Just five ingredients (salt included) stand between you and this simple vegan halloumi cheese. Just like the original, this halloumi is deliciously salty with a subtle cheesy tang. Serve it on sandwiches, over salads, or all on its own.
This recipe has been on my to-make list for years.
I say that a lot. Must be that gnarly procrastination cycle rearing its ugly head.
This recipe idea cropped up while making these rainbow summer rolls two years ago. Something about the texture of the tofu reminded me of halloumi cheese, and I figured there had to be a way to leverage it to create a vegan version of the salty, firm, melt-resistant cheese.
And so here we are a couple years later.
To make this vegan halloumi cheese, you'll start by slicing a block of extra firm tofu into square pieces like so...
Note: To amplify the halloumi texture, I recommend pressing the tofu using a tofu press before cutting it; however, you can absolutely skip this step if you're in a time crunch or simply don't feel like fussing with a tofu press.
Once you've sliced the tofu, prepare the halloumi marinade. The marinade is made with a simple combination of nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt.
The nutritional yeast flakes add a savory cheesiness. The lemon juice adds a cheesy tang. The olive oil adds richness. And the salt adds... well, saltiness.
Once you've whisked together the marinade, brush or spoon it over each tofu square, being sure to evenly coat all sides.
Now, you have two options.
Option 1: Cover the tray and refrigerate it, allowing the tofu to marinate for a few hours (up to 12) to fully enliven that salty, cheesy, halloumi flavor.
Option 2: Cook it straight away, opting for a milder (but still delicious) halloumi quality.
Either way, you'll cook the "halloumi" by heating a large skillet and searing each piece of tofu to create a delicious, cheesy crust.
Word to the wise: Flip on the fan or hood over the stove to ventilate while cooking. The searing process can be a bit smoky depending on the type of pan you use.
Once the halloumi is cooked, enjoy it all on its own or on sandwiches, salads, etc.
Vegan Halloumi Cheese
- 1 (15-ounce) block extra-firm tofu, drained*
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- Line a large tray with parchment paper.
- Slice the tofu crosswise into ½-inch-thick planks. Then, cut each plank in half crosswise. Transfer to the lined tray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt until smooth.
- Brush each piece of tofu with the nutritional yeast mixture, being sure to flip and coat all sides evenly.
- Now, you have two choices. For full-flavor halloumi, cover the pan and refrigerate for two hours (or up to 12 hours) to marinate. For quick halloumi, proceed with cooking straight away.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once the pan is hot, add the tofu in a single layer (you'll need to do this in two batches). Use the back of a spatula to lightly press down on the tofu (you should hear it sizzle and steam). (Note: Depending on the type of pan you use, this process can be quite smoky, so be sure to ventilate the area properly.)
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pan-facing sides are golden-brown. Flip, and continue to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden-brown.
- Serve warm or cold on sandwiches, over salads, or all on its own.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to two days.