My Green Goddess Halloumi Burger is my favorite vegetarian burger ever. These toasted burger buns are filled with grilled, slightly squeaky halloumi cheese that doesn't melt but toasts, and topped with my herby yogurt dip, fresh spinach leaves, crispy cucumber slices, and a nest of alfalfa sprouts.
So, halloumi cheese – have you eaten it? If you haven't I think you are missing out and if you have, well, IYKYK, right?
What is halloumi?
Halloumi cheese is a cheese made with a mix of goat's and sheep's milk, and it originates from Cyprus. Halloumi cheese has a high melting point, so unlike a lot of cheeses, you can grill halloumi without it completely melting into a cheese puddle.
Halloumi stays solid but holds grill marks well and has a pleasing squeaky kind of texture. Halloumi is definitely one of my favorite cheeses!
Using halloumi cheese as a sort of free-style play on a vegetarian burger patty works so well because it's got a great squeaky-ish texture and it holds up well. It's always got a delicious, mild and savory flavor and tastes great when grilled.
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I first had a cheese similar to halloumi with its high melting point, when I was on my honeymoon in Greece years ago (Northeast of Cyprus where halloumi originates). We ordered a cheese saganaki, which was probably a kefalotyri cheese. The idea is the same though.
Being a small part Greek myself, I'm absolutely obsessed with this cheesy technique of shallow-frying a sturdy cheese. Don't deep fry it though - you'll lose the essence of the cheese and be overwhelmed by the oil.
To make it more Canadian accessible (it's where I live for half the year), I use the Cypriot cheese - halloumi.
The bottom line is that halloumi cheese makes these green goddess halloumi burgers one of my favorite vegetarian recipes of all time.
What goes in a halloumi burger?
I make my halloumi burgers or halloumi sandwiches inspired by a green goddess style where I pack greens in and add fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. For this green goddess halloumi burger, I make an herby yogurt dip and then add fresh spinach, sliced cucumbers, and alfalfa sprouts on the grilled bun with the grilled halloumi slices.
What does halloumi taste like?
Halloumi is a sturdy cheese with a high melting point, a mild and savory flavor, and a slight squeaky texture.
About the ingredients for this recipe. See the recipe card below for exact amounts.
- for the burger: you'll need the halloumi cheese - I used a Mediterranean-flavored one but I use the plain one all the time also. One brick is good for 3-4 sandwiches in my opinion. I cut the brick into 12 slices. You'll need a bun - I like flatter burger buns but my brioche buns are my favorite bun of all time.
- for the toppings: you can top this halloumi burger with whatever you choose but I recommend using my herby sauce, spinach, cucumber, and alfalfa for a green goddess experience.
- for the sauce: burgers need sauce and this halloumi burger deserves a bright, fresh, and herby yogurt dip to counter the savory salty cheese.
- prep the burger toppings: wash the spinach, slice the cucumbers
My green goddess halloumi burgers come together quickly, so once you make the sauce (which takes 5 minutes - you can do it while the halloumi fries), you're pretty close to assembly and even better, close to eating a halloumi burger.
To make the sauce, combine Greek yogurt, lemon juice, fresh dill, and fresh oregano. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir the yogurt sauce well and set aside while you fry the cheese.
Slice the halloumi cheese. I slice the cheese into 10-12 slices - enough for 3-4 burgers/sandwiches.
Spray a grill pan with oil or brush it with oil. Fry the halloumi over medium heat, for 2 minutes per side.
Grill the buns in the same pan - either before or after the cheese. I usually do this before.
Spread the herby yogurt sauce on the bottom bun.
Layer on some spinach.
Add the halloumi slices.
Layer on some cucumber slices.
Add a pile of alfalfa sprouts.
Spread more yogurt dip on the top bun.
Add the top bun to the burger and serve.
RECIPE TIP: Make sure to spray your pan so the cheese doesn't stick! You can also grill halloumi on a BBQ but my grill pan allows me to make it even when there is snow on the ground so I usually fry my halloumi that way.
✔ This recipe is vegetarian
> Switch up the toppings - try romaine lettuce, arugula, or kale instead of spinach. Try broccoli sprouts instead of alfalfa sprouts
I use my cast iron grill pan by Lodge to grill my halloumi slices and the burger buns.
You can make the yogurt dip a few days in advance and store it in the fridge for up to about 5 days.
You can grill the halloumi a day or two before and store it in the fridge. Eat it cold or warm it up before making the burger.
I wouldn't recommend making the entire burger in advance as the bun will get soggy from the yogurt sauce.
What to serve with halloumi burgers
Tips + FAQs
Halloumi is available in most large grocery stores. You can also find it in Mediterranean-themed specialty grocery stores.
Yes, you can eat halloumi cheese raw, but because of its texture and consistency, it's truly amazing when grilled.
You can eat halloumi straight out of the package, cold, at room temperature, or hot, like when you are grilling it.
Green Goddess refers to mayo and sour cream-based salad dressing with greens in it. The name refers to its color.
Green Goddess Halloumi Burgers
For the burgers
- 160 grams halloumi cheese (cut into ¼ inch slices)
- 3 burger buns
- handful spinach
- 9 cucumber slices
- handful alfalfa sprouts
- 2 sprays cooking oil ( for spraying the pan)
for the sauce
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from about half a lemon)
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Sauce
- Make the sauce: Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside until needed.
For the Burgers
- Grill the Buns: Spray a grill pan and toast the insides of the buns, for about 3-4 minutes.
- Grill the Halloumi: Spray a grill pan and add the halloumi slices. Cook for about 2 minutes per side.
- Build the Burger: Spread yogurt sauce on the top and bottom buns. On the bottom bun layer the spinach, halloumi, cucumber slices, and alfalfa sprouts. Add the top bun and serve.
Nutritional information is an estimate. Values vary based on products used.
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