Looking for creative ways to cook halloumi? Then you're going to LOVE this mouthwatering Halloumi Pasta!
This delicious pasta recipe feature a simple homemade sauce that's bursting with fresh flavors, juicy tomatoes, and luscious bites of tender cheese. Best of all, it's super quick and easy to make!
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Are you looking for quick and easy dinner ideas? Then do I have a scrumptious recipe for you!
This Halloumi Pasta has become my favorite weeknight dinner. It features a homemade sauce that loaded with flavor, yet incredibly easy to make. In fact, by the time the pasta is ready, so is the sauce ... we are talking under 30 minutes!
This easy recipe is a creative twist on classic tomato basil pasta. Unlike many recipes where halloumi is served on top, here it's simmered in (and becomes an integral part of) the sauce. As the cheese cooks, its taste and texture are transformed.
The result is a fresh, but rich tasting sauce that's bursting with flavor. And the halloumi? Yum ... you will be searching for a piece with every bite!
Are you getting hungry? I know I am! You'll find all the delicious details below!
This recipe uses simple ingredients that are ready fast! Here's what you'll need:
- Pasta - I used penne pasta for this recipe, but other chunky pastas (like rotini, ziti, fusilli, or cavatappi) will also work great. You could even use spaghetti or linguine in a pinch.
- Halloumi - This yummy cheese is what takes this pasta from ordinary to extraordinary! If you've never tried halloumi before, you're in for a treat. Cooking it in the sauce truly enhances this unique cheese, giving it a tender texture and savory, complex flavor that's almost sausage-like.
- Tomatoes - I used grape tomatoes for this sauce, however cherry tomatoes would also work. You could even use regular tomatoes in summer when they're super fresh.
- Vegetable Broth - A little vegetable broth adds a boost of umami flavor to the finished sauce. I prefer to make mine from bouillon (either these cubes or Better Than Bouillon), that way I always have some on hand.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is a must in this simple sauce.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - A little heat easily brightens up the flavors of this pasta.
- Basil - Fresh basil is the perfect finishing touch!
Have extra veggies you need to use up? Or maybe some fresh herbs? Check out the Variations section below, where I'm sharing some easy tips!
Where to Buy Halloumi
Look for this unique cheese in the specialty cheese section of your local grocery store. If you can't find it locally, check Amazon, which carries multiple brands (including this Kryssos brand cheese which I've used before).
Halloumi tends to be a little pricey here in the U.S. However, if your area has any Mediterranean, Greek, or Middle Eastern markets that carry it, you can usually find it for less. In the DFW area, Sara's Market in Richardson carries multiple brands.
You'll Also Need
You'll need a large frying pan to prepare the sauce (this nonstick skillet is my fave), as well as a large stock pot or dutch oven to cook the pasta. This nonstick dutch oven is my go-to for pasta, soups, and so much more!
How to Make Halloumi Pasta
Ready to try this Halloumi Tomato Pasta for yourself? You'll find a detailed recipe at the end of this post, but here's a quick overview of the steps with photos:
- Prepare the halloumi and veggies. This recipe comes together quickly, so cut the halloumi into pieces, halve the tomatoes, and gather the rest of the ingredients before you get started.
- Start the pasta. Because the sauce cooks so fast, you'll want to start the pasta first. While the water heats and the pasta cooks, you'll work on the sauce. When the pasta is al dente, reserve about ½ cup of water, then drain it.
- Fry the halloumi. While the pasta water heats, you'll fry the cheese in a little olive oil. You want to cook it just until it's a light golden brown on both sides.
- Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes. Next, you'll add the garlic and red pepper, cooking it just until the garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds or so). Stir in the tomatoes and vegetable broth.
- Simmer the sauce. Continue cooking the sauce until the pasta is ready. As it cooks, the tomatoes and halloumi will soften.
- Finish the pasta. When the sauce has simmered for about 10 minutes, and the pasta is ready, add the sauce to the pasta (in the pot you used to cook it) and return it to medium heat. Stir everything together (along with a small splash of pasta water), just for a few minutes, until the sauce coats the pasta.
And that's all there is to it. Your easy Halloumi Pasta is ready to eat! So simple, right? And so tasty, too. I predict this recipe is going to become a staple on your weeknight dinner table!
Now that you've mastered this easy recipe, you can experiment a bit. Here are some simple ideas for changing things up:
- Tomatoes - This recipe calls for grape tomatoes, however cherry tomatoes or other tomatoes will also work. Just make sure to cut them into large chunks first.
- Herbs - Feel free to experiment with different fresh herbs, such as mint, flat leaf parsley, thyme, or even rosemary. You could also add a mixture of herbs if you have lots on hand.
- Veggies - This pasta would be delicious with extra veggies added (like zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, or onions). I'd suggest cooking the veggies first (either by frying, grilling, or roasting). Heartier veggies can then simmer along with the tomatoes, but you'll want to add more delicate veg (such as zucchini) near the end so it doesn't overcook.
- Olives - If you're an olive lover, stir some in along with the tomatoes (kalamata or castelvetrano would be delish). Just keep in mind that halloumi is fairly salty, so don't go overboard.
- Pesto - Have some leftover pesto? Try drizzling a little over the top.
This Pasta with Halloumi makes an excellent dinner all on its own. However, if you'd like to round out your meal, pair it with garlic bread or with a light salad, like this Chopped Salad, Pomegranate Salad, Easy Kale Salad, Chickpea Salad, or this Brussels Sprout Salad.
Store any leftover Pasta Halloumi in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It will stay fresh for three to four days. Gently rewarm in your microwave before eating.
Looking for more ways to use halloumi? Try these recipes next:
- Halloumi Fries
- Halloumi Wrap
- Halloumi Mushroom Burgers
- Grilled Halloumi Salad
- Halloumi Sandwich
- Halloumi Fajitas
- Halloumi with Honey Glaze
For more quick meals, check out these 30 Minute Vegetarian Recipes. If it's pasta you're craving, you'll love these fast recipes, too: Pesto Gnocchi, pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce, Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Broccoli, One Pot Pasta, Baked Feta Pasta, and Tomato Basil Pasta.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese that was first produced in Cyprus, a small island country that's located in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s typically made with goat, sheep, or cow's milk, and because it doesn't melt when heated, it's often prepared fried or grilled.
Halloumi has a mild, but salty flavor and a firm texture. When cooked, it becomes crisp on the outside and soft in the middle (though it doesn't melt). Don’t be surprised if it squeaks when you bite into it, similar to cheese curds!
Halloumi is a long lasting cheese, and it can stay fresh for up to a year. Most packages of the cheese have an expiration date which you can check. If you've eaten part of a block, store the rest in an airtight container or zip top bag, then make sure to consume it within three to four days.
Yes, you can eat halloumi raw. However, its flavor and texture are vastly improved by cooking it. When halloumi is fried or grilled, the outside gets crisp while the inside becomes soft (without melting). So delicious!
- Cut halloumi into 6 equal pieces, then cut each piece into 4 more pieces (24 slices total). Prep tomatoes and other ingredients, then set aside.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta. Return to pot.
- While water heats, warm olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Carefully add halloumi slices to pan in a single layer. Cook until lightly golden brown (about 5 minutes). Flip slices, then cook until browned on other side.
- Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to cheese. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Stir tomatoes and broth into cheese mixture. Simmer sauce until tomatoes are softened and pasta is ready. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Pour sauce over pasta, then add a small splash of the reserved cooking water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens slightly and coats pasta (about 2 minutes). Add more of the reserved pasta water if pasta seems dry.
- Stir basil into pasta and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately, topped with more basil, if desired. Enjoy!