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.
Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite says
This is such a brilliant idea! Perfect protein topping for salads for lunches :)
I never had halloumi in my pre-vegan days, but a lot of people rave about it. I have seen some recipes and some people selling vegan halloumi, but they have all had coconut oil in it, which is no good for me. This recipe looks super awesome! I am excited to try it out.
WOW -I am so impressed, I thought this version of cheese could not be done. It's so simple - I will be making this at the next BBQ. Looks delicious.
Just stumbled upon your site BTW and in LOVE.
Thanks for the kind words, Vicki! Happy to hear you're enjoying the site and that you're excited about this recipe, too. Happy cooking to you!
Delicious! I made this as an alternative to a tofu scramble for breakfast. I let the tofu sit on a dishtowel after slicing to absorb a little of the moisture. Also, I ended up marinating the tofu for 24 hours (because I didn't cook it at the 12 hour mark as I had planned). I cooked as directed and it was very flavorful. I would definitely make it again. I ate it on it's own, but it would also be great in a sandwich or salad.
Hi, Dana! So, so happy to hear you're enjoying the recipe. Thanks for taking time out of your weekend to come back and share your thoughts and adjustments. So helpful for me and for others, too. Happy weekend to you!
Celeste Jackson says
This is so interesting and looks very tasty. I'm familiar with this but will try it out and see. Thanks for sharing your brilliant ideas!
You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it!
I can’t do nutritional yeast. ANy thoughts on a replacement?
Hi, Jennifer! You could try substituting the nutritional yeast with tahini. Obviously, totally different textures but tahini has a cheesy flavor that could work here.
I never heard of Halloumi cheese before but this is so delicious. To me this on toast with a little cashew cheese is the closest I have had to a egg sandwich since being vegan. My 8 month old loves it too. This will be a staple in my house now.
So glad you're enjoying the recipe, Kristen! Thanks for taking time out of your day to let me know—means so much.
Just made this and it was really great!
Thanks for sharing the recipe. We will be having this very regularly.
So glad you enjoyed it, Nick! Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts and rating—means a lot to me and is helpful for other readers!
Sarah Tohamy says
Hi! I was wondering if this could be marinated ahead of time and kept in the freezer? So that I can have it ready and cook whenever I feel like it? ;)
Hi, Sarah! Great question. I think that should work just fine, although keep in mind that freezing tofu drastically changes the texture (dryer and spongier)—some people love it that way though. Enjoy!
This looks great - I'm planning on making this today as a replacement for regular halloumi in a Persian dish...
The original recipe requires the cheese to be baked whole in foil with a honey, lime and harissa mix - would you recommend making the tofu as above then wrapping the slices in foil in the oven to absorb these flavours at the last minute? Or marinade and bake the entire block?
Many thanks :)
Hi, Cariad! I'd recommend making the tofu as above first and then wrapping the slices in foil to absorb the flavors at the last minute. Hope this helps and enjoy!
I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while.... I just made it and am about to eat an entire block of tofu in one night. Too bad my family won’t get to try it! It’s so easy to make and even easier to devour. Thank you!
So glad you gave it a chance, Kristin! And ever happier to hear you're enjoying it so much. Thanks for taking time out of your weekend to come back and let me know how it went, and to share your rating, too. Means a lot to me and is helpful for others considering making the recipe. :)
Thanks for the recipe! Unfortunately could not fool my omnivore brain that it was real halloumi, it tastes like salty lemony tofu to me! Would make again, but probably reduce the salt and lemon ratios
I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the recipe, Olivia! Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback.
This vegan halloumi recipe was fantastic! We were already throwing a bunch of veggies on the grill for dinner tonight, so we decided to try grilling the tofu halloumi instead of cooking it in a skillet, and it still came out perfectly. I loved that it was so simple and easy to make, but still so flavorful, and my husband and I both thought it was convincingly similar to traditional halloumi in taste and texture. I'll definitely make this again!
Wonderful to hear you and your husband enjoyed the recipe, Miranda! Also great to know that it grilled well for you, too. Thanks for taking the time to share your rating and feedback. Means a lot to me and is helpful for others making the recipe as well.:)
Ben Heneghan says
Great recipe. Ever tried adding dried mint to the marinade? I can recommend it.
Thanks, Ben! Happy to hear you enjoyed it. And no, I haven't tried adding mint, but I love that idea. Thanks for taking the time to share it.
Susan Smeltzer says
Hi! Is it possible to sub the oil with something else? I'm eating whole food plant based no oil, but the recipe sounds great.
Hi, Susan! Without testing the recipe oil-free I'm not confident in suggesting it's ok to omit it. If you decide to give it a try and have time to let me know how it goes, I'd love to hear!