If you love halloumi but you can’t or don’t have some, feta, paneer, queso panela, queso para frier, and even tofu are among the best alternatives you can try!
Substitute for halloumi: options for the cheese-loving vegetarian
Being a vegetarian and a cheese lover can sometimes be a bit challenging. You crave a certain type of cheese, but it’s not always available or suitable for your diet.
This is where substitutes come in.
In this article, I will explore different options that can be used as a substitute for halloumi.
What is halloumi cheese?
A semi-soft, salty and white cheese, Halloumi cheese is made from either goat’s or sheep milk and sometimes, a mixture of both. It’s super popular in the Mediterranean region where it’s often used on salads, sandwiches, and, a personal favourite of mine, grilled as a side dish.
Halloumi has got such a distinct taste and texture, making it a great cheese addition in many vegetarian dishes.
Why look for a substitute for halloumi?
There are loads of reasons why someone would want to search for a substitute for halloumi cheese:
- Halloumi might be required for your recipe and you can’t find it in your local grocery.
- Maybe you’re vegan and dairy products are a big no-no for you.
- You’re lactose intolerant and having cow milk doesn’t bode well with you.
And so much more! But, whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered with these halloumi substitutes below.
Best substitutes for halloumi cheese
- Paneer Cheese
Made from cow or buffalo milk, Paneer is a fresh cheese commonly used in Indian cuisine. It’s a wonderful kind of cheese I’ve even had a go at making at home by boiling the milk and then curdling it with an acidic ingredient like vinegar or even fresh lemon juice.
Since it’s a fresh cheese, it has this crumbly texture and super milky, tangy taste, just like halloumi which makes it a great sub.
Although, if you’ve never used this cheese before, there’s one thing I learned that you need to note; cooking paneer on high heat for too long drastically changes its texture.
Crisp outside and soft inside should be your aim. So, keep that in mind if your recipe involves frying or grilling!
- Feta Cheese
Feta is a salty cheese with a softer texture compared to other aged cheeses. It’s a greek cheese made from either sheep’s milk or a mix of sheep’s milk and goat milk, hence, it tastes quite similar to halloumi.
I like to grate or cut it into cubes and add to my salads or as a halloumi substitute in sandwiches. I also tried grilling it once to use as a side and it turned out just as nice as halloumi would have!
Enjoy feta-like cheeses but want more variety? Discover some ideas with these alternatives to blue cheese.
Tofu might not exactly be cheese, but it’s an excellent option and the ideal halloumi substitute for the vegans out there.
Its mild flavor and firm texture mean it would work in basically any dish that uses halloumi cheese I can think of.
This plant-based alternative to halloumi cheese is also available in many grocery stores, high in protein and there are quite a number of health benefits tofu provides, making it a solid choice for just about anyone looking for halloumi cheese substitutes out there.
Cut into thin, large slices or even cubes and throw it on a grill (or pan) till it develops a wonderful crust and you’re good to go!
- Queso Panela
Queso Panela is a versatile cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. It’s a semi-soft cheese with a white near-ivory hue that keeps its shape when grilled or tossed in a pan. Taste wise, it’s mild and slightly salty with a fresh flavour.
All these properties make it a great halloumi cheese substitute.
- Queso Para Frier
Queso Para Frier is yet again another cheese that’s great for frying. It’s a white and firm mild cheese that’s popular in Mexico as well as parts of the Caribbean where it’s usually fried and even baked.
It’s great on a variety of dishes that involve fried or grilled cheese but I like having it alone as an appetizer. It’s the perfect foundation for a great meal!
FAQs for substitutes for halloumi cheese
I’d say feta is most similar to halloumi cheese. It’s nearly the perfect halloumi cheese substitute. Although feta’s got more moisture content on average, they’re both different kinds of mild cheese with a salty flavor that still stay firm even when they’re under heat.
Mozzarella and halloumi are both white, layered cheeses. Halloumi is made primarily from sheep’s milk while mozzarella is an Italian cheese made from buffalo’s milk.
Halloumi would maintain its shape when heated but aged mozzarella gets this stringy consistency when it’s melted.
Halloumi is one of the best substitutes for feta out there. They’ve both got similar properties and share loads of characteristics tastewise, so they make great substitutes for one another.
Halloumi has a mild flavour and salty taste with a slight tang. I think it’s also got a slight milky flavour that’s quite nice and mellow.
BOTTOM LINE: Halloumi is an amazing cheese that’s used in a variety of cuisines. However, if you find that you’re all out or it won’t work for your diet, there are many other options you can use in its place.
I usually use tofu for recipes where sacrificing that cheesy and milky taste wouldn’t change the meal all that much. I also found out that feta and paneer are great for recipes that involve grilling and frying as they both hold well under heat, just like halloumi does.
So, you see! Regardless of your diet, there’s a substitute for halloumi that can fit right into your regimen and recipe!
I love cheese so I’m always out hunting for the best substitutes for some of my favourite kinds of cheese. Have a look at what I found were the best alternatives for Cheshire cheese and my favourite substitutes for cheddar cheese.