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, and less than 10 minutes on the grill. 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 that you use 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.
Other Low Carb and Keto Vegetarian Dishes
- 15-Minute keto paneer masala: If you love paneer masala, then you’ll love this shortcut recipe. This low-carb and keto paneer masala is perfect for busy weeknights since it only takes 15 minutes to make.
- Simple roasted asparagus salad: This simple roasted asparagus salad, made with with roasted asparagus, grape tomatoes, red onions, vinaigrette and freshly grated parmesan, is such an easy low-carb and keto side dish and perfect for celebrating spring or summer!
- Shortcut keto palak paneer: With only 8 ingredients, our shortcut keto palak paneer recipe is quick and easy to make and SO delicious! This Indian spinach curry is made with pureed spinach, paneer (a type of Indian cheese), and several other flavor enhancing ingredients and spices.
- 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)
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving Calories 564Total Fat 50.1gSaturated Fat 24.4gCholesterol 89.1mgSodium 1331.7mgCarbohydrates 7.2gNet Carbohydrates 5.0gFiber 2.2gSugar 3.1gProtein 28g