Halloumi and Vegetable Bake
There is a reason this Halloumi and Vegetable Bake is popular at my house. Roasting vegetables brings out their sweetness and what better way to serve them than with melted halloumi! This simple tray bake can be made to accompany any main meal (perfect with chicken) however we love having this as our #meatfreemonday meal. Aside from the fact that this tray bake is full of bold and fresh flavours, what I also love is that it is ready from start to end in 30 minutes. Do I hear you say #midweekmeal … or what about #mealprepmeal ! IThis tray bake covers it all! LOL
Now we need to take a moment to talk about those flavour enhances! I always say use the best extra virgin olive oil to generously coat everything (feel free to add more than what I have suggested), freshly ground pepper (do not use white pepper), sea salt and fresh garlic. Please, I beg you, do not use garlic minced in a jar. You want to match the quality of vegetables with the best possible flavour enhances and fresh garlic is essential.
As for the oregano, I know many of you have asked “what is Greek oregano and how is it different to regular supermarket oregano?” Well I want you to buy the two types, open them and smell them. Greek oregano uses a combination of the leaves and the flower buds and has the most amazing aroma! It wouldn’t surprise me if you shoved your nose right into it and inhaled it like it was from the heavens. Therefore, Greek oregano's potent, pungent flavour and fragrance are what distinguish it from the other less flavourful varieties. One taste or smell of this Mediterranean herb will leave a lasting impression, making you never again succumb to the supermarket variety.
Okay, so the vegetables are ready, you’ve baked them for the first 10 minutes and now it’s time to add the halloumi and cherry tomatoes. I personally love adding cherry tomatoes rather than slices of tomato as I love the burst of juice I get in my mouth when I bite into them. They come up so beautifully and full of those heavy roasted flavours, YUM!
And now the halloumi. What can I say about this salty and squeaky cheese except it’s a must! We love eating it raw, barbecued, baked, shaved into baked goods and any other way you can imagine. In this tray bake I’ve melted it over the vegetables and it turns out so good. But is there a difference between different brands of halloumi? There sure is! Some halloumi are softer, some harder and some are saltier. Which is best? Well, that comes down to personal preference. For this tray bake, I chose a halloumi that is made in Australia and has written on the packaging “Made in Australia, Full Cream Grilling Cheese” by a company known as The Riverina Dairy. To tell you the truth, it was the first time I purchased this brand. The “grilling cheese” part of the label sold it to me and to tell you the truth and to my surprise it was better! If you make this, I highly recommend it (not sponsored, I truly loved it!). Once the bake is ready, make sure you serve it immediately so you get to eat the halloumi “melted”. It is one of those cheeses that quickly goes back to being hard as it starts to cool again.
So let’s begin!
Roast those veggies, add the halloumi and tomato and you’ve got a wonderful meal ready for the family. Not enough I hear you say? Why not steam some rice or cut up some pita bread to serve it with? And for that extra flavour, I’ve attached the link to my Greek Tzatziki recipe, which I believe is the best one you’ll try.
In this blog I have added a video of the Halloumi and Vegetable Bake. It will show how simple this recipe is! Enjoy x
8 slices of halloumi
2 medium potatoes, diced into small pieces
1 large zucchini, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 yellow capsicum, diced
1 red onion, sliced into 8
250g cherry tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 rosemary stalks, leaves removed
1 tablespoon Greek oregano
Freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 200C fan forced. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place all vegetables (except the cherry tomatoes), onto the tray and spread out evenly. Now add the garlic slices, rosemary, oregano, season with sea salt and pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and add in the cherry tomatoes and halloumi. Season with a little oregano and the remaining extra virgin olive oil and place once again in the oven for 15 minutes or until the halloumi is starting to turn golden.
4. Once baked, serve onto plates, squeeze fresh lemon juice all over and serve along side pita bread or steamed rice.
5. Optional: Serve with home made Greek Tzatziki Dip.