Summer is nearly here & I'm dreaming of BBQ's & picnics in the sun. 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 & chilli on ours then eat it hot from the BBQ, burning our mouths!
Or layer it 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 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.
Traditional halloumi is made with dried mint packed into it's folds. I didn't happen to have any dried mint, so used oregano instead in the marinade, and I think that works just as well!
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. My original recipe called for just lemon juice, but I find the addition of some salty briny caper juice (or pickle juice) adds that extra lactic tang that just lemon juice was giving it. Use white wine or apple cider vinegar instead if you don't have any to hand.
The important thing is to choose the right type of tofu!
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! Don't do it! 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.
Lay the tofu slices out in a single layer on the tea towel & put another clean tea towel on top. Put another chopping board on top of that & then something heavy on top of the whole thing. This helps to squeeze out any water from the tofu & allows it to absorb more of that yummy marinade!
Leave for an hour or so for a really good squeeze, then put it in your marinade. You want to marinade it for at least an hour, but it will be better if you do it overnight!
Then 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
- 450 g block firm tofu (around 450g)
- 2 tablespoon rapeseed / olive oil (plus extra for frying)
- 3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Juice of 2-3 lemons (Can also add caper brine or white wine/apple cider vinegar)
- 1 to 1.5 teaspoon sea salt (depending on taste)
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs / fresh herbs chopped finely (or herb of choice - oregano is great)
- Press 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.
- 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.
- Next add the tofu. Make sure all the tofu is well covered. If you need extra moisture add a little extra oil or caper juice, and 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 the remaining 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 or a hot griddle & cook until sizzling & you have lovely griddle marks