precooked rice. 250g or 1 cup. That is just the amount you’d get from a microwave rice pouch so feel free to use one of those to speed things along. If you’re planning your menu ahead, just make a meal using rice the night before and make extra.
- Ready made pesto, I like the fresh stuff from the deli over jarred but that’s up to you. Use your fave. Make your own if you want to and have time (I have a zillion pesto recipes right here.)
- Bottle of balsamic glaze. If this isn’t in your cupboard already, you can just use balsamic vinegar. See the recipe notes for more info.
Additions & Substitutions
- I highly recommend serving this with a dollop of hummus, and am annoyed with myself for forgetting to include it in the photos!
- You can swap around the vegetables but make sure that anything you include can roast in 30mins or so, and make sure you have something soft in the pan like tomatoes or zucchini that can leach some liquid, since this recipe assumes you’ll have a nice amount of tomato and mushroom juices floating. If you are using mostly drier vegetables, you may find you can add some lemon juice or extra pesto to the pan when they’re done roasting to stop it all from being too dry.
- You can use another grain such as quinoa or couscous if preferred. Couscous can be made up easily if you don’t have anything precooked.
- No halloumi? Try feta!
Step by Step Pictures
A little visual run through, followed immediately by a printable recipe card…
I do hope you’ll give this one a try, make it your own and leave me a comment to tell me how you found it! Enjoy!
Create a grilling station for prep
First off, the grilling prep: we set up a grilling station indoors. This was the area for all grilled veggie skewers, including skewer soaking, vegetable and herb chopping, and olive oil drizzling. Why set up an indoor grilling station? Using a designated area keeps everything related to grilling on the prep station, so the mess didn’t creep into the rest of the kitchen (as it always does). This is especially helpful if you’re making other items to go with the grilled portion that use the main portion of your kitchen—and keeps things tidier for when guests arrive.
For our grilling station, we used this Brisbane Apartment Cart. It’s a heavy duty cart with lots of storage. We especially recommend it for kitchens with limited counter space, like the galley kitchen in our first home.
We did most of our grilling prep before our guests arrived, including threading our veggie skewers, making the pesto quinoa, and getting together appetizers and drinks. And we fired up the grill, which takes a bit of time since we have a charcoal grill. The flavor on this grill is incredible, but it does take about 20 minutes to heat using a chimney starter.
Once the prep was done, we moved the party outside. I love hanging out with drinks and appetizers while we smell the meal sizzling on the grill. For drinks, a few recommendations: a chilled bottle of rosé, craft beer, cucumber herb-infused water, or lemon mint slush.
This Ari Catalan bench is a smart update to our patio furniture, which was in dire need of an overhaul!
This dish screams summer. The aroma of fresh mint is enough to cool a hot summer’s day. Or at least feel like it’s a bit cooler.
This recipe is fantastic to make as part of a family meal or to feed a crowd. It’s very easy and fairly quick to prepare. The combination of flavours is absolutely delicious. Halloumi and mint is a match made in culinary heaven. The roasted cherry tomatoes add so much sweetness and amazing flavour plus just the right amount of acidity you need to balance the saltiness of the halloumi. I used “Mitsides” macaroncelli as I love this pasta. Slightly thicker than spaghetti with a hole in the middle, just big enough to make a whistling noise as you slurp them into your mouth.
For the cherry tomatoes
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pesto
- ½ cup packed parsley leaves
- ½ cup packed mint leaves
- ¼ cup raw almonds
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- ½ cup halloumi, grated
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta
- 500 grams “Mitsides” Macaroncelli pasta
- ½ cup grated halloumi plus extra to serve
- ¼ tsp red chilli flakes
- 2 Tbs toasted pine nuts
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mint leaves to garnish
Preheat oven to 175 C. Put halved cherry tomatoes in a baking pan, cut side up. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes for 35-40 minutes until soft. Set aside until needed.
Make pesto while tomatoes bake. In a bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, put the parsley, mint, almonds and garlic. Blend until finely ground. Add halloumi, lemon juice. Pulse briefly to mix and season with salt and pepper. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream, until emulsified. You will end up with a pesto that’s kind of thick.
To finish the dish, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season water generously with salt. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until cooked al-dente. Drain, but keep about 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
Return drained pasta back to the pot. Mix in the pesto, halloumi, chilli flakes and and one cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Mix well until pesto is evenly distributed. If pasta seems too thick, add a few more tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquid until it reaches the desired creaminess without being watery. Taste the pasta for salt and pepper and adjust.
Add the roasted tomatoes and their pan drippings to the pasta. Mix briefly. Transfer pasta on a serving platter. Garnish with the pine nuts and mint leaves. Serve at once with more grated halloumi on the side.
How to make grilled halloumi cheese appetizer
If you are having people over, or even just looking for a good midday snack, a grilled halloumi cheese snack with tomatoes is the way to go.
- 1 cup or pack of halloumi
1. Add 1 table spoon of oil to a skillet and grill the slide halloumi, a few minutes on each side until brownish patches form on the surface.
2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and grill them with the halloumi to make the softer and more moist.
3. Before you’re done grilling with a few minutes add the salt, pepper, olive oil, mint, oregano and mix the grilled halloumi cheese and tomatoes together with the seasoning.
4. Once you’ve transferred the grilled cheese halloumi to the plate, drizzle pomegranate molasses onto and bon appetite.
Main Image Credits: Thespruceeats.com
Find out how to make the most delicious recipes from our Kitchen section here
Grilling halloumi is easy. Luckily, these days halloumi can be purchased at most grocery stores. Or look for the cheese at specialty food markets. Halloumi is often sold in pre-packaged 1/2-pound chunks.
- Heat a grill to medium-high heat.
- Slice the halloumi into slabs that are 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
- Place the slices of cheese directly on the grill.
- Grill the slices of halloumi cheese for about 3 minutes per side, until the cheese is lightly browned on the outside and warm and soft through the middle.
- Plate and serve the cheese immediately. Halloumi has the most flavor when it is warm.
- Garnish the cheese slices with wedges of lemon and/or fresh herbs such as chopped parsley, mint, basil, or oregano.
If you want to pan-fry slices of halloumi instead of grilling it, cut the cheese into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slabs. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the cheese and fry it for 3 minutes on each side. Often, halloumi is served with nothing more than a squirt of lemon juice on top.
Delicious but the tomatoes are completely skip-able in my opinion.
With both cinnamon basil and mint growing outside and needing a good pruning, how could I pass up this recipe? I decided to pair the whole thing with some skewers of shrimp (using the same basil-mint oil, but with the addition of my own blend of red pepper flakes lightly shaken on top) to be served alongside. Second magical use for that oil! The flavors were wonderfully subtle together and the different textures - the tooth-squeaking halloumi, warm juicy tomatoes, and the cellular resistance of the watermelon - made for an evocative dining experience. This recipe will definitely be used again.
Halloumi is decidedly delicious but it is a uniquely Cypriot cheese, not Greek -)
This sounds delicious! Can someone tell me how big (1inch by 1inch?) the bits of cheese were? And the watermelon triangles? Did you grill the cheese in one large piece? Mine is about 4 x 5 by 1/4 inch thick and then cut it? or did you grill the cheese in little pieces? Thanks.
This was great & beautiful presentation. I love that you can just set the platter on the table and everybody can dig in with forks. The flavors go great together and it's pretty easy to make. Iɽ add a few more pieces of watermelon next time.
This was delicious. I threw the halloumi straight on the grill and skewered the tomatoes. The cheese got nice and crispy and everyone at the bbq was raving about it. I used cheesecloth to assist in straining the oil. I didn't think the oil was all that exceptional in flavor. Next time I might try to toss in fresh basil/mint with the salad. I served everything over a bed of arugula.
Oops - - I forgot to submitt my fork rating - - It gets a 4.
This was outstanding! I was curious about the watermelon but it worked out fabulous. I followed the recipe to a "T" with the exception of using a carton a small mixed heirloom type tomatoes that Wegman's sells. I made this for my parents - they raved about it. I will make it again tonight for some friends who are coming to dinner. We love to grill and this is a fun way to start off a dinner party.
This was one of the best recipes I have made in a long time. The basil mint oil ties all the flavors together. I have been dreaming about this since I last made it!
I was just reminded of this recipe - made it a few times last summer. Wonderful! Going to take to summer bbq on Saturday - we're responsible for apps .
I cannot actually review this recipe yet, I have just finished making the oil, and dinner is 5 hours and 40 miles away. My note is about the ever popular expression: "Do the math!" The math here clearly is delving into areas which when I was in school (old math) were called imaginary number things such as the square root of minus one. It purports to be a recipe serving four people and when you see that the brick of cheese is sliced into eight pieces there is no cognitive dissonance, that is, until you arrive at the six (count them, yes six) triangles of watermelon. How does that work? Well a careful examination of the provided art work offers little or no help, as the photograph shows six pieces of cheese piled upon five triangles of watermelon with one triangle supporting a pair of cheese. Is this recipe to the base seven or is calculus required to make it come out.
This salad was delicious, great flavour combination and the basil/mint oil was superb. We used raclette instead of halloumi which turned out to be a great substitute.
Perfect for a hot summer night. I used grape tomatoes and put them in a grill pan instead of directly onto the grill.
My husband and I tried this recipe with some trepidation and loved it! We grilled the watermelon as well until it had grill marks and was warm through. We sliced the cheese to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. The tastes were completely unexpected and delicious. My husband doesn't really care for watermelon or tomatoes but loved this.
This lively, colourful British tomato salad is full of good things and great flavours.
Serves 4 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes
2tsp vegetable stock powder (or ½ vegetable stock cube)
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
200g British cherry or baby plum tomatoes, halved
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
80g bag spinach, rocket and watercress salad
Pinch of salt, pepper and sugar
1 Cook the bulgur wheat according to pack instructions, flavouring the cooking water with the vegetable stock powder or cube.
2 Meanwhile, mix together the chickpeas, tomatoes, avocados and pepper. Rinse the cooked bulgur wheat with cold water and drain well. Add to the tomato mixture and season.
3 Share the salad leaves between 4 serving plates and top with the tomato mixture. Toast the cumin seeds and mixed seeds in a dry frying pan until lightly browned. Sprinkle over the salads.
4 For the dressing, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and sugar. Sprinkle over the salads and serve.
Cook’s tip: Use couscous or quinoa instead of bulgur wheat if you prefer. For extra colour why not add a few British yellow or orange cherry tomatoes to liven up the plate.
Parma-wrapped Fish Tray Bake with British Vine Tomatoes
Try this tasty, colourful, easy-to-make dish for a stylish weekend meal.
Serves 4 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20-22 minutes
4 cod loin fillets (weighing about 150g each)
8-12 basil leaves, plus extra to garnish
4 sprigs of British baby plum or cherry tomatoes on the vine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/ Gas Mark 6.
2 Put the pepper halves and lemon wedges into a roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil, season and then roast for 10 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, arrange 2-3 basil leaves on top of each piece of cod, then wrap each fillet with a slice of Parma ham. Arrange on top of the peppers, then add the sprigs of tomatoes. Roast for a further 10-12 minutes.
4 Serve, garnished with extra basil leaves.
Try using different types of fish, such as haddock, halibut or hake.
Banging Korean Chicken Kebabs with Tomato Chilli Sauce
These amazing chicken and British cherry tomato kebabs are given a fabulous flavour of Korea – perfect served with a spicy tomato chilli sauce
Serves 4 Prep time: 10 minutes, plus marinating Cook time: 15 minutes
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Approximately 30 British cherry tomatoes
2tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
15g fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
1/4tsp dried chilli flakes
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
Pinch of salt, pepper and sugar
Toasted sesame seeds, spring onions and lime wedges, to garnish
Tomato Chilli Sauce:
300g British classic tomatoes, finely chopped
1 shallot, very finely chopped
1tsp finely chopped fresh red chilli
1tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
2tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 Thread the chunks of chicken onto soaked wooden kebab sticks, alternating the pieces with the cherry tomatoes.
2 In a shallow dish, mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, chilli flakes and spring onions. Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and sugar. Add the kebabs, turning to coat. Cover and marinate for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally.
3 Meanwhile, mix together the sauce ingredients. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar.
4 Grill the kebabs for 8-10 minutes, turning often. Serve with the tomato chilli sauce, garnished with toasted sesame seeds, spring onions and lime wedges.
Make the meal more substantial by serving the kebabs in warm wraps.
The best way to peel fresh ginger is to use a teaspoon – it works!
HALLOUMI AND BRITISH TOMATO TOASTS WITH MINT PESTO
Enjoy char-grilled sourdough, topped with grilled Halloumi and sliced British tomatoes, given a fresh twist with quick-to-make mint pesto.
Serves 2 Prep time: 10min Cook time: 5min
Suitable for vegetarians
150g Halloumi cheese, sliced
4 large British vine tomatoes, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 First, make the mint pesto. Pick the mint leaves from the stalks and put them into a small blender with the olive oil, vinegar and a splash of water. Blitz together for a few moments. Add the ground almonds and blend for a few more seconds. Season with a little salt and pepper.
2 Brush the slices of sourdough with olive oil, then char-grill or grill until lightly browned.
3 At the same time, dry-fry the slices of Halloumi in a frying pan, turning them over once and cooking until golden brown.
4 Arrange the slices of sourdough on two serving plates. Spread with mint pesto, then add the sliced tomatoes and Halloumi cheese. Serve, drizzled with a little more pesto sauce.
Cook’s tip: You could use basil or parsley instead of mint in the pesto.
BRITISH TOMATO SHAKSHUKA
Perfect for breakfast or brunch, this British tomato recipe tastes fantastic with crusty bread to mop up all the delicious juices.
Serves 4 Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking: 25 minutes
Suitable for vegetarians
500g British medium vine tomatoes
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
2tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to garnish
150g thick Greek-style yogurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Halve the British tomatoes and set to one side.
2 Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan that has a lid. Gently fry the onions, garlic and peppers in the covered pan for about 10 minutes, or until very soft.
3 Add the cumin seeds, chilli powder, tomato puree and parsley, stirring well. Season. Add the tomatoes and cook over a medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, uncovered, adding a splash of water if it begins to look too dry.
4 Stir well, then make 4 spaces among the ingredients. Crack the eggs into these spaces and cook gently for a further 8-10 minutes, until set. If you like, grill the top for a few moments to set the surface of the eggs.
5 To serve, crumble the feta cheese on top and sprinkle with extra parsley. Season with a little extra black pepper. Put the yogurt into a bowl and sprinkle with a little chilli powder. Serve alongside the Shakshuka with crusty bread.
Cook’s tip: This is great as a sharing dish, where everyone just eats straight from the pan!
TOMATO CHEESE SCONE PIZZA
50g chilled butter, cut into small pieces
100g mature Cheddar cheese, finely grated
4tbsp low fat plain yogurt
4 British cocktail tomatoes, sliced
6 British plum on the vine tomatoes, halved
1tsp mixed dried Italian herbs
50g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
In this recipe, the pizza base is made with scone dough, flavoured with grated mature Cheddar. It’s topped with juicy British tomatoes, herbs and grated cheese for an Italian inspired dish with a truly British twist.
Serves 4 Prep time: 20min Cooking: 20min
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese.
3. Combine the yogurt and milk, then stir just enough into the scone mixture to make a soft, but not sticky dough. Draw the dough together with your hand, turn onto a surface sprinkled with a little flour and knead lightly for a few moments.
4. Roll out the dough to a circle about 30cm in diameter. Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Top with the tomatoes, herbs and grated cheese, then bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
Grilled Caprese Skewers
I’m not usually one to pepper my blog with inspirational quotes from famous/infamous people. And you absolutely won’t see me write, “According to Webster’s dictionary…” when I’m stumped on how to introduce a post, when the creative juices simply aren’t flowing. It’s just kind of the cheater way out in my opinion, but hey, I’m not judging. And besides, doesn’t everyone use Wikipedia now?
But for the reasons I have today, I thought these quotes fell into the appropriate category because they indeed describe the lack of originality, or at least the increasing commonality, of how recipes come about and how they’re shared.
I mean, how many different ways, really, are there to cook a burger or make a classic chicken divan casserole? And what about pound cake? Prime example of how ingredients can’t be copyrighted. It’s all in how you describe the process that makes it your own.
It’s one reason why this summer I’ve been posting more basic recipes, favorite recipes, because it’s summer and I for one am craving a little simplicity. Let’s blame it on the heat.
This week I had two recipes I was planning on posting. The first was for Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas. Okay, not an exactly revolutionary recipe I admit, but the recipe I was planning on sharing has its own spin, its own chutzpah to differ it from the rank and file. And it’s certainly shareable. But similarily as happened back when I posted my Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese and discovered a very close variation by a much, much more popular blogger, I was trolling my morning blogs and found this recipe for Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas, and this one for Chocolate Dipped Banana Pops, both at the top of my RSS feed, and it just didn’t feel right to post the same recipes again, right after these hit the waves of the www. It’s not a throw down afterall.
While I may not always be original, I do reserve a fraction of an ounce of pride not to be called an outright copycat. Or so I’d hoped before I decided upon my alternative recipe to post.
My other selection for this week’s post is my recipe for Grilled Caprese Skewers, one I’ve had in the ‘ready to be posted’ folder for a few weeks. While I was in Madison, WI judging the Grilled Cheese Academy’s 2013 Recipe Showdown contest, I visited a local cheese shop and saw this wedge of Carr Valley Bread Cheese. Firm in texture like a Greek haloumi cheese, inspiration struck and I knew immediately what I was going to make with it. Or grill with it. So I trotted it home with me and made these toasty grilled skewers that paired extremely well with Roasted Cherry Sangria for an evening in with the girls.
So when I linked over to the summer issue of Grate, Pair, Share—the online magazine created by Wisconsin Cheese—to check in on a few details for a giveaway I’m doing (yes, you do need to check back here on Friday) I just had to laugh when I saw nearly the identical recipe in its pages, created by the very talented Chung-Ah from Damn Delicious. After spying the beautiful photo, I couldn’t bear to look at the ingredients or the directions, so as not to compare our two variations. But you should definitely give it a gander and let me know what you think because it is pretty funny how close they are. And I sure hope she thinks so too.
Great minds…twice in one day.
I decided to go ahead and forge forward and post this Grilled Caprese Skewers recipe anyway, because we all put our own original spin on things we make and there’s plenty of room and reason for the many variations you’ll find in recipe creation land.
Like I’ve told my design students for the past 4 years, rarely do you come across an entirely original idea, more often it’s just a new way to package it.
And as evidenced by today’s post, originality doesn’t always strike twice.
A few things about this recipe:
Bread cheese and halloumi cheese are both firm in texture—a little bit squeeky to the bite—and have very high melting points, making it perfect for putting on the grill. I don’t recommend trying this with a regular mozzarella or you’ll end up with a cheese caprese milkshake melting away into the coals.
The cheeses are made with rennet so if you’re a strict vegetarian, be sure to check if your selection uses vegetarian rennet or traditional.
Don’t skip the garlic in the olive oil. It’s a keeper.
While there weren’t any leftovers to be had, this would be an amazing topper to pasta noodles or arugula (see links below.)
Charring food can often make it bitter, but in the case of radicchio high heat actually brings out a nutty sweetness that counteracts the vegetable's edge. On this pizza we pair the radicchio with sweet, fennel-scented Italian sausage, which we add raw so that its fat can melt all over the pizza.