Perfectly cooked and lightly charred Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Halloumi. Sprouts at their finest. Quick. Easy. Delicious.
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Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Halloumi (a veggie alternative to bacon)
Introducing my Pan Fried Brussels with Halloumi. It’s my answer to getting all the saltiness and bite that comes from the usual ‘Brussels with Bacon’ but as a veggie alternative. As a family, we are trying to cut back meat consumption and particularly processed meat. But we don’t want to miss out… So, seeking alternatives to old favourites like bacon (without leaning on ‘fake meat’) has become a new pastime.
The beauty of Halloumi is that as a cheese, it is unusual. Why? Because it doesn’t melt! Its texture remains firm, with a characteristic ‘squeeky’ bite. But it also has a delightfully savoury and salty flavour and that makes it a fabulous substitute for bacon in many dishes.
So… If you’re a fan of Fried Brussels Sprouts with bacon (or any Brussels sprouts with bacon), why not take the plunge and try the Halloumi switch?
What are Brussels Sprouts?
Brussels sprouts don’t enjoy the best reputation. Tarred with childhood memories of mushy, bitter ‘green’, due to overcooking in lakes of boiling water, they are as love-hate as Marmite. But at GFHQ we LOVE them. As soon as Brussels sprouts season arrives, they are a fixture several times a week… Any which way. Although of course, NEVER over-cooked or mushy! And Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts are an absolute favourite.
But what exactly are Brussels Sprouts? Well… Essentially, they are a type of very small cabbage, belonging to the mustard family. And grown as the edible buds (or ‘sprouts’) of the plant. Cooked properly, they are firm and crisp in texture, with a nutty, delicately sweet flavour.
Brussels Sprouts derive their name from Brussels in Belgium, where they are thought to have been widely cultivated as a popular food since before the 16th Century. As a vegetable, they are a fabulous source of fibre, manganese and folic acid, as well as vitamins A, C and K.
When are Brussels Sprouts in season?
Brussels Sprouts are available ‘within season’ and are without doubt at their best, in the winter months… Early sprouts start appearing around October (in the UK) and are generally still good and tasty at least towards March. This year they seem to be great even now in April! However, they are also available frozen. And that means that you can enjoy Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts all year round!
Younger and smaller sprouts tend to be sweeter in flavour, more delicate and less likely to be bitter. When choosing the best, look for plump, bright green sprouts with tightly-packed leaves.
What is Halloumi Cheese?
Halloumi is a delightful, semi-hard cheese that originates in Cyprus. It can be made from sheep, cow or goat milk, which is heated with rennet before cooling (when the curds and whey naturally separate). The curds are left to firm, before being poached with salt in the whey.
Stored in brine, Halloumi is eaten un-ripened. It is delicious ‘raw’. But without doubt, it is at its most scrumptious baked, grilled, barbecued or fried, so that the edges are crisp and lightly charred. At GFHQ, we love Halloumi as much as we love Brussels Sprouts!
Is Halloumi vegetarian?
If you read the section above, you will see that Halloumi is made using rennet. It is an essential ingredient in cheesemaking which enables the milk to coagulate and separate… However, Rennet is not always vegetarian and can be derived from both animal and plant sources. With this in mind, be sure to check the labels if important to you.
Actually, having done a quick ‘recce’ on the internet, it seems there are now at least as many vegetarian Halloumi options as not… Including most major supermarket labels.
Regardless of the type of rennet used, Halloumi cheese is made with milk and thus is not a Vegan option. Having said this, there are now a number of vegan alternatives available in supermarket ‘free from’ chillers and vegan sections. (Although they are not options I have personally tested).
Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts (aka Sautéed Brussels Sprouts) – what’s so great about them?
If you’ve never tried Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts (also known as sautéed Brussels sprouts), you’re in for a treat. Not only are they super-healthy, but they are speedy, simple and utterly delicious. Nothing like those childhood memories!
Pan-frying at high temperature avoids the risk of both over-cooking (which can result in bitterness) and boiling out the goodness. And it also ensures that the natural nuttiness of the sprouts is enhanced. The crisp, lightly charred and caramelised outer leaves give way to a firm yet tender, meaty interior.
Do I need to cook the Brussels sprouts before pan-frying?
No. I know that some recipes recommend steaming or par-boiling sprouts before they are chucked in a frying pan, as the best way to ensure they are cooked. But my experience is that doing so, results in sprouts which can both fall apart and become mushy. Which is not what we want.
Thus, I would always recommend Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts to be sautéed from raw. However, I do use an alternative trick to ensure their interior is cooked to tender perfection… And that is to add a spoon or two of cold water to the skillet part-way through frying, when the pan is super-hot and the sprouts have just started to char. The heat causes instant sizzling steam, adding just enough moisture to permeate through the sprouts, softening as it goes… Yet not so much that it pools in the pan. Once steamed off, the pan dries and the sprouts remain intact and delicious.
Are Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Halloumi gluten free and safe for Coeliacs?
Yes. There are absolutely no gluten-containing ingredients in my recipe for Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts and thus, they are completely safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac).
Ingredients used to make Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Halloumi
- Brussels Sprouts – Best young, fresh and in season, but frozen is still good.
- Olive Oil – To coat and fry to perfection.
- Halloumi – Perfectly squeeky, salty-savoury cheese, cut into cubes.
- Salt – I mostly use ground sea salt. But sea salt flakes, smoked salt flakes and even salt flakes with dulse (seaweed) are divine.
- Lemon Juice – Just a hint, because sprouts adore a touch of acidity to enhance their flavour.
- Herbs and/or Spice – I like to use a little smoked paprika and maybe some chopped parsley or oregano, and a little freshly ground black pepper… But the spice cupboard awaits… Go experiment!
Equipment for making Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts
- Good, sharp vegetable knife and a chopping board
- Large heavy-bottomed frying pan or skillet
- Heat-safe silicone spatula
Preparing Brussels sprouts for frying
- Wash to remove any dirt
- Trim the flatter base of each sprout and remove any loose, damaged or yellowing outer leaves.
- Cut the sprouts in half from the top to the flat base. This will ensure the best caramelisation and perfect cooked texture.
Don’t fancy Halloumi? Other recipe variations to ‘pimp’ your sprouts
- Bacon – Replace the halloumi with that old favourite… A handful of chopped or chunky bacon pieces.
- Pine Nuts and Pumpkin Seeds – Always perfect for adding nuttiness and bite. Simply throw in a handful of either or both in the last couple of minutes of cooking to brown and crisp.
- Walnuts and Peanuts – Also pair perfectly with Brussels sprouts. Add and cook in the last couple of minutes (as for the pine nuts above).
- Fried Onions – Finely sliced or chopped. Add to the pan at the start with the Brussels to allow enough time to caramelise.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes – Another favourite that works divinely alongside Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts. The tangy, acidic intensity of the chopped sun-dried tomato can be used to replace lemon juice, working its magic alone or added with Halloumi or bacon.
Ready to make Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Halloumi?
And that’s probably all you need to know. The full recipe is at the bottom of this post. But if you have any other questions, just shout! Leave a comment or get in touch via social media and I will do my best to help. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
For everything else, head over to our incredible Gluten Free Recipe Index. With hundreds of recipes, sweet and savoury, it’s guaranteed to inspire.
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Other delicious veggie sides you’ll love
Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Halloumi
- sharp vegetable knife
- chopping board
- large frying pan/skillet
- flat silicone spatula
- 300 g Brussels sprouts washed, trimmed and halved
- 120 g Halloumi cheese cut into cubes
- 1½ to 2 tbsp olive oil approx
- sea salt flakes or ground
- 1 tsp smoked paprika optional (or alternative spices)
- ground black pepper
- 3 sundried tomatoes optional – chopped
- 2 to 3 tsp lemon juice approx
- herbs of choice (parsley/oregano) optional – chopped
Prepare the Brussels Sprouts and Halloumi
- Wash to remove any dirt
- Trim the flatter base of each sprout and remove any loose, damaged or yellowing outer leaves.
- Cut the sprouts in half from the top to the flat base. This will ensure the best caramelisation and perfect cooked texture. Set aside
- Drain the Halloumi cheese and cut into bite-size cubes. Set aside
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan/skillet over a medium to high heat. The oil needs to be good and hot.
- Place the sprouts in the pan, toss them in the oil and leave to cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Turn the sprouts over and allow to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. They should be starting to char slightly at the edges. Be sure that all the sprouts have had a chance to cook flat-side down, so that they start to caramelise.
- Give the sprouts a stir.
- At this point add a couple of tablespoons of cold water to the pan. Be careful as it will sizzle into a steam cloud and may spit. The water will steam through the sprouts and help them to soften.
- Once the steam has burned off, have a look at the pan and if it seems a little dry, add a teaspoon or two of extra oil (although it may not be necessary).
- Add the Halloumi to the pan with any seasoning and stir through. If using herbs, they can either be added to the pan or sprinkled over at the end (or a mixture of both).
- If using sun dried tomato, also add this now and stir through.
- Add the lemon juice and toss through the Brussels and Halloumi.
- Leave to cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes or until the Brussels and Halloumi are nicely browned and caramelised. Turn occasionally for an even colour and texture.
- Add any extra seasoning to taste.
- Serve as a side or hot salad, with a slice of lemon and sprinkled with extra fresh herbs as preferred.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Halloumi shared with
- Cook Blog Share Week 17 2022 with The Family Food Kitchen
- What’s For Dinner #363 with The Lazy Gastronome
- Full plate Thursday #584 with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- Fiesta Friday #428 with Angie and The Not So Creative Cook
I have some friends who are massive halloumi fans who are going to be stoked to find some in their sprouts next time they come over – what a fab idea!
They’ll LOVE this then Chloe… They are a great pairing !
Jo Keohane says
That sounds amazing! I love both Halloumi and sprouts so this is an absolute winner for me.
Thanks Jo… It’s the perfect combo x
Cat | Curly's Cooking says
I love brussels and the addition of halloumi sounds delicious!
Me too Cat. The halloumi works so well with them too x
Helen at the Lazy Gastronome says
Thanks so much for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party!! Hope to see you again tomorrow.
You’re welcome Helen. Thanks for hosting x