Crispy Halloumi with Roast Tomato Maftoul

This recipe from our friends at Riverford is inspired by Saganaki; a traditional Greek appetiser of fried cheese. Halloumi is coated in polenta and herbs with a drizzle of honey, to give a moreish crispy coating. Not all the sesame and thyme coating will stick to the cheese but, don’t worry, the crispy honeyed bits left in the pan add a satisfying bit of crunch.


Serves 2, 30 mins prep time

  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil for roasting
  • 150g maftoul
  • 500ml veg stock
  • 60g green olives
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 15g parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp polenta
  • 1 pack halloumi
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 50g watercress


  • Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Put a kettle on to boil.
  • Halve the tomatoes and place cut-side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for approx. 20 mins, until slightly charred around the edges.
  • Meanwhile, put the maftoul and stock in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 8-10 mins, until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Keep to one side.
  • While the maftoul cooks, slice the olives. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the parsley, including the stalks if they’re not too thick.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tbsp water. Put the polenta on a plate. Cut the halloumi into 2cm cubes. Dip the halloumi cubes in the egg, then the polenta. Set aside.
  • Heat a frying pan. Halve the lemon. Place in the frying pan, cut-side down. Cook for 1-2 mins, without moving them, until charred. Set aside.
  • Heat a good drizzle of oil in the same pan. Fry the halloumi for approx. 1-2 mins each side, until golden. Add the honey, thyme and sesame seeds, turning the cubes to coat.
  • Once the tomatoes are ready, add the garlic, maftoul, olives, parsley, watercress and the juice from half the lemon to the tray. Mix, adding a drizzle more oil, a turn of pepper and more lemon juice, if you like.
  • Drain off any excess stock from the maftoul. Divide the maftoul between 2 plates. Top with the halloumi and any honeyed sesame bits from the pan.

Shop for ingredients

We use cookies. Read our privacy policy for more details.