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Halloumi cheese - what is halloumi?

Wondering about cooking with this unique Greek sheep's milk cheese?

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Grilled haloumi cheese
Justin Lightley/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Halloumi cheese is making it's way up the list of popular food trends - and with good reason! Halloumi cheese is a delicious and uniquely grillable cheese. Read on to learn about what is halloumi cheese, cooking and grilling with Halloumi, and some Halloumi recipes, of course!

What is Halloumi cheese? Can I substitute other cheeses?

Traditionally prepared from sheep's milk in the Greek island of Cyprus, Halloumi is a soft curd-like cheese free of rennet and safe for vegetarians who do not eat rennet. (See also: Is cheese vegetarian?) Many similar cheeses are prepared by dairy and goat farmers in Canada and the United States. For legal proprietary reasons, these cheeses are usually called "Halloumi-style" or "grillable" cheeses.

Depending on your recipe, Halloumi is not usually easy to substitute. Tofu or Indian paneer may be used in some recipes, but it won't be quite the same as halloumi or a similar "grillable" cheese.

If you can't find halloumi cheese locally where you live you may want to try shopping online for Halloumi.

What does Halloumi cheese taste like?

Plain, Halloumi is firm, salty and a bit rubbery, perhaps most comparable to a thick feta, though the taste is certainly unique. Cooked, the saltiness fades into a strong savory bite, with a slightly creamy texture.

How to cook Halloumi cheese:

Try Halloumi grilled, pan-fried or thinly sliced. Try it instead of mozzarella in a caprese salad, or serve it with watermelon, as is traditional in Cyprus.

Recipes using Halloumi cheese:

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