Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Harissa-Marinated Halloumi

These grilled vegetable skewers with harissa-marinated halloumi are made with pieces of grilled pepper, mushroom, asparagus, and onion interspersed with chunks of grill-friendly Greek cheese tossed in a spicy paste. Here’s how to make them.

Four grilled vegetable skewers with harissa-marinated halloumi.

A couple of the niftiest cooking tricks we know are at play in these grilled vegetable skewers with harissa-marinated halloumi. Actually, they aren’t so much techniques as ingredients. The first, harissa, is a Moroccan spice paste that lends an intriguing heat to anything. The second, halloumi, is a firm, salty Greek cheese that’s sufficiently sturdy to withstand the rigors of the grill while becoming sorta melty and stringy while not entirely collapsing. Intrigued? You should be.–Renee Schettler

Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Harissa-Marinated Halloumi

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 3 to 4
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Special Equipment: 6 to 8 metal or wooden skewers, soaked (if wooden)

Ingredients

  • Accompaniments (optional)

Directions

Preheat the grill to 400°F (204°C). Alternatively, you can heat a grill pan over medium-high or preheat the broiler to high.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the harissa and olive oil.

Cut the halloumi into 12 to 16 chunks. Add the halloumi to the bowl and toss until coated.

Cut the bell pepper into chunks about the same size as the mushrooms. Thickly slice the onion or cut it into similarly sized chunks.

Thread the halloumi and vegetables onto the prepared skewers, alternating between different ingredients or, to ensure even cooking and the ability to take things off the grill as they’re done, thread the halloumi and individual vegetables on separate skewers. If you’re doing this, make sure to leave a little space between the pieces of halloumi so the edges cook.

Place the skewers on a plate, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and cook on the preheated grill or grill pan or under the broiler until the halloumi has started to char, then turn once to cook the other side, removing from the heat as soon as the halloumi is golden, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Ideally, you want the halloumi to be slightly charred on the outside yet stringy on the inside.

Stack the vegetable skewers on a platter and, if desired, scatter with the chopped mint and/or oregano. Serve with any accompaniments of your choice, if using.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Having just come home from the grocery store with two of my favorite ingredients, halloumi cheese and spicy harissa paste, I couldn't pass up combining the two ingredients in this unique vegetarian skewer recipe! The joy of halloumi cheese lies not only its salty flavor but its ability to stand up to heat on the grill; the joys of harissa paste lie in its inherent spiciness and versatility. Although I had never combined the two in one dish, they paired together beautifully and made for a brilliant skewer.

I served these skewers alongside lemon- and garlic-marinated chicken breasts that we grilled along with a rice pilaf with peas and almonds. The veggies I had on hand to pair with the halloumi and harissa souvlaki were button mushrooms, cucumbers, and quartered tomatoes.

I garnished the cooked souvlaki with fresh oregano leaves I had on hand; I did not serve them with any of the optional accompaniments, I didn't think they needed much else.

I cooked them on my trusty indoor grill pan. I marinated the cheese pieces in the oil and harissa mixture for just a minute or so; in Step 3 it says to season the skewers with a pinch of salt and that is important I think. Since the cheese is inherently salty and the harissa paste as well, only a pinch is needed here, mainly on the veggies. I cooked the skewers for 2 minutes per side, flipping once. The cheese at this point was a lovely shade of 'grilled' and the veggies with perfectly grilled as well; still a bit of crunch left in the cucumber slices, but the tomatoes were soft and juicy as were the mushrooms. Overall, we really loved this recipe! A brilliant way to combine two fantastic ingredients.

When I read this recipe, I instantly thought “Yay! A use for my harissa...” The cheese had crispy edges but was only creamy inside for a few minutes while warm. The firmer version of the grilled halloumi was still very enjoyable and the flavors and colors were so captivating. There were no leftovers after a dinner for 3.

We had these on a Monday and when I asked for my husband’s feedback, he verbalized his pleasure but that he was surprised we were not having our usual meatless Monday. This is a meatless dinner that eats like chicken!

I had forgotten that I’d used my bamboo skewers to stake my tomato seedlings so I used my double-prong metal skewers. By the time I had prepped my veggies, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to fit all the veggies on the skewers. To accommodate the double prongs, I cut my veggies and cheese in larger chunks. I used sweet onion, cremini mushrooms, asparagus, and mini bell peppers in yellow, orange, and red. The veggies that didn’t fit on the skewers were grilled loose on the grill pan.

I set the grill to 400°F and the veggies and cheese had a nice char after 4 minutes per side. As an accompaniment, I grilled pieces of ciabatta brushed with garlic pesto and sprinkled with mozzarella and served the skewers and veggies with salad greens, yellow tomatoes, and a bowl of loose labneh for dipping the veggies.

Three harissa vegetable skewers with halloumi on a white plate.

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