These vegetarian grilled halloumi sandwiches are paired with tomatoes, arugula, and roasted red peppers, spread with pesto, and nestled between ciabatta bread. Throw the halloumi on the grill while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, and be ready to eat in just 30 minutes!
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Do you have plans to grill out on Memorial Day weekend? Will and I sure do! If you’re planning a menu for the holiday, these halloumi sandwiches are a wonderful addition.
Regular Veg World readers may recall my Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Halloumi from last summer. In that post, I talked about how I first enjoyed halloumi when Will and I were on our honeymoon in Australia. Halloumi is a semi-hard, brined cheese that originated in Cyprus.
I think it tastes similar to feta, but it’s less crumbly. The texture of halloumi, plus its high melting point, means that you can grill, fry, or bake it without making a melted mess that falls apart. Charred halloumi is DELISH, and since it stays together, it’s an amazing base for a sandwich.
Grilled halloumi also makes a great main course for vegetarians. If you have some vegetarian guests for your next cookout, throw some slabs of halloumi on the grill next to the burgers and dogs. Even omnivores will want a taste!
How to Make Halloumi Sandwiches
- First, think about what you want on the sandwiches. I highly recommend pesto, arugula, tomatoes, and roasted red peppers. Some of these toppings require advanced planning. I like to make roasted red peppers and pesto ahead of time, but you can also use jarred, store-bought versions.
- When you’re ready to make the sandwiches, preheat the grill to medium-high. Slice the blocks of halloumi into slabs about 1/2-inch thick. I sliced six slabs out of two blocks of halloumi. Brush both sides of each piece with olive oil.
- Next, slice a loaf of ciabatta into pieces that are a couple inches wide (wide enough to fit the slab of halloumi–see the above photo). Brush the inside of each piece with a little olive oil.
- Place the halloumi slabs on the grill and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until lightly charred. While the halloumi is cooking, toast the bread on the grill too.
- Remove the halloumi and bread from the grill, and assemble your halloumi sandwiches!
That was just a preview of the recipe. For the full ingredients list and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Expert Tips and FAQ
- Prep Ahead Tips: I recommend making my roasted red peppers in advance and keeping them in the fridge until you make your halloumi sandwiches. You can also make a pesto, such as my Radish Top Pesto or just a classic basil pesto, ahead of time. But it’s totally fair game to use store-bought roasted reds and pesto too! I love ROI pesto.
- Bread: I highly recommend using ciabatta bread for these sandwiches. I used one loaf of ciabatta, sliced into six pieces that I then sliced in half to hold the sandwich. If you can find ciabatta rolls at the store, that’s even better!
- Grilling Tips: Halloumi does not take that long to cook on the grill. If you are making these halloumi sandwiches as part of a bigger BBQ spread, keep in mind that they won’t take as long as burgers or hot dogs. I prefer to grill the halloumi on nonstick mesh mats on top of my grill, but you can place it directly onto the grill too. And don’t forget to toast the bread on the grill! You only need to do it for about a minute, and it’s a great touch.
What goes well with halloumi sandwiches?
This recipe pairs well with a fresh salad or cold side dish. I like to serve these sandwiches with the Peach Caprese Salad, Watermelon Salad with Feta, or Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad. Other great sides include the Grilled Sweet Corn with Cilantro Chimichurri, Green Beans and Corn with Cider Vinegar and Herbs, and the Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup. Wash it down with a glass of the Strawberry Basil Lemonade.
Can I pan fry halloumi?
If you don’t want to grill the halloumi or don’t have a grill, you can cook it in a pan. Put a little oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook each piece of halloumi for a few minutes on each side.
Other Main Dish Grilling Recipes
Love these halloumi sandwiches? Here are some more plant-forward meals you can make on the grill.
- Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms with Caprese Salad
- Garlic Rosemary Grilled Cauliflower Foil Packets
- Grilled Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Lettuce Cups
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Halloumi Sandwiches with Veggies and Pesto
- 2 8 ounce blocks halloumi cheese
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread - or 6 ciabatta rolls
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup pesto - about 2 tbsp per sandwich, more to taste
- 1.5 cups baby arugula
- 1 tomato - sliced into 6 pieces
- 3/4 cup roasted red peppers - about 2 tbsp per sandwich, more to taste
- First, gather your toppings and make sure you have them prepared. I like to make pesto and roasted red peppers in advance to save time, but you can also use store-bought versions of these ingredients.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high. Slice the blocks of halloumi into 6 pieces, about 1/2-inch thick. Brush them with a little olive oil on each side.
- Slice the loaf of ciabatta into 6 pieces, then cut those in half to make 2 slices out of each piece to hold the sandwiches. Brush the inside of each piece with a little olive oil.
- Place the halloumi on grill mats or directly on the grill. Cook for a few minutes on each side until lightly charred.
- While the halloumi is cooking, toast the bread on the grill. Place the pieces, oiled side down, on the grill for about a minute until lightly charred.
- Remove the halloumi and bread from the grill. Assemble the sandwiches with the pesto and toppings. Enjoy!
- Leftover sandwiches will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Wrap them tightly with plastic wrap before storing.
- If you don’t have a grill, you can also pan fry the halloumi. Cook it in a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes on each side.
- Serve with a side salad, grilled vegetable, or chilled soup.
Happy summer! – Lizzie