The red-squiggly-line brigade is back, and it’s targeting three out of four words in this recipe title. They would have me serve you Thallium Sharma with Kazantzakis, apparently. However, poisoning people isn’t my bag, and I doubt the still-living relatives of Nikos Kazantzakis would appreciate me serving him up in a flatbread — and so we move swiftly on.
Cheese – is there anything it can’t do? In this case, melt, I guess – but that’s specific to certain kinds of cheeses. Cheese is, generally, well-known for its melting capabilities; I’m not sure fondue would be the same otherwise.
In this case, cheese is a delicious and robust alternative to meat – helpful when you have to feed a bunch of carnivores alongside your pescatarian wife, and you want to please everyone. Halloumi is a magical ingredient; salty, firm, and distinctly unyielding when subjected to heat. I love the way it softens very slightly but refuses to melt, keeping its bite while taking on flavours like a champ.
Are you ready? I know I am. I was born ready.
Halloumi Shawarma with Tzatziki (Vegetarian, Gluten-free)
Marinating time: min. 1 hour
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
2 medium bowls (I used a jug for the marinade because we needed to do the washing up real bad); wooden spoon or spatula; box grater; fine mesh sieve; zester/garlic press (if using); large frying pan; knives, cutting board, etc – you know the drill.
For the Shawarma
- 2 x blocks light halloumi (450g)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Salt & pepper
For the tzatziki (makes 8 portions, but you’ll want to eat it on everything)
- 1 x 500g pot 0% fat Greek yoghurt
- 1 whole cucumber
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt & pepper
To serve: seeded flatbreads/wraps, jarred roasted peppers/courgettes, salad… whatever you fancy.
- Chop the halloumi into small, bite-sized chunks – don’t worry too much about form, you want it to be a little rustic. In one of your bowls, combine 2 tbsp of olive oil, your spices, a little salt and a generous amount of black pepper. This will form a deliciously fragrant paste that you will struggle not to lick off the spoon, because your lizard brain will be telling you it’s a great idea. Add the halloumi and mix thoroughly so that everything’s coated. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least an hour — I did my prep the day before, and it was all the better for having had that overnight stint in the fridge.
- Make your tzatziki – again, this will benefit from some time to let the flavours mingle, but it will be delicious even if you eat it straight away. Chop off any scratty ends to your cucumber then coarsely grate it. Add to your sieve and squeeze as much water out as you can – this will give you a thicker, more flavourful tzatziki. In your remaining bowl, combine the yoghurt, 1 tbsp olive oil and drained cucumber, along with a generous amount of salt and pepper; zest/press/finely dice your garlic and add this as well, making sure everything’s thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
- When you’re ready to cook, get your frying pan on a medium-high heat (no need to add any oil) and let it get up to temperature. Once hot, add the halloumi and cook for 10-15 minutes, making sure to scrape off any deliciousness from the bottom of the pan, until the cheese is soft and “melty”. Serve inside flatbreads or wraps with the tzatziki and some roasted peppers, or pile onto a salad. The choice is yours!
Bonus picture of my brother violently enjoying the shawarma:
His fiancée also kept exclaiming about how good it was the whole way through the meal, which is the main reason this recipe is appearing here at all – so if you like it, thank Holly! If you hate it, blame Holly! You have options.
WW Flex™ points
- Tzatziki 5sp (8 servings = 1sp per portion)
- Shawarma (4 people = 13sp; 5 people = 10sp; 6 people = 9sp)
(Points worked out using the app – please run it through again if you make any changes!)