Monday, January 24, 2011

Sizzling Haloumi with Roasted Asparagus & Tomatoes over Israeli Couscous

I have been wanting to try haloumi forever!  Finally!  I have tasted it!

First, this is a delicious dish.  Some of my favorite things including roasted asparagus and grape tomatoes with a lemon caper vinaigrette over the top.  I also made some Israeli couscous to go with it all.  

Now, the haloumi?  If you aren't familiar, it is a cheese made from a combo of goat's and sheep milk.  It is popular in Greece and in the Middle East, but originated in the country of Cyprus (little island guy south of Turkey in the Med Sea).  I have never been to any of these places, but would very happy to go!  Anyways, haloumi has a very high melting point, so it often grilled.  Grilling it gives it a nice crispy texture on the outside.  For some reason I was imagining it would be crispy on the outside and creamy, melty cheese on the inside.  But, remember, this stuff doesn't really melt.  So the texture on the inside is quite firm. It has tons of flavor...and a nice saltiness.  I enjoyed it, especially with the other flavors of this dish.  But since it is a little pricey, I might not be eating it on a regular basis.  

Sizzling Haloumi with Roasted Asparagus & Tomatoes over Israeli Couscous
slightly adapted from Cara’s Cravings

1 box Israeli couscous (about 8 ounces)
1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
3 tbsp of finely chopped parsley, divided
1 lb asparagus
8 oz grape tomatoes, halved
juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons capers
1 package Haloumi cheese, 8.8oz
olive oil
freshly ground pepper

Boil water in a tea kettle (I needed two cups, check package for exact amount). In a small pot with tight fitting lid, sauté onion until slightly caramelized. Add Israeli couscous, stir and slightly toast (about 3 minutes). Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, salt, pepper and boiling water. Simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes (or according to package instructions).

Preheat oven to 350F. Trim the asparagus by snapping off the tough, woody ends. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, and season with salt & pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 10 minutes. Pull pan out of oven, add halved grape tomatoes, and toss all to combine. Put back in the oven for about 5-10 minutes until tomatoes have broken down a bit and asparagus is golden brown.  Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, capers, pepper and 1 tablespoon of parsley.

Heat a griddle over medium heat and drizzle pan with olive oil. Cook the Haloumi slices for several minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven if necessary.

Place a healthy scoop of the Israeli couscous on the plate. Arrange the asparagus and tomatoes on top, and top each with a slice of the seared Haloumi. Drizzle with the lemon-caper vinaigrette and serve immediately. 

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5


  1. I have got to try some of this cheese now. It almost looks like a lovely piece of grilled fish. We have a great artisan cheese shop near our house...I'm going to go and try to find some tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!

  2. i thought this looked like fish too! looks so delicious. i just tried Israeli couscous for the first time a few weeks ago and i like it wayyy more than regular couscous. i'm thinking you told me to try it once? i'm definitely bookmarking this recipe. yum. did you buy this cheese at a specialty store?

  3. no, i got it at whole foods. but i have seen it at king soopers too! i agree, israeli couscous is way better.

  4. I've never had halloumi grilled, only grated over some pasta. But I've so been meaning to grill it! I too thought that it would get melty on the inside. Hmm.

    Looks like a delicious meal all-around!

  5. So glad to share the haloumi love :) It is fun stuff, huh?

  6. This is so unique! It is a very lovely dish.