Roasted summer vegetable pasta with halloumi is a gorgeous, yet incredibly easy, dinner that makes the most of all those summer vegetables. It includes pasta and a chewy, salty cheese to make it appealing to everyone. And it’s easily modified to use whatever veggies you have on hand or that you like the most. Just in time for #LCHumpDayPasta.
Created by LC recipe tester Olivia Bleitz | Personal collection, 2021
Somewhat controversial opinion–I like a higher ratio of vegetable to pasta in just about any dish. My dining companion (a.k.a. my spouse) doesn’t necessarily agree, and this infinitely riff-able roasted summer vegetable pasta with halloumi is a perfect compromise. I can load up the baking dish with all the color and variety that I crave and he can fill his plate with mostly penne, taking only the vegetables that he desires. If you haven’t had halloumi–the squeaky, meaty, salty cheese–it prevents this vegetarian dish from being too virtuous.–Olivia Bleitz
WHAT IS LC HUMP DAY PASTA?
We’re glad you asked. LC Hump Day Pasta (#LCHumpDayPasta) is a little something we cooked up to help you on the night of the week that you feel least like cooking. Wednesday was traditionally Prince Spaghetti Day (for those of you old enough to remember). We’ve revamped and updated that to Hump Day and included every type of pasta there is.
Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta with Halloumi
- 8 ounces halloumi cheese* cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch (12- to 18-mm) cubes
- 1 pint (12 oz) cherry tomatoes
- 1 (12 oz) broccoli crown
- 1 (12 oz) medium zucchini
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more to serve
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more for the pasta water
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 12 ounces short pasta such as fusilli or penne
- Zest and juice of one lemon preferably organic
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or fresh basil or a combination, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Prepare your vegetables. Halve any tomatoes that are larger than bite-size, chop broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces, no larger than 1 inch (25 mm), cut zucchini in half lengthwise then into 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick half-moons, and peel, smash, and roughly chop the garlic.
- In a large baking dish or roasting pan, combine the vegetables and halloumi. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes, if using. Toss to combine, then spread in an even layer.
- Roast vegetables and cheese, tossing once, until the vegetables and cheese begin to brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Pour drained pasta into the baking dish, slowly add up to a 1/2 cup of the cooking water, tossing vegetables until everything is glossy.
- Stir in lemon zest and juice, serve topped with chopped herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
*What is halloumi?If you’ve never had halloumi, then you’re in for a superb treat. From the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, halloumi is sheep or goat’s milk cheese (sometimes a mixture of the two). Like marshmallows, halloumi is pretty good right out of the package but when toasted, it achieves another level of tastiness entirely. It’s a chewy, salty, and rubbery cheese to begin with but when grilled or toasted, it becomes crisp on the outside and soft and melty on the inside. Part of the charm of halloumi is that it stays intact when heated, rather than oozing all over. It’s a great addition to meat-free dishes because it provides some of that missing “meaty” texture. If you can’t find it, you can sub another cheese with a high melting point like queso fresco, feta, cheese curds, or paneer.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This roasted summer vegetable pasta with halloumi is a simple and impressive side (or main) dish. A great way to showcase summer vegetables! It’s almost too easy, pasta and a hearty serving of fresh summer vegetables all at once!
For those who are strangers to the ways of halloumi, think of a firm goat cheese that can hold up on the grill. Perfect served with a pepper-crusted steak.
Some form of roasted summer vegetable pasta should be on everyone’s go-to list for a quick and easy dish that can be on the table in just about an hour. The possibility of using whatever vegetables you have on hand can really make it an any time of year dish and substituting halloumi cheese for mozzarella and/or Parmesan adds a nice salty, chewy texture. The lemon juice and zest add freshness and lightness to the combination of cherry tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, and broccoli that I used for this recipe.
My only complaint is that after roasting what seemed like an abundance of vegetable shrinkage resulted in far less than I wanted. I craved more broccoli florets with their crispy tops and more tomatoes. On the other hand, I wanted to exclude the basil which seemed like the only element that didn’t work. It competed with the lemon and detracted from its brightness. I might even add more red pepper flakes the next time I make this dish to up the spicy back note.
I’ll also consider adding vegetables…possibly including some peppers and red onions in the mix. That’s the beauty of a recipe like this roasted summer vegetable pasta with halloumi, it’s likely to work well with a variety of additions and substitutions. I served this with a green salad. I didn’t think it needed bread or other accompaniments.
Vibrant and fresh, this roasted summer vegetable pasta with halloumi is easy to throw together and versatile, allowing you to take advantage of the summer bounty. I used garden fresh cherry tomatoes, broccolini, and zucchini but the possibilities are endless; this recipe gives the home cook a lot of latitude!
Because I used a lot of vegetables, I went off-book a little bit by using a rimmed baking sheet to maximize caramelization and avoid steaming the vegetables. I loved the innovative addition of the salty and firm halloumi cheese; it retained its shape yet browned beautifully. This will definitely be moving into my menu rotation!
I had always browned halloumi in a skillet, but this recipe introduced me to another great way to prepare it. The cheese and vegetables roasted beautifully together. The golden-brown edges of the halloumi cubes looked so delicious nestled among juicy summer vegetables and tender but still firm broccoli. I loved the idea of tossing them with pasta right in the baking dish—dinner for a crowd was ready for presentation in no time! The roasted summer vegetable pasta with halloumi was wonderful when warm, but the leftover was enjoyed the next day cold. Tossing it again with a little more olive oil and lemon juice transformed it into a pasta salad.
I used a combination of parsley, basil, and oregano (which I like with garlic) from my backyard, but fresh dill and mint would also be lovely. Halloumi is a Greek cheese and I think of those herbs when I think of Greek food. (My halloumi was imported from Cyprus and had specks of mint in it.) I can’t wait to make this again when the tomatoes in my garden are ripe and ready to pick.
I prepared this dish for a no-fuss quick summer dinner, so store-bought flatbread made the table for wiping the lemony garlicky juices. Had I had more time I definitely would have made the Zanzibar sesame bread on the LC site. (Have you all made it? It’s pretty great.) Oh, and chilled rosé wine was poured—‘tis the season, yes?
I have a garden that is exploding with summer vegetables right now so this dish spoke to me. The recipe suggests vegetables to use but also said that others could be substituted. From my garden, I chose zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, heirloom cherry tomatoes, garlic, and onion.
I cut all my vegetables into bite-size pieces and sliced the cherry tomatoes in half. I had a lot of vegetables so I had to increase the roasting time by 10 minutes to get everything properly cooked. There was quite a bit of liquid after roasting so I didn’t find it necessary to add much of the reserved pasta water. I chopped fresh parsley and basil to add at the end.
This roasted summer vegetable pasta with halloumi was light, fresh, and had a wonderful savory lemon flavor that worked well with the vegetables and herbs. I liked the taste of the halloumi cheese but because it has such a high melting point it just softened but did not liquify. Unfortunately, several of the small pieces of cheese clumped together and created some large chewy wads of cheese that I didn’t really enjoy. When I make this again, I’ll use good feta, adding it to the hot vegetables and pasta so that it melts and coats everything evenly.
I’d also increase the red pepper flake as the 1/4 tsp was barely detectable. We all added salt and pepper at the table so a little extra of each during preparation is needed. This was served with grilled salmon and a cucumber and tomato salad.
Originally published August 25, 2021