Sesame Crusted Halloumi Cheese-Take Your Cheeseboard to the Next Level!

My sister (the one that NEVER likes to be photographed let alone videotaped) LOVES cheese boards. She will spend hours planning and organizing the perfect charcuterie, blend of cheeses, dried and fresh fruits, roasted nuts, with some chocolates wedged in between for good measure.  But for many, the cheese is the real star while all the other accompaniments are the supporting actors. With this in mind, what about taking that cheese to another level of surprising flavor and texture? One cheese preparation that will steal the show is Sesame Crusted Halloumi cheese:

Halloumi cheese is a cheese that was MEANT to be fried. I really mean that–don’t try to eat it plain as it is rather salty and rubbery. However, once this cheese hits the pan the magic begins. The cheese gets crispy on the outside, and almost marshmallow-like on the inside. For those of you not familiar with halloumi, the cheese is made with goat or sheep’s milk (or a mixture of the two) and originated from the country of Cyprus. This cheese is most popular in Greece and throughout the middle east as a grilling cheese, because it maintains its shape under heat. 

Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripened, and brined cheese. The texture is somewhat spongy, and the flavor profile is like a marriage between mozzarella and feta. When I worked at the San Francisco Fancy food show, it was my Sesame Crusted Halloumi with honey that brought down the house. The salty cheese with nutty batter drizzled with rich honey had the perfect combination of sweet and savory. If you have followed me long enough, you would know that this sweet and salty combination  is a theme I love in most of my dishes. 

Adults love a good cheeseboard like a kid loves lunchables, but why not add small slabs of warm halloumi cheese instead of cold cubes of cheese? Tis the time of year when cold foods are not as appealing, and melted cheese offers a warm and comforting pre-dinner bite. This appetizer is surprisingly easy to make, but be sure to serve it immediately, so guests can get the full effect of this cheese warm off the skillet. 

To see my video technique on this fun appetizer, click on the link below:


  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 package halloumi cheese (about 6 ounces) 
  • ¼ cup sesame
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • Honey
  • Avocado oil

Cut the cheese into ½ inch thick slices. Add the onion powder, paprika, and salt to the flour in a bowl. Dip the cheese into the flour, then egg, then into the sesame seeds. For a shortcut, you can add the sesame seeds to the flour, in which you would dip the cheese into the egg, then the sesame and flour together. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet, and add the halloumi cheese and fry until golden brown. Drizzle with honey and serve immediately. 


Halawa, otherwise known as halva, was a confection my mother grew up on in the town of Bethlehem as a child. This was their main dessert most days—either eaten alone or even in between slices of bread. For those that do not know what halawa is, it is similar to sesame fudge that you can slice.

While there is plenty of store-bought halawa, I don’t think it compares to what you can make it home. This 4 ingredient recipe has a more fudgy and creamy consistency and you get the bonus of mixing in any flavors you want from chocolate hazelnut to pumpkin spice.

All you need to get started is milk powder, maple syrup, good quality tahini, and a dash of salt. From there you can add any mix ins you want from rosewater and pistachios to pumpkin butter and pumpkin pie spice. This recipe is so easy even a child can make it, and makes an excellent food gift for the the special people in your life.

To see the video for this recipe, click on the video below:

Pistachio or Pumpkin Spice Halawa

  • 1 cup tahini paste
  • 1 cup milk powder (or use 1 cup almond flour for a vegan version)
  • ½ cup maple syrup or honey
  • Dash salt
  • Several drops rose flower water (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios

For Pumpkin Spice:

  • 1 cup tahini paste
  • 1 cup milk powder (or use 1 cup almond flour for a vegan version)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • Dash salt
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin butter
  • ½ – 1  tsp pumpkin pie spice (depending on how much spice you like)
  • ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

In a bowl, combine the 1 cup milk powder or almond flour with the tahini, maple syrup (or honey), and salt. For the pistachio halawa add the rose water and ¼ cup pistachios, and mix until it is the consistency of a thick clay. Pat the mixture down in an 8 inch serving dish, and press the pistachios into the halawa. 

For the pumpkin spice halawa, omit the rose water and pistachios. Instead add the pumpkin butter and pumpkin pie spice. After patting the mixture down, press the pepitas into the halawa. 

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