Oh boy. We’ve been working up to this recipe all week and I’m so excited to share these tacos with you today!
It’s a cultural mishmash of components, but the end result was meant to be. Maybe we can call them Mexican(ish).
These sweet-and-spicy tacos are giving my favorite vegetarian tacos a run for their money. Which is fine with me, because tacos can do no wrong.
I propose that you invite some friends over this weekend and make tacos! You can prepare the salsa and sauce before your guests arrive. Ready?
What is Halloumi Cheese?
Halloumi is a magical cheese that you can fry or grill. Most cheeses would turn to mush under those conditions, but halloumi has a very high melting point that works in our favor.
Halloumi becomes super delicious after it’s fried or grilled. It’s creamy and salty, kind of like part-skim mozzarella, and the outside develops a more firm texture after it’s been heated.
It’s been a long time since I ate grilled chicken, but cooked halloumi does have a similarly tender bite. It’s also a fun substitute for fish in tacos or salads.
Where to Buy Halloumi Cheese
For years, halloumi was the magical and elusive cheese that I kept hearing about. I saw it on other food blogs and magazines, but try as I might, I could not find it.
I finally tasted halloumi in Greece last September (halloumi comes from Cyprus). It was everything it was promised to be.
I went home determined once again to find it. And you know what? It’s suddenly everywhere. You can buy halloumi at Whole Foods, near the goat cheese. I’ve even found it at the grocery store nearest me, in the gourmet cheese section.
Halloumi is a little pricy (about ten dollars for one-half pound, which is what you’ll need for these tacos), but it’s worth it to me.
Halloumi Taco Variations
I love the pineapple salsa featured in this recipe. It’s fresh, sweet and spicy. That said, you can use any pico de gallo or similarly chunky salsa instead of pineapple. Here are some more options:
Halloumi Tacos with Pineapple Salsa & Aji VerdeCourse: MainCuisine: Mexican
These amazing vegetarian tacos feature fried halloumi cheese, pineapple salsa and a drizzle of Peruvian green sauce. You’ll love this unlikely combination of flavors! Recipe yields 8 tacos (enough for 4 servings).
- In a medium skillet (I love to use cast iron) over medium heat, warm each tortilla on both sides until it’s warmed through and developing a few little golden spots. Stack each tortilla together under a clean tea towel to keep them warm.
- Warm the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Using kitchen tongs, carefully place slices of halloumi into the hot oil (be careful, the oil can splatter). Leave a little room around each piece of cheese so they don’t stick together (I usually cook the cheese in two batches). I recommend covering the skillet to contain any splatters.
- Cook the cheese until the undersides are golden, about 2 to 4 minutes (if it’s taking forever to brown, raise the heat a bit; if it’s browning very quickly or you catch any whiff of smoke, turn down the heat). Carefully flip each piece of cheese with the tongs, recover the skillet, and cook until the other side is golden, about 2 to 4 minutes.
- In the meantime, place a few paper towels on an empty plate or cutting board to absorb excess oil. Place each piece of cooked cheese onto the plate and let the cheese cool down a bit before handling. Slice each piece of cheese into strips about 1″ wide for more even cheese distribution throughout your taco (hooray).
- To assemble the tacos, place a few strips of cheese along half of your tortilla. Using a slotted spoon or serving fork, top the cheese with pineapple salsa. Finish each taco with a drizzle of aji verde. Serve warm!
- If you intend to have leftovers, store the individual components separately and combine just before serving. You can gently warm the tortillas and cheese in the microwave. Assemble and enjoy.
- PREPARE IN ADVANCE: You can make the salsa and aji verde in advance and store them in the refrigerator for later. Ideally, let them warm to room temperature before serving. Freshly fried halloumi cheese is the best but it also reheats pretty well in the microwave.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Be sure to use certified gluten free tortillas.
- MAKE IT DAIRY FREE/VEGAN: This is a stretch, but you could replace the halloumi with crispy baked tofu and add dollops of this avocado sauce instead of the aji verde.