Grilled Halloumi Cheese and Veggie Sandwich
with Nutty Toasts
I always halt with curious attention when typical Lebanese ingredients are mentioned in non-Lebanese dishes at Canadian restaurants. Last Wednesday was one of these times.
My daughters and I stopped at a cool restaurant to grab a bite. It was our first time passing by that area of Montreal East, so Google came in handy in our i-phones. That Frenchy Quebecor restaurant serving brunches showed up with hundreds of 5 star reviews. Decision quickly made, we parked and walked in…. and were soon smiling at the ambiance and aromas engulfing us; both equally homey velvety and freshly appetizing.
Browsing the menu, my eyes halted at that particular breakfast dish mentioning Hummus and Halloumi Cheese. How much more that that Lebanese ingredients could be? True, many of our foods have become notorious and worldwide adopted for their high nutrition values and deliciousness, specially the Hummus. But the Halloumi? That was a first for me in Montreal.
So, while I was tempted by the Salmon cake with arugula salad, I was not going to miss trying this Lebanese inspired dish. Call it highly curious interest from a person who is both Lebanese and a Food Blogger who contributes recipes generously to the world community.
Like a chef in a discreet jury, I tried the first bite and the second then went on with my fork separating the layers of ingredients… Roasted thick slices of eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, and tomato…. Two pieces of lightly grilled Halloumi cheese… few arugula leaves… And Hummus, not so hummus, spread on one slice.
I must say, the layering and choices of ingredients could have been better for a more enjoyable sandwich. The look was of no appeal to me neither. I decided that thinner slices of veggies would have been better, and no zucchini, with fresh tomatoes instead of roasted.
It could have used more cheese and sliced thinner for the purpose of this sandwich. I would have also gone with more fresh arugula. The siding Chimichurri dip had really no business in that plate. That latin american sauce is meant for grilled meats and for a good reason.
So me being me, I recreated the sandwich few days later into a snack that was delicious and nicely presentable.
That Lebanese cheese of ours is called Halloum, not Halloumi. It has a particular feature that makes it desirable for salads and sandwiches, as well as some Lebanese pastries. It doesn’t melt into a cream, but keeps instead a good texture. It is a simple delight when grilled, specially with some drops of lemon juice sprinkled over. This is what I do with this recipe.
Up to try it? Let’s jump in!
This sandwich is made with slices of my recipe: Vegan Nutty Bread that is baked with Thyme, Pistachio and Walnut. I love that added aroma of Thyme, and the crunchiness in the softness of the lightly toasted bread. However, you may substitute it with whole-wheat bread, or a nut bread.
Grilled Halloumi and Veggie Sandwich with Hummus in Nut Bread
- 2 fine slices Eggplant
- 4 slices Walnut and Pistachio Bread
- 8 fine slices Haloumi Cheese
- 2 tbsps Hummus
- 4 slices Tomato
- 2 tsps Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 cup chopped Arugula
- Oil Spray
- Salt and Pepper to season
Spray some oil on the eggplant slices and season with salt and pepper. Grill them over high heat for 10 minutes, flipping them over half through.
Spray some oil on Haloumi slices and grill them 2 minutes on each side. Remove, sprinkle them with the lemon juice, and set aside.
Spray some oil on the bread slices, and grill lightly until warm and just a little crispy.
Remove the bread slices and spread them with hummus.
Top it with the slices of eggplant, then the slices of tomato, followed by the Haloumi cheese.
Cover with Fresh Arugula, and place the other slices of bread on. Press very gently, and serve them on the plate(s).