With a crispy, toasty ciabatta bun, creamy pesto mayo, pan-fried halloumi cheese and fresh veggies, this halloumi sandwich is easy to prepare and so incredibly satisfying and delicious. Mix up your lunch routine with this cheesy sandwich and you won’t be disappointed!
Sandwiches. They’re an absolute favourite of mine. You too?
And sandwiches with cheese? Is there any other kind? Always, always, got to have cheese.
Today’s recipe is a halloumi sandwich. In this sandwich recipe, cheese takes centre stage. And, boy, is it ever delicious!! Picture it (or, um, imagine the taste, then make it!): salty, savoury halloumi with pesto, fresh veggies and carby, delicious, toasty ciabatta bread. I mean, c’mon, right?
I’ve used halloumi cheese before in a cantaloupe salad. In that recipe, the cheese was grilled. Today, the halloumi is pan fried. You get a similar result, whether pan frying or grilling. I mean, it’s warmed cheese. You know it’s gonna be good, right?
Halloumi, to me, is like a cross between feta and cheese curds. It has a high melting point, so it’s not a melting cheese like mozzarella, for example. It’s firm in texture, kinda squeaky (like cheese curds), and salty like feta. Bottom line? Simply delicious!!
For the sauce component of this ciabatta sandwich, I used pesto mayo, which is basically a combination of store-bought mayonnaise and pesto.
For the pesto component, I used sun-dried tomato pesto, but feel free to use regular (parsley) pesto, arugula pesto or whatever variety you enjoy best.
Choosing Halloumi Cheese
I like to use about a 5 to 6-ounce package of halloumi cheese for these halloumi sandwiches (the package is 160 grams, actually). Don’t worry if your package of cheese is not exactly 5 to 6 ounces. Just try and get one that’s around that size.
Also, I like to use blocks of halloumi cheese that are kinda square or rectangular in shape (which makes them great for fitting onto the sandwich buns).
You can often find halloumi cheese in round logs, but I find the former works best. Having said that, if you only have a round log of halloumi cheese, don’t let that stop you from making this sandwich! Simply slice off rounds and pan fry. Use enough rounds to fit the bun you are using. Don’t let the shape of cheese prevent you from indulging in this delicious sandwich, because that would be a shame! (As you can probably tell, I take my love of cheese very seriously. Ha!)
Pan-Frying the Cheese
Pan-frying halloumi cheese couldn’t be simpler!
I like to heat up a little olive oil in a nonstick frying pan, then cook the halloumi cheese slabs on both sides for a few minutes until it get a little golden brown in colour and is heated through.
How To Assemble the Halloumi Sandwich
This is an overview of how to assemble the halloumi sandwiches (refer to the recipe card below for full ingredients and instructions):
- Cut the ciabatta buns in half (horizontally), toast them, then spread the pesto mayo over the cut side of all four slices.
- For each sandwich, place the pan-fried halloumi cheese onto the bottom half of each bun.
- Layer on some thinly sliced red onion, cucumber slices, roasted red pepper and baby arugula.
- Place the top bun over top to form the sandwich. Easy!
Tips and Variations
- Pat the roasted red pepper dry of excess moisture so it doesn’t add too much unnecessary moisture or wetness to your halloumi sandwich.
- I love the fresh contrast that the cucumber and baby arugula provides against the salty, savoury halloumi cheese. Having said that, you can totally use whatever veggies you enjoy best. Baby spinach, for example, is a great substitute for the baby arugula. And, if you want to add some sliced tomato, go for it!
- Not into pesto mayonnaise? Just use mayonnaise, a drizzle of hot sauce, mustard or your favourite sandwich condiment.
- Craving a wrap instead? Pile the ingredients onto a flour tortilla and roll up into a wrap.
What To Serve With It
Although it’s quite satisfying all on its own, this halloumi cheese sandwich pairs wonderfully with a warming bowl of soup (I love this roasted red pepper tomato soup) or crunchy things, like gherkin pickles, pickled pearl onions and olives. Of course, a big bag of potato chips is always delicious with a sandwich too.
If you make this halloumi sandwich recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1.5 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
- 2 teaspoons chili olive oil, or regular olive oil
- 1 (160 gram) package halloumi cheese, about 5.5 to 6 ounces (block cut in half horizonally so you have to slabs, one for each sandwich)
- 2 square ciabatta buns, cut in half horizontally (each bun was about 85 grams or 3 ounces)
- thinly sliced red onion, to taste
- 16 to 20 slices cucumber
- 1 roasted red pepper, cut into two portions and patted dry
- 1 handful baby arugula
- To make the pesto mayo: In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and pesto until well combined and set aside.
- To toast the ciabatta buns: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sliced buns on a sheet pan (cut side up) and bake for about 8 to 12 minutes until they're golden and toasty or done to how you like them. Set aside.Note: Alternatively, if you have another favourite way to toast bread, like a toaster oven or toaster, you can do that instead.
- To pan fry the halloumi cheese: Heat olive oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, then add the halloumi cheese. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden on the outside and heated throughout (watch it to ensure it doesn't burn). Once done, allow the cheese to cool for a few minutes.
- To assemble the sandwiches: Spread the pesto mayo over the cut side of all four slices of ciabatta bread. Place a slab of halloumi cheese onto each bottom bun, then top with red onion, cucumber, roasted red pepper and arugula. Place the tops bun over top to form the sandwiches. Serve and enjoy!
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
Tried this recipe?
If you do make this recipe, thank you!! It would mean so much if you could leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed it, and it helps other readers too!