This grilled halloumi with za’atar seasoning is a simple yet delicious treat. Homemade za’atar is terrific way to add zing and enhance your roasted chicken, hummus, or even some grilled halloumi.
Summer vacation may be winding down for most families, but it doesn’t mean that the outdoor fun has to end. We still have plenty of beautiful weather for weekend pool parties, bonfires at the beach, canoeing in the lake, and hiking in the woods.
And as the weather cools from summer to fall, the outdoors beacon us even more. The cooler temps entice more people to cook and dine outdoors before winter rolls in and freezes us out.
Here in Southern California, we are blessed with grilling weather 365-days a year, so you know we take our outdoor kitchen very seriously.
I am always looking for easy recipes that can be prepared both indoors or outdoors that pack in a lot of flavor and impact with minimal effort. And this grilled halloumi with olive oil and za’atar is one of those recipes.
What is zaatar?
Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend that is taking the culinary world by storm. Like most spice blends, the exact formula varies from region to region, even person to person.
The basic ingredients include thyme, sumac, salt and toasted sesame seeds. My version also includes oregano. And when all of these ingredients are combined, something magical happens.
You can add your homemade za’atar to any food to kick up the flavor. Coat your chicken with za’atar and roast it. Garnish your hummus or yogurt with some za’atar. Even a simple dish of extra virgin olive oil and za’atar to dip your bread in can be a heavenly appetizer for your senses.
If you have never tried sumac, it has a very tangy flavor. Persians love adding it to a big plate of basmati rice and kabob. Paired with woodsy thyme, fragrant oregano and toasted sesame, and your taste buds are having one heck of a party.
How to grill halloumi
Which takes us to this grilled halloumi with olive oil and za’atar. Halloumi is a middle eastern cheese that is also finding newfound popularity. It is a semi-hard cheese that is made from sheep and goat’s milk, and then brined, so it has a salty component to it.
Halloumi is also one of the few cheese’s that you can grill without it completely falling apart from the heat. This gives “grilled cheese” a whole different meaning!
Grilling halloumi isn’t complicated. Simply cut thick slices of the cheese about ⅓-inch thick so they don’t fall apart. Heat your grill or grill pan over medium heat and grill halloumi for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Once grilled it won’t be ooey gooey like most warm cheese. It will be soft, warm and salty.
Add some warm flatbread or pita with grilled halloumi, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a generous sprinkling of za’atar and you have an amazing appetizer to snack on by the campfire, or sitting on the porch while watching the sunset. Am I setting the right mood for you?!
10-year blogging anniversary
And this delicious recipe isn’t the only thing I am sharing today. I am also hosting a very special giveaway just for you! This month marks my 10-year blogging anniversary.
Ten years ago I took an HTML class and learned to hand code my website, FamilySpice.com. I didn’t know about those blogging platforms, Blogger or WordPress, so I decided to build my own website myself.
Over the years, I practiced my food photography skills, I cooked new foods constantly and I typed away on my blog. I have spent the past 6-months fixing many of those horribly written and terrifyingly photographed posts. There are a handful left to be fixed, but it has been an interesting journey to see how far I’ve come.
As I shared on instagram this week, I have created over 1000 recipes, written almost 700 posts, made 44 videos, created 2 cookbooks (and working on a third) and have amassed almost 10,000 photographs!!!!
I certainly don’t know what the next year will bring, let alone the next 10-years, but I am certainly looking forward to new adventures. And you can bet that I will have my camera on hand to document the journey.
Your homemade za’atar can be used in so many different ways, so be sure to save any leftover za’atar for other dishes as well. Just store your za’atar in an airtight container, like a glass spice bottle or mason jar, for up to 2 months.
- 1 TBS sesame seeds
- 1 TBS dried thyme
- 1 TBS sumac
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 8 oz Halloumi
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 pita rounds
- Add sesame to a small skillet over medium heat.
- Stir often until seeds are toasted, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Add thyme and oregano in your mortar and pestle and grind into a fine powder.
- Mix in sumac and sea salt and cooled sesame seeds and set aside.
- Prepare grill for medium-high heat.
- Brush both sides of pita rounds with 1 TBS olive oil.
- Cut halloumi into ¼ to ⅓-inch thick slices and brush both sides with 1 TBS olive oil.
- Add halloumi and pita rounds to hot grill until seared, about 1-minute for each side. Use a metal spatula to slide under cheese to loosen before flipping over and grilling the other side.
- Return grilled pita rounds to serving dish and top with grilled halloumi.
- Drizzle with remaining 1 TBS olive oil.
- Sprinkle generously with 1-tablespoon of prepared za'atar spice mix. Serve with extra za'atar on the side.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 297Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 684mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 13g