Fried Halloumi Cheese Grain Bowls (Vegetarian)
I absolutely love grain bowls — they’re such a simple, healthy meal idea! Ready in 30 minutes, this brown rice and lentil grain bowl is easy to whip up at home. Cooked grains are tossed with cut veggies, and topped with pan-fried halloumi cheese. Packed with protein and nutrients—a wholesome 30-minute meal!
Where are all of my “bowl-food” lovers at?! I’m a big fan of “bowl” meals, like rice bowls, noodle bowls, and nourish bowls. Bowls often make great healthy ideas for dinner. Like my Homemade Falafel Quinoa Bowl, or my spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Brown Rice Bowls.
A grain bowl is a meal that consists of a combination of grains, vegetables, protein, and sauce. The base of the bowl typically includes whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or farro, which provide a nutritious source of carbohydrates and fiber.
The grains are then topped with various veggies, a protein, and a flavourful sauce to tie everything together. Grain bowls are super customizable, allowing you to create a meal that suits your preferences and dietary restrictions.
This grain bowl with fried halloumi cheese recipe is totally vegetarian and gluten-free, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in protein or isn’t balanced. The grains and lentils are not only a source of fibre, but protein too! You know what also adds protein? The delicious halloumi cheese.
What is Halloumi?
Halloumi cheese is a semi-hard, unripened cheese that originated in Cyprus and is now popular around the world.
Made from a blend of sheep’s and goat’s milk, halloumi cheese has a distinctive texture that is slightly rubbery and salty in taste. It has a high melting point, making it ideal for grilling or frying, and is often served in salads, bowls, or as a standalone dish.
From a nutrition standpoint, halloumi cheese can be a nutritious addition to your bowls, sandwiches, and salads. It’s rich in protein (6g protein per ounce), and calcium, offering 15-20% of the recommended daily intake per serving.
How to Fry Halloumi:
- Cut the halloumi cheese into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
- Do not add any oil or butter to the pan as halloumi cheese releases enough oil during frying.
- Place the halloumi slices in the pan and let them fry for 1-2 minutes until the bottom side turns golden brown.
- Use a spatula to flip the slices over and fry the other side until it is also golden brown.
- Remove the slices from the pan and place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
You can serve the fried halloumi cheese as a side dish or as a topping on salads, bowls, or sandwiches. In this halloumi cheese recipe idea, we’re serving it on top of our hearty vegetarian grain bowl with brown rice, lentils, roasted vegetables, and a simple dressing.
Building a Balanced Grain Bowl:
As a Registered Dietitian, these are the steps that I follow to build a nutrient-dense, well-balanced grain bowl:
- Use a hearty grain: Think brown rice, quinoa, millet or buckwheat. They’re usually simple to prepare (just boil water, add the grains and simmer to cook) and delicious with any topping and/or sauce combinations.
- Add vegetables (cooked or raw): In this recipe we’re using asparagus and grape tomatoes. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand, but this combination with the halloumi cheese is superb.
- Add a protein source if you don’t have one already – in this case it’s lentils (which we mix with the brown rice) and halloumi cheese.
- Add your sauce. In this recipe I used a quick, homemade Lemon Balsamic Dressing and it was fantastic. Head down to the recipe to check it out!
This recipe checks all the boxes of a well-balanced meal! It’s got fibre-rich carbohydrates, vegetables, high-quality protein sources, and healthy fats.
Notes About This Recipe:
- For my whole grain base, I use brown rice and mix it with lentils to make sure our meal has enough protein to keep us full. You can really use whatever grain you like (think quinoa, bulgur, millet, or farro) and mix it with legumes like lentils, chickpeas, or beans.
- I recommend garnishing your grain bowl with a fresh herb for a nice flavour punch. This recipe calls for parsley, but you could also use chopped fresh mint or basil.
- To cook the vegetables, this recipe calls for baking/roasting. You could also grill them, saute them in a pan, or even cook them in an air fryer!
Connect with Hannah Magee, RD!
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. If you try it, let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review in the comments below.
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Fried Halloumi Cheese Grain Bowls (Vegetarian)
Vegetarian Grain Bowls:
- 1 cup brown rice, or other whole grain like quinoa, bulgur, or farro
- 1 cup lentils, drained and rinsed
- 10-12 medium asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off, and cut in half
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pinch salt and pepper, each
- 4 1/4 inch slices halloumi cheese
- fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. At the same time, heat a large non-stick frying pan to medium-high heat on the stove.
- Arrange asparagus and tomatoes on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes (depending on thickness of the asparagus) until it can easily be pierced with a fork.
- While the vegetables cook, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Then fry the halloumi cheese slices for 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from the pan and pat with paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Toss brown rice with lentils, then divide amongst your bowls and top with asparagus, tomatoes, and fried halloumi.
- Drizzle with the lemon balsamic dressing, garnish with parsley, and serve.