Summer is here & I'm dreaming of BBQ's & picnics in the sun, and nothing is nicer on the BBQ than this Vegan Halloumi Cheese. There's one thing I used to always love before I went vegan, and that was Halloumi on the BBQ. In fact Halloumi was the last thing I struggled with giving up! But now I have this easy vegan tofu halloumi recipe to make & it's made my BBQ days so much happier!
Halloumi is notorious for being squeaky & with a very mild salty flavour. We would always spritz lemon & add some chilli sauce (like this one Scotch Bonnet & Jalapeño Chilli & Tomato Jam) on ours then eat it hot from the BBQ, burning our mouths! This vegan tofu halloumi substitute is just as delicious cooked in the same way!
Alternatively, the vegan halloumi is super yummy layered into a burger (can I suggest making my awesome Black Bean & Mushroom Seitan Burgers for an extra yummy BBQ!) with lots of added extras like lettuce, onion rings and all the condiments!
This vegan tofu halloumi recipe comes together with just a few key ingredients:
- Extra Firm Tofu: The important thing is to choose the right type of tofu! Make sure to use extra-firm tofu (the kind you get in the chiller at the supermarket. Poke it to check it's the hard one!) This recipe will not work at all with silken tofu! The best way to get the right texture is to cut the tofu block into thick slices, then put a clean tea towel on a chopping board.
- Lemon Juice: Halloumi is quite tangy so lemon juice adds to the overall flavour and tang.
- Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar: These provide an
- Salt: When making the tofu marinade to magically turn the tofu into halloumi, don't be shy with the salt. Halloumi is quite a salty cheese so it needs a lot to create the authentic flavour.
- Nutritional Yeast: The cheesy flavour comes from nooch! Of course it does. I buy mine in bulk
- Dijon Mustard (or other similar mustard). This adds to the overall tangy flavour.
- Oregano or Dried Mint: Traditional halloumi is made with dried mint packed into it's folds. You can choose to use this, or oregano. Either is delicious.
Check the recipe card below for the quantities you need for the vegan tofu halloumi!
This vegan version of halloumi stands up to the grill or BBQ just as well, and whilst it might not be quite as squeaky, it definitely hits all the other texture and flavours.
- Slice the firm tofu into 1cm slices.
2) Wrap the tofu in a teatowel and press down to remove moisture. You can put it under something heavy for half an hour if the tofu has quite a lot of moisture in it.
3) Make the marinade by squeezing the lemons into a container that has a water tight lid.
4) Add all the other marinade ingredients and mix well.
5) Add the tofu pieces to the marinade. Leave for at least 2 hours or even overnight. Flip or mix the tofu so that all the pieces are covered in the marinade.
6) When ready use, simply grill or BBQ then serve.
Hint! Oil the grill or BBQ first with a little bit of olive oil on a brush. This prevents the tofu halloumi from sticking to the grill and helps create those pretty marks.
This recipe was developed by Vanessa, one of the original co-founders of this site. Vanessa is now working on her plant based health coaching business, Energise and Thrive Plant Based. She helps people get high energy, great health, and balanced eating with delicious plant-based food.
She’s also brought out her FREE Guide - 5 Steps to Balanced Plant Based Eating which you’re welcome to download. Of course, all the recipes she has created for The Vegan Larder (like this one!) will remain here for you to access.
🌿Substitutions and Variations
This recipe can be customised to suit your own taste buds..
- Spicy: Make spicy halloumi by adding chilli to the marinade
- Thrifty: You can use the vinegar from some capers, cornichons or other pickles. (capers are particularly good!)
- Herbs: I use oregano in this recipe, however dried mint or parsley, or even thyme will also work nicely.
The cooked halloumi keeps for up to a week in the fridge. You can also keep the tofu in the marinade for 4 or 5 days and then cook it. It will have a stronger, tangier flavour.
Ordinary halloumi cheese is not vegan as it is made from cow or goats milk . This version is made from tofu and is vegan.
You can freeze the tofu on its own. When thawed, it will be spongier and soak up the marinade more.
This recipe does rely on tofu to create the vegan halloumi effect.
When you remove the tofu moisture, you allow it to absorb more of the flavoured marinade!
You likely have chosen the wrong kind of tofu. The tofu in this recipe needs to be extra firm. Make sure you do not buy the kind in tetra packs as this is always soft and squishy and not the right type.
Now, all you need to do is simply fire up your BBQ or get out your grill & make your Yummy Vegan Tofu Halloumi! Don't forget that extra squeeze of lemon on top!!
Vegan Tofu Halloumi
- Press the tofu and cut into slices around ½ inch thick (similar to how you see traditional halloumi sliced). You can press the tofu using plates with something heavy on them or using a tofu press.450 g block firm of tofu
- Put all the ingredients except the tofu into a tupperware or baking dish, and mix well. Ideally something that can be sealed and turned upside down to make sure all the tofu is really well marinded.3 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 2 lemons, juiced, 3 tablespoon white wine / apple cider vinegar, 1½ tablespoon dijon mustard, 2 cloves garlic, 1½ teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon oregano
- Next add the tofu. Make sure all the tofu is well covered. If you need extra moisture add a little extra apple cider vinegar or some more lemon juice.
- Leave the tofu to marinade for at least a few hours, better still overnight. If you have a sealed, water-tight container you can flip it over half way through to make sure the tofu gets evenly marinaded.
- To cook, heat a griddle pan with some oil. Get it nice and hot, then fry the slices of tofu until they have a little char on them. If there is extra marinade left over either use it for an extra dip or pour it over the frying tofu for extra flavour.
- Alternatively, place on the BBQ and cook until sizzling & you have lovely griddle marks. You can also oven bake for 25 minutes or until a little crispy.