Do you love cheese? Me too! I use cheese a lot in my cooking because I love the taste, it’s high in protein and calcium, it’s cheap and filling, and I REALLY love the taste! I’ve tried lots of different cheeses, and while I don’t have one particular favorite, I’m a big fan of one called halloumi.
Halloumi cheese is made from a mixture of cow and goat cheese and is best described as a semi-firm, white cheese not that dissimilar to mozzarella. It originates in Cyprus, a small Greek island in the Mediterranean region, but is now made and available all around the world. Cypriot locals call it squeaky cheese because, when you bite into it, the texture makes it squeak pleasantly against your teeth. Kids of all ages will love it!
This cheese has a mild taste which makes it ideal for cooking. It remains firm at most temperatures so you can dice it and add it to many meals. You don’t have to cook it – it’s delicious eaten raw too. I like it with a salad or in a toasted sandwich.
Halloumi has a distinct layered appearance and, when you slice it, you can often see how it was folded during the manufacturing process. It’s usually packed in salt water and may even contain a sprig of mint which is believed to help it stay fresher for longer.
You can buy halloumi from delis and some supermarkets but I prefer to buy mine from Amazon.com, and this is my favorite brand.
Halloumi is quite healthy and provides a good source of calcium. It is, however, high in salt so if you have high blood pressure or are following the DASH diet, you should limit your intake of halloumi and cheese in general. However, being very low in carbs, it ideal if you are following a low carbohydrate diet. Because it’s packed in salt, halloumi has quite a long shelf life and can also be frozen for up to a year.
100 grams or 3.5 ounces of halloumi cheese provides:
- 336 calories
- 26.9 grams of fat
- 21.2 grams of protein
- 2.8 grams of salt (your daily limit is 6 grams)
- 2.2 grams of carbohydrates
Because it is semi-firm and has a higher than average melting point, you can grill and even fry halloumi cheese which makes it an ideal alternative to meat. Cypriots often serve grilled halloumi with bacon for breakfast which is a delicious and high protein way to start your day. I’ve also diced it and put it on skewers to make delicious halloumi kebabs.
To cook halloumi quickly, simply take your block of halloumi and cut it lengthways into quarter-inch thick slices. Put a little olive oil in a pan on moderate to high heat and then lightly fry for a couple of minutes until it is golden brown. Flip it over and repeat. Halloumi can also be deep fried which is truly delicious but does increase the fat and calorie content quite a bit.
I’ve got more halloumi recipes for you:
If you haven’t tried halloumi, I urge you to give it a go. It works really well as a replacement for meat in many dishes and adds a whole new dimension to salads and sandwiches. Because it’s mild, kids will love it, and they’ll love that distinct squeaking noise too!