The best vegetarian grill dish that's low-carb and keto-friendly? It's got to be these Greek halloumi and vegetable skewers!
In this skewer recipe, the veggies and halloumi, a semi-hard and salty cheese with a high melting point, turn deliciously tender and crispy and take on the Greek-inspired flavors of the marinade, which includes olive oil, garlic, oregano and rosemary. It's not until recently that we started grilling halloumi — and, boy, have we been missing out on this little grilling delight!
We love these skewers since the they're so simple to make and cook up fast on the grill. They require about 20 minutes of prep work, which is just chopping and marinating. Each serving — two full skewers — is 5 net carbs. Now go get your grill on!
What is Halloumi?
Halloumi originates from the island of Cyprus and is made from a combination of sheep and goat's milk. It is a semi-hard, salty cheese that can be a little rubbery in texture (which softens when grilled or fried). It has a high melting point, which makes it ideal for grilling.
Halloumi is higher in saturated fat (it is a cheese after all), so you may want to monitor the amount you eat as it's easy to gobble up and forget about it.
Tips for Preparing The Skewers
Here are tips on each of the processes for making the skewers.
- Chopping the halloumi: Chop the block of halloumi into 1-inch squares (our squares sometimes turn into rectangles as we're not too precise about it!). Halloumi can be a little crumbly, so you don't want to fuss with it too much when chopping.
- Chopping the veggies: We string the skewers with two of our favorite low-carb grilling veggies: red bell pepper and zucchini. To prepare the bell pepper, you'll remove the ribs and seeds and cut into 1-inch squares (does not have to be perfect!). For the zucchini, you'll slice off the ends and cut into ¼- to ½-inch rounds.
- Marinating: After cutting up the veggies and halloumi, you'll marinate the veggies and halloumi in a large bowl with the marinade for 15 minutes. You can marinate for longer if you have more time. You can even do the night before and store in the fridge if you prefer.
- Threading the skewer: We recommend using the thinnest bamboo skewers you can buy since the thicker skewers are more likely to break the halloumi when threading.
Before threading the skewers, be sure to soak the bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes (during this time you'll be cutting up the ingredients and letting them marinade). We typically thread the skewers with the veggies surrounding each piece of halloumi. You'll likely have more veggies than halloumi, so you may want to double up the veggies when threading.
Also, be sure to leave a little bit of space between each skewer piece (grills better that way). Last but not least, threading the skewers with the halloumi cubes can be tricky. Do it slowly and gently as the cheese can crack and crumble. If it does start to crack, simply remove and rethread the halloumi in a part that is not cracked (flip it around). If it breaks in half, simply rethread on the the smaller chunks as best as you can.
- Grilling: Heat the grill on high — at 500 degrees. As soon the grill is the right temp, put the skewers on and grill them for about 3 minutes per side, until the cheese and veggies begin to char.
How to Serve
There are many different options for serving these halloumi skewers. You can eat as is (the way my husband does it) or you could serve the veggies and halloumi in a low-carb pita along with some tzatziki (we buy the tzatziki from Trader Joe's). In terms of low-carb pitas, we use and recommend Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran and Whole Wheat Flour Mini Pita.
Another option is to serve the grilled veggies and halloumi in a low-carb salad by using romaine lettuce as a base and topping with a simple vinaigrette. For a simple vinaigrette, we typically just combine 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
If you try this recipe, we would love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag @lowcarbsimplified on your photo of this recipe on Instagram or Facebook. We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
Greek Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers
- 8 to 10 ounces halloumi cheese (we use Atalanta Halloumi which comes in 8.8 oz packages)
- 1 small zucchini
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- salt and pepper to season
- squeeze of lemon juice, to finish (optional)
- Get started: Submerge 4 wooden bamboo skewers in a long pan filled with water for 20 minutes.
- Prepare your vegetables and halloumi cheese: Chop the block of halloumi into 1-inch squares. Remove the ribs and seeds from bell pepper and cut into 1-inch squares. Slice off the ends of the zucchini and cut into ¼- to ½-inch rounds.
- Marinate: In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, oregano and rosemary. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Add the cut veggies and halloumi to the marinade and toss together. Let marinade for 15 minutes
- Thread the skewers: Thread the skewers with the veggies surrounding each piece of halloumi. You may need to double up some of the veggies when threading (since there will be more veggies than halloumi). Leave a little space between each. When threading the halloumi, be gentle and go slow so it does not crumble. If it starts to crack, simply remove and rethread in a part that is not cracked (flip around). If it breaks in half, simply rethread the smaller chunks as best as you can.
- Grill: Heat the grill on high to 500 degrees. Put the prepared kebabs on the grill and cook for 3 minutes on each side. When done, remove from grill. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the top if desired. Serve immediately.
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