Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods have skyrocketed in popularity over the years. Right now, hummus appears on nearly 13% of limited-service restaurant menus in the United States.
Hummus aside, there are plenty of foods from the region that are delicious and versatile. Halloumi is one of the most succulently intriguing options.
The tips below will help you learn how halloumi can accompany several great recipes that you can fall in love with.
What Is Halloumi?
Halloumi is one of the most versatile and tasty options you can try in your recipes, but what exactly is it?
It’s a type of cheese that originates in Cyprus and is often used in grilled, fried, and other melty recipes. Halloumi cheese originates with civilizations from Cyprus and is made from a combination of sheep and goat’s milk.
This is a type of cheese that is largely versatile and provides you with plenty of meal options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
What Are the Benefits of Halloumi?
Study halloumi’s benefits and you’ll see why so many people love it. Among the more than 1,800 types of cheese in the world, halloumi stands out for its flavor and uniqueness.
This makes it an easy choice when you’re looking to add it to your grocery list. It’ll also prompt you to explore the many different meal options.
The thing that you will love most about halloumi is that the possibilities are endless.
Here are some of the benefits of adding halloumi to your diet:
It Has a High Melting Point
Perhaps the most remarkable trait of halloumi is that it has an incredibly high melting point when compared to other cheeses and different foods. Because of this, the cheese can take on different textures, and you’ll have the chance to cook it in different ways that suit your taste buds.
The fact that you can cook it slowly opens the door for different flavor and seasoning options. This also affects how well the cheese pairs with other types of foods and in a variety of recipes.
Make sure you know the different types of halloumi to know how it affects the melting point and other attributes. For example, “halloumi” with two Ls denotes that it is made in Cyprus and that it’s made with sheep’s milk or goat’s milk.
This high melting point makes room for a lot of culinary creativity.
The Cheese Has a Deep Cultural History
One of the main reasons that you will appreciate halloumi cheese is that its history is steeped in culture and history. Historians believe that the methods used to create this type of cheese date back to AD 395.
This was during the Byzantine period, and early descriptions of the method were found in Egyptian tombs. The earliest descriptions of halloumi as we know it dates back to the mid-1500s. Italian travelers visiting Cyprus documented descriptions of this cheese.
It has been such a staple of Mediterranean culture and cuisine for so long that it’s not clear which specific area it originated from, or whether it is a staple that developed in a number of localities in the region over time.
You’ll appreciate human ingenuity and culture one bite at a time with halloumi. It’ll allow you to branch out into other foods from the Mediterranean region so that you can appreciate history and a tradition that continues today.
It’s Packed With Protein and Other Nutrients
Adding protein to your diet is excellent no matter your health and fitness goals. You will get plenty of this protein when you enjoy halloumi.
Not only is it a cheese packed with plenty of flavor and texture, but it also comes with roughly 7 grams of protein for every ounce. This includes 8 grams of healthy fat and less than a gram of carbohydrates.
Getting your fill of protein and this mixture of nutrients is helpful because you will be able to grow muscle healthily. When you pack lean muscle onto your body, you will also burn more fat when your heart is at a resting rate.
This will also help you feel satiated longer so that you don’t deal with difficult hunger cravings.
There are a variety of ways that you can get the protein that you need, but it’s best to get it from clean resources so that you’re not dealing with any harmful byproducts.
It’s a type of cheese that fits with upscale dining options as well as neighborhood-style sandwiches. Having these options makes it easy to get your daily protein intake.
Halloumi Can Be a Meat Substitute
Because of the thickness and melting point of halloumi, many people use it as a meat substitute. The thickness of the cheese skin gives it a tough texture that matches its succulent, fatty, salty flavor.
Consider toasting the crust to give it a nice crunch and to contrast it with the softer middle portion.
It Helps You Stay Full
Eating this cheese helps you to stay full and satisfied. Halloumi has a low glycemic index (GI), which means that it won’t cause large insulin level spikes when you eat it. This is valuable if you’re trying to lose weight or just don’t want to overeat.
Having your blood sugar drop and your hunger cravings kick in can cause overeating, which leads to obesity and feelings of unease. Eating halloumi will help you eat fewer in-between meals and maintain a calm and positive mood.
There Are Plenty of Recipe Options
Perhaps the best perk is the sheer amount of recipes that work well with halloumi. Because it is so versatile, you will have some choices that you can explore no matter what part of your taste buds you’d like to stimulate.
You can use it for Mediterranean dishes and American cuisine alike, and there are selections that you will appreciate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It also pairs well with both savory and sweet options and hot and cold temperatures.
What Halloumi Recipes Should You Try?
The best way to learn about halloumi is to find out for yourself. Start with some simple recipes and then work your way up to the more challenging ones.
If you use a meal prep service, you can also look for recipes that include halloumi. They will offer you menus with a breakdown of the different ingredients, along with nutritional facts.
Here are a few of the recipe options that you might choose to consider.
Use It in Salads
Halloumi cheese provides an excellent accompaniment to salads. If you have ever enjoyed blue cheese crumbles, feta, or other types of cheese on your salads, you’ll love just how much halloumi pairs.
This cheese is mild, similar to feta, and features some tangy flavor notes. The protein and fat content make it an excellent cheese to use in any salad, and it can serve as both a meat substitute and can pair well with chicken, steak strips, and other types of protein.
Because the halloumi flavor doesn’t overpower other ingredients, you can also choose any kind of salad dressing you’d like.
Fried Halloumi Bites
Halloumi can easily be dressed up in fancier dinners and enjoyed as part of a casual dining experience.
It offers the flavor that you can expect from restaurant-made meals and will want to savor all of the different notes. Fried halloumi bites allow you to cook up some appetizers to go with the main course, or to serve as finger food while you’re watching the game or your favorite movies.
You can deep fry it by itself due to the high melting point, or add some batter if you prefer the cheese to have more of a golden brown crispy crust.
Halloumi is an excellent cheese to use whether you want to add some flavor to your burgers, or if you want the cheese to serve as the meat of the burger itself.
When cooked at high heat, the cheese puffs up and will pair well with a nice brioche bun. Some people also deep fry the cheese to give their halloumi burgers a more dynamic flavor.
You can mix and match whatever vegetables you like and can include pickles, peppers, hummus, and other great ingredients to accompany it.
Halloumi grilled cheese provides a unique taste experience that you won’t get with traditional grilled cheese. It pairs well with any kind of bread and can give you heart portions per slice.
Because of its Mediterranean origins, people often use different types of panini bread to make this grilled cheese recipe come together.
Black Olive Cake
Halloumi black olive cake is a type of breaded, savory option that tickles your tastebuds with an array of flavors. In addition to the halloumi cheese, this recipe features flavorful ingredients like mint, oregano, and black olives.
It’s a lightweight meal but incredibly filling since the halloumi tastes similar to meat, but without the heavy calories, grease, or crash. This is a sensible option that is also packed with flavor and culture.
Cheesy Stuffed Peppers
Halloumi also provides plenty of flavor balance to stuffed peppers. You can purchase some bell peppers of all different colors, hollow them out and add halloumi cheese to get an incredible recipe that packs a punch.
In addition to the halloumi, you can fill the peppers with ingredients like mint, onions, and chicken. These peppers are excellent by themselves and also pair well with garlic bread.
Mix and match your recipe with a few different peppers. Some of the best to try out include red, green, and yellow bell peppers, mini sweet peppers, and long sweet peppers.
Charcuterie boards are all the rage these days. People enjoy making them and showing them off on social media, and they are served at brunch spots.
No matter what kind of charcuterie boards you like, halloumi is the type of cheese that you want to have as a centerpiece. You can include it with different crackers, grapes, pretzels, and other cheeses. Halloumi pairs well with various white wines and sparkling wines.
Whether you like your boards sweet or savory, consider slicing some halloumi and letting it take your charcuterie to the next level.
Halloumi and Mixed Vegetables
Halloumi also pairs well with a variety of vegetables. You can play around with a lot of different recipes, whether you prefer to stir fry, grilled vegetables, or raw vegetables with slices of halloumi cheese.
Throw in some mushrooms and grains like quinoa, and your bowl becomes hearty, filling, and packed with even more vitamins and nutrients. You can top it off with any mixture of dressings or sauces that you like. For instance, you can use a tahini base for one vegetable plate or bowl, and soy sauce or liquid aminos for another.
It also goes well with other dairy-based sauces and dressings, such as ranch and caesar.
When you order from different meal prep services they will often have offerings that include halloumi and mixed vegetables.
A Guide to Halloumi
Getting to know the benefits of Halloumi will help you add it to your lunch and dinner table. As you can tell, there are several different recipes that you can try out that use this cheese.
What you’ll love even more is that there are plenty of chefs and meal prep services that will happily help you out.
Craveable has done all the research necessary to help you enjoy some restaurant-made meals in less than 3 minutes.
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