This is an easy homemade vegan halloumi recipe that’s as delicious as real grilled cheese! It’s tangy yet mild, with a flavorful glaze, subtle cheese flavor and a great texture! Perfect as a side dish for grilling! No tofu needed.
The Best Vegan Halloumi Cheese Recipe
Halloumi is a traditional cheese that originated in Cyprus. It is made from a blend of cow, sheep and goat milk and has a firm, elastic texture. Halloumi has a salty taste and can be enjoyed raw as well as grilled or fried. The cheese retains its shape even at high temperatures, making it great for grilling or frying. Halloumi is popular in many parts of the world and is often used in various dishes and salads.
Just like my Vegan Mac and Cheese, Sliceable Vegan Cheese or other homemade cheese alternatives like Vegan Mozzarella, this dairy-free halloumi recipe is also made of cashews. If you want to make a nut-free halloumi without cashews, you could try sunflower seeds or sunflower butter instead. However, with cashews you will get the best result and taste.
Ingredients for the Dairy-free Halloumi Cheese
You can make this Vegan Halloumi Cheese recipe yourself quickly and easily with few ingredients and little effort. You can also practically prepare the cashew cheese cream ahead of time, so you can cook the halloumi directly in the pan or grill the next day. In addition, the recipe is very versatile, because you can vary the ingredients for the glaze / seasoning marinade to give the halloumi a different flavor. Here is an overview of the basic ingredients needed:
Vegan Halloumi Ingredients
- Raw cashews (unsalted)
- Lemon juice
- Nutritional yeast flakes (provide a subtle cheese flavor)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Agar-agar (100% pure powder)
Spicy glaze / marinade ingredients
- Olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
- Maple syrup (or another syrup)
- Lemon juice (or lime juice or rice vinegar)
- Chili flakes (or hot bell pepper powder or other spices to taste)
- Thyme (or other dried Italian herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.)
As always, I recommend checking out the recipe video and these step-by-step instructions first. Then you can find the full recipe with the exact quantities in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Prepare the cashew cheese cream
First, boil the cashews for 10 minutes until soft. Then drain, rinse with cold water and drain. Then puree the drained cashews together with fresh water, lemon juice, yeast flakes, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cornstarch and agar powder in a blender until creamy.
Pour the cashew cream into a non-stick pan and heat for 2-3 minutes as shown in the video, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens into a paste. Then pour into a container and place in the freezer (or overnight) for 1 hour.
Step 2: Fry and marinate halloumi
Once the mixture is firm, carefully loosen the edge and turn the cashew halloumi out onto a cutting board. Slice the halloumi and fry in the hot oil for about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Mix all the ingredients for the glaze and drizzle it over the halloumi while it is in the pan. Garnish with sea salt and herbs to taste and serve on avocado toast, salad or with other accompaniments.
Here are a few ideas for variations you could try.
- Herbed Halloumi: Add more chopped fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, basil or rosemary to the olive oil.
- Halloumi with Tomatoes: For a tomatoey touch, you can add tomato paste and tomato flakes to the glaze or serve with oven-roasted tomatoes.
- BBQ Halloumi: If you have a favorite barbecue seasoning blend, feel free to season the cashew cheese with it.
- Paprika Chili Halloumi: If you like it spicy, you can use more chili powder, paprika powder and / or cayenne pepper.
- Halloumi with Pesto: Instead of the garlic-oil marinade, you can also serve the vegan grilled cheese with basil pesto or wild garlic pesto.
Recipes with Halloumi Grilled Cheese
Here are some ideas on how to enjoy classic or vegan halloumi. The salty flavor and textured texture of the cheese make it a delicious addition to many dishes. Just get creative and try out different serving ideas!
- Grilled Halloumi: grill the halloumi on a grill or in a pan until it is golden brown and crispy from the outside. Serve it with a fresh salad or as a side dish with grilled vegetables.
- Halloumi Skewers: cut the halloumi into cubes and alternate them with vegetables on skewers. Grill or broil the skewers until the vegan grilled cheese is golden brown. This is a delicious vegetarian alternative to meat skewers.
- Halloumi Salad: Cut the halloumi into thin slices and fry or grill it briefly. Serve it on a Mediterranean salad with fresh green leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers and a delicious dressing.
- Halloumi Burger: use grilled halloumi instead of classic burger patties. Top it with fresh veggies and a tasty barbecue sauce.
- Halloumi Sandwich: Fry the halloumi in a pan until it is crispy and golden brown. Place it between two slices of bread and add your favorite toppings, such as avocado, mushrooms, tomatoes, arugula or pesto.
Stored in the refrigerator, vegan halloumi will keep for up to a week. You can reheat it in the microwave or in a pan, or just enjoy it cold.
Can you freeze it?
In principle, you can freeze the homemade vegan cheese for 3 months. However, make sure that you pack it airtight so that no ice crystals form before you freeze it. Then, when you want to prepare it, take it out of the freezer the day before and let it thaw at room temperature overnight.
This Homemade Vegan Halloumi Recipe is:
- Made with plant-based ingredients
- Without dairy milk and cheese (lactose-free)
- As tasty as the original
- Better than store-bought cheese alternatives from the supermarket!
- Perfect as a side dish for many vegan and vegetarian recipes such as salads, bowls, burgers, fritters and much more!
If you try this vegan halloumi recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a photo of your delicious vegan grilled cheese and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka so I don’t miss your post! Have fun trying it out and bon appétit! 🙂
Homemade Vegan Halloumi Cheese (Easy & Healthy)Author:
For garnish (optional)
- coarse sea salt
- fresh herbs e.g. parsley and basil
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step pictures above!
- Boil the cashews in a pot of water for 10 minutes until soft. Then drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.
- Put the cashews in a blender together with ¾ cup of fresh water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cornstarch and agar powder and blend until creamy.
- Pour the cashew cream into a non-stick pan and heat for 2-3 minutes as shown in the video, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens into a paste.
- Transfer into a 10-Inch (23 or 25 cm) loaf pan (or other mold / container) and freeze for 1 hour (or refrigerate overnight).
- Once the mixture is firm, carefully loosen the sides and turn the cashew halloumi out onto a chopping board.
- Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Slice the halloumi and cook over medium heat until golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Optionally, for the glaze, combine olive oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, chili flakes, thyme and olive oil and drizzle over the halloumi while it is in the pan.
- Garnish with coarse sea salt and herbs to taste and serve warm. It tastes great on avocado toast or salad.
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