Oh boy. We’ve been working up to this recipe all week and I’m so excited to share these tacos with you today!
These vegetarian tacos feature fried halloumi cheese (more on that in a minute), fresh pineapple salsa and aji verde (Peruvian green hot sauce).
It’s a cultural mishmash of components, but the end result was meant to be. Maybe we can call them Mexican(ish).
These sweet-and-spicy tacos are giving my favorite vegetarian tacos a run for their money. Which is fine with me, because tacos can do no wrong.
I propose that you invite some friends over this weekend and make tacos! You can prepare the salsa and sauce before your guests arrive. Ready?
What is Halloumi Cheese?
Halloumi is a magical cheese that you can fry or grill. Most cheeses would turn to mush under those conditions, but halloumi has a very high melting point that works in our favor.
Halloumi becomes super delicious after it’s fried or grilled. It’s creamy and salty, kind of like part-skim mozzarella, and the outside develops a more firm texture after it’s been heated.
It’s been a long time since I ate grilled chicken, but cooked halloumi does have a similarly tender bite. It’s also a fun substitute for fish in tacos or salads.
Where to Buy Halloumi Cheese
For years, halloumi was the magical and elusive cheese that I kept hearing about. I saw it on other food blogs and magazines, but try as I might, I could not find it.
I finally tasted halloumi in Greece last September (halloumi comes from Cyprus). It was everything it was promised to be.
I went home determined once again to find it. And you know what? It’s suddenly everywhere. You can buy halloumi at Whole Foods, near the goat cheese. I’ve even found it at the grocery store nearest me, in the gourmet cheese section.
Halloumi is a little pricy (about ten dollars for one-half pound, which is what you’ll need for these tacos), but it’s worth it to me.
Halloumi Taco Variations
I love the pineapple salsa featured in this recipe. It’s fresh, sweet and spicy. That said, you can use any pico de gallo or similarly chunky salsa instead of pineapple. Here are some more options:
Don’t skip the sauce, because it really brings the taco components together. Similarly creamy and tangy, avocado-based options include guacamole and avocado dip.
Wondering what to serve with these tacos? I’d start with some tortilla chips for the leftover pineapple salsa, and maybe some margaritas.
For side dishes, I recommend my Green Salad with Jalapeño-Cilantro Dressing, Black Bean Salad or Crispy Baked Tostones, which are fabulous with aji verde. View all of my Mexican recipes here.
Please let me know how your tacos turn out in the comments! I’m always so eager to hear from you.
Halloumi Tacos with Pineapple Salsa & Aji Verde
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 8 tacos 1x
- Category: Main dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
These amazing vegetarian tacos feature fried halloumi cheese, pineapple salsa and a drizzle of Peruvian green sauce. You’ll love this unlikely combination of flavors! Recipe yields 8 tacos (enough for 4 servings).
- 8 small corn or flour tortillas
- 8 ounces halloumi cheese, sliced into ¼” wide rounds
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
- Pineapple Salsa (you’ll have extra)
- Aji Verde (you’ll have extra)
- In a medium skillet (I love to use cast iron) over medium heat, warm each tortilla on both sides until it’s warmed through and developing a few little golden spots. Stack each tortilla together under a clean tea towel to keep them warm.
- Warm the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Using kitchen tongs, carefully place slices of halloumi into the hot oil (be careful, the oil can splatter). Leave a little room around each piece of cheese so they don’t stick together (I usually cook the cheese in two batches). I recommend covering the skillet to contain any splatters.
- Cook the cheese until the undersides are golden, about 2 to 4 minutes (if it’s taking forever to brown, raise the heat a bit; if it’s browning very quickly or you catch any whiff of smoke, turn down the heat). Carefully flip each piece of cheese with the tongs, recover the skillet, and cook until the other side is golden, about 2 to 4 minutes.
- In the meantime, place a few paper towels on an empty plate or cutting board to absorb excess oil. Place each piece of cooked cheese onto the plate and let the cheese cool down a bit before handling. Slice each piece of cheese into strips about 1″ wide for more even cheese distribution throughout your taco (hooray).
- To assemble the tacos, place a few strips of cheese along half of your tortilla. Using a slotted spoon or serving fork, top the cheese with pineapple salsa. Finish each taco with a drizzle of aji verde. Serve warm!
- If you intend to have leftovers, store the individual components separately and combine just before serving. You can gently warm the tortillas and cheese in the microwave. Assemble and enjoy.
Prepare in advance: You can make the salsa and aji verde in advance and store them in the refrigerator for later. Ideally, let them warm to room temperature before serving. Freshly fried halloumi cheese is the best but it also reheats pretty well in the microwave.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use certified gluten free tortillas.
Make it dairy free/vegan: This is a stretch, but you could replace the halloumi with crispy baked tofu and add dollops of this avocado sauce instead of the aji verde.
▸ Nutrition Information
make in advance
These looks amazing! Trader Joe’s carries halloumi during the warmer months and is significantly cheaper than other grocery stores.
Thanks for sharing, AP!
Wow this looks delicious. What a great idea. Never thought of using Halloumi cheese as a meat alternative with tacos. Barbequing Halloumi is great too. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks Kate.
Let me know what you think, Cynthia!
I absolutely love Halloumi! It’s so good in salads, as a meat substitute in burgers or just as a protein. Trader Joe’s sells it in the summer as a seasonal item and it’s a lot cheaper there compared to other places. Halloumi has a really long shelf life so I usually stock up in the summer and am set for several months. I can’t wait to try these tacos. They sound absolutely delicious.
It is so goo! Thank you for sharing, Annika.
I really enjoy your blog and recipes, but please… PLEASE, do not call Halloumi Greek. It is Cypriot, and is NOT found in Greece. Both Turkish and Greek Cypriots make it, but the Turkish Cypriots call it Hellim and we call it Halloumi. Thanks :)
You’re right, and I was wrong! I’ve corrected the post and I’m sorry for contributing to any misinformation on the internet. :)
What a great idea for using Halloumi cheese! We absolutely love it. If you happen to be lucky enough to have a middle-eastern grocery nearby, get your Halloumi there. It will be SO much less expensive and probably more authentic as it will have been imported. I’ve marinated my halloumi in olive oil, thyme, fresh parsley and mint and aleppo pepper and grilled it or pan fried it. It’s a Bad Word! Thank you Kate for the recipe. Love to Cookie!!
Thank you! Great tip, too! I appreciate the tips and review.
OMG. i love haloumi, but always thought it was an israeli cheese. i suppose such ingredients are pan-national (e.g. hummus, baklava, etc).
as for combining haloumi with pineapple salsa and ahi verde…. brilliant!!
i only wish i didn’t have to go out and buy the ingredients and make these tacos before devouring them :))
Correction! Halloumi is from Cyprus, not Greece. You can also find variations of it in Turkey and Greece. Hope you enjoy the tacos!
Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
By the way, Halloumi is not from Greece, but from Cyprus (Halloumi is registered as a protected Cypriot product within the United States, just like the real parmigiano is from Italy only). :) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloumi
I am sorry about that! I’ve associated halloumi with Greek food and thought my package said it was from Greece. I was wrong. I corrected the post.
bursada gezilecek yerler
It looks really great. I want to try this right away. Thanks.
This was a real hit. My daughter said it was the best thing that has ever gone into her mouth! Yum! Just love your recipes Kate!
Winning! I love that. Thanks, Danielle!
This reminds me of the cheese they pan fry and give out samples of at Costco, I can’t remember the name of it, but seems very similar! Queso blanco maybe? At any rate, these tacos sound perfect, they’re on my list! I finally got a copy of your cookbook and I’ve been cooking my way through it, everything I’ve made has been life changing! Made the enchiladas tonight, amaaaazing…and I just love how accessible the recipes are. I can work out of my fridge and pantry and still feel like I’m eating something super special. Thank you for all that you do, my life is so much happier with your food in it!
Thank you for sharing!! I’m excited you are excited about this one too, Brooke.
I love hallomi. It’s true that some South American cheeses have some similar properties to halloumi. I recently found ‘cheese for frying’ (Queso para Freir) near the Arepas (Venezuelan/Colombian style corn cakes) and fried some up. I found it to be somewhat similar. https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-fry-cheese-2343041
Made this for dinner tonight and loved it, especially the pineapple salsa! We will definitely do it again when it gets a bit warmer here in the UK. X
Thank you for your review, Helen!
A delicious (and lower fat) alternative to frying is grilling for the halloumi. You can either pan-sear it (no oil, since it’s fatty enough) or fire up the grill outside for a nice, smokey BBQ flavor!
Thank you for sharing, Cait!
This was “incredible” (quote from my husband). Where has halloumi been all my life!? Glad I made the sauce the night before to make this a quick dish the night of. Will definitely be making these again!
Winning! Thanks for making these right away. I’m so happy you liked them.
Thanks Kate for the recipe and all the others that are always a hit in my home. I will try this one tonight. Just a quick correction though, Halloumi is not from Greece but from Cyprus, which is another country in the mediterranean.
Love from Cyprus ;-)
Hi Sophie, thank you for bringing that to my attention! I fixed it, and hope to enjoy halloumi in your beautiful country someday!
Amazing and delicious. My husband and I loved these tacos.
I’m so happy to hear you already tried them, Lorrie! Thanks for your review.
Halloumi is from Cyprus and not Greece. Can you please correct that in your post? Thank you.
You are absolutely right and I’m sorry for the error! I just corrected the post. Hope to visit Cyprus someday. :)
Hi Kate Thanks for the recipe! I made these tonight & they were delicious. I’ve never tried frying cheese before, but it was easier than I thought (although you’re right – watch out for splatters).
Salsa & sauce was great too – I’m thinking of trying it on your huevos rancheros recipe for tomorrow night’s dinner. (Don’t you just love when you can repurpose things?)
Thank you for your feedback! I do love when you can repurpose and use ingredients for another recipe. :)
Nice and refreshing keeper ! :-)
Made this for dinner tonight; so fresh and delicious; loved it.
Also tried the broccoli pita sandwiches that you had posted a few weeks ago and those were delicious as well.
Thank you so much.
I’m glad you made it already and loved it, Usha!
Made these tonight! Amazing recipe, once again!
Flavours complemented each other so well! We all loved it, even my 8 year old! Thanks!
You’re welcome, Kaitlin!
Made these and loved them. Yet another great recipe from your site. Thank you
You’re welcome! I’m glad you loved them.
Wow it looks delicious. What a wonderful way. Never thought about using cheese as a substitute for meat with tacos. Barbequing Halloumi is also great. Can not wait to try it out Thank you Kate.
Thank you! I’m happy you are going to try it.
These were SO delicious! I’m a bit of a wimp with heat but the sauce was lovely. Such an unusual but amazing flavour combination.
Thank you for your review, Kathy! I appreciate it.
Yummmm, five stars! This was SO good! New favorite for sure. The only change I made was using queso blanco because I couldn’t find halloumi at my store. Delicious!
Thank you, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed this one and the other components too.
Delicious, refreshing salsa and the halloumi tacos were a hit in my house, although a bit messy with some oil splattering for me (next time I’ll use a cast-iron skillet pan with taller sides.
Thank you for sharing, Mary!
I made this recipe for my visiting in-laws and everyone loved it! There were so many elements and everything worked together well. Not difficult to make. A fun tasty recipe that I will definitely make again.
Great to hear!
I made this for my college age daughter and her friends , we al loved it! No left overs! Loved the cheese, the salsa and the Aji Verde! Everything was gone!
Hooray! Thanks for sharing, Lori.
Kate these are incredible. I can’t take much credit as my son made them for me. I showed him the recipe and away he went. He didn’t understand about the salsa, he doesn’t like pineapple and I told him mango so instead of subbing he looked for a mango salsa recipe. He did make the Aji Verde. Fantastic! He bought twice as much Halloumi as we needed so we waited two day and did it all over again. One thing I showed him to make them absolutely decadent was how to fry up the tacos when filled with your protein. It is described in Fast Vegetarian Feasts by Martha Rose Shulman. The book came out in 1982 a few years after my husband and I became vegetarians. The recipes were all supposed to be accomplished in 45 minutes and under. We used it quite a bit when our children were small. My husband would have gone crazy for this recipe. This one will be made over and over. It is company worthy!
That is so fun! Thank for sharing, Terri.
Made these tacos recently and they were SO GOOD. The Aji Verde is delicious.
I’m so glad you loved them, Kimberly! I have to agree with you on the sauce.
I Made these last night and my husband LOVED them. The different flavors meld together so well you get such unique tastes in each bite. This is a for sure “keeper”!
Great to hear, Carol!
For all my fellow Twin Cities folk, Kowalski’s sells Halloumi for only $7 or $8/8oz (rather than like $10+ at Whole Foods). The brand is Kynthos for all those on the hunt for affordable halloumi (cause boy is it good).
As for the recipe, I’m really loving the aji verde. Although, I did a combo recipe using up some leftover zoug sauce I had (I had about 3/4C zoug and added 1/4C of mayo and the lime juice, but left out the cheese because I loved it so much without it I couldn’t bring myself to try it with the cheese). I feel like my taco was missing a little crunch (although I’m not sure what yet). Maybe a red cabbage something? Also would recommend a thin tortilla. My corn tortilla felt like it was competing for attention with all the other lovely flavors.
Can’t wait to try your next Halloumi recipe Kate!
Thanks for sharing, Hannah!
Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Overall felt the dish was a little bit too salty for our liking, which came from the halloumi I used.
A tip I’ve tried before is to soak the cheese block in water for about 5 minutes before cutting it up and frying it. It takes away some of the saltiness.
Thank you for sharing, Linn!
These were a big hit in our house. I accompanied them with the black bean salad and it was a glorious mix of colours and flavours. It really cheered up a dismal Monday in the north of England!
Hey man! Great post but I really wanted to just ask about your blog. Is this wordpress by chance? I really like the design.
Hi! Yes, this is wordpress.
Absolutely loved this recipe! Thank you!!
I’m glad you tried this one, Julia! I appreciate your review.
This was my favorite recipe from 2019, and I have made your Aji Verde sauce no less than 7 times since this recipe was published. SO good! Thank you!
7 times, that’s great! Thank you for your review, Meg.
These were absolutely delicious. We made them with the pineapple salsa and aji verde and it was A+++++
so darn delicious and my voracious carnivorous husband also loved it. we’re taking you up on your proposal above and inviting friends over this weekend for these tacos!
Hooray! Thanks for taking the time to comment and review, Iris.
Hi Kate! OMG!! Your tacos are LIFE!! They are the best things I’ve ever had and the cheese!! the CHEESE!! Your suave is heavenly! And to think I can make these whenever I want! Can’t wait til dinner tomorrow! What a treat! Thank you!
I’m a Brit and used to halloumi being readily available everywhere but I went vegan a few months back. We found an old block of halloumi right at the back of the fridge and decided to use our last ever cheese on this recipe – I hope you know what a big deal that is! We used Vegenaise and skipped the cheese in the aji verde, and it turned out great. I’m sad that I won’t get to eat this again but it was a fitting end to my cheese-eating days. Thanks!
This was absolutely delicious. I’ve tried a couple of your recipes and all of them taste so good! Currently making the veggie chili.
I’m just wondering, when you’re talking about the weight of a can, is this before or after draining them? So the actual ‘bought weight’ it says on the can, or the weight you have left over after draining them.
Hi Nadine! So glad to hear it! That’s a good question—the weight I’m referencing is the can before draining. Any weight within a couple of ounces from the weight specified should work great.
These were so delicious! Just wanted to say everything we have made from your website has always been a winner….thank you so much!!
I made these for the first time this evening, and they are definitely the best thing I have eaten in quite a long time! The pineapple salsa and aji verde are wonderful on their own, and they are incredible in combination with the halloumi. I also really love your sweet potato enchilada recipe. Please post more yummy Mexican dishes! They are well loved :)
I love all of your recipes and during this time have been just looking at your blog to find new inspiration. We had wanted to make taco’s for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow and were trying to replicate this recipe. I found everything at the grocery store other than the haullomi cheese! Do you have any suggestions of what I could use as a substite?
Hi! You could try the vegan version? This is a stretch, but you could replace the halloumi with crispy baked tofu and add dollops of this avocado sauce instead of the aji verde.
These were delicious! I used leftover mango salsa from another of your recipes. Excellent!
Oh my god i just discovered your website and every recipe look so delicious !!! i need to try them all ! thank you for sharing !
I love your recipes. This one is one of my new favorites! The flavors really blend together.
These were soo tasty and full of so much fresh flavour. Really weren’t that hard to make as only cooking involved is the frying of the halloumi! That Aja Verde sauce is something else!
This recipe is delicious, absolutely delicious. The Aji Verde is going to be in my kitchen all of the time. Literally. All. Of. The. Time. It was incredible on the haloumi tacos.
Occasionally someone will ask me, “What do you eat? Don’t you get sick of salads?” I throw out a list of foods but honestly, why would anyone eat a hamburger when they could have one of these tacos?
I also love that your ingredients are mostly already in my kitchen or easy to find.
I love hearing that! It deserves a spot as a regular. Thank you for your review, Laura.
Made this great recipe the other day. We were out of olive oil somehow so we fried the halloumi in coconut oil–it was perfect for this dish! Trader Joe’s has a great price on halloumi during the summer so we’ll probably have to make this again.
Thanks for letting me know how you were able to make this work and that you loved it, Brian!
Incredible! I really wasn‘t sure before making it but your recipes never disappoint. So delicious :)
I made this for the two of us and we ate them all! They were the best tacos I’ve ever eaten. I made the salsa and the aji verde and they add a lot. Couldn’t be better.
Tonight I’m making HLTs for husband and myself. I know they’ll be great: we love halloumi cheese! Cookie and Kate, your recipes are wonderful!
I love hearing that! thank you for sharing, Diane. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and review.
These are always a winner! We just love them!
So easy and so delicious! I had leftover salsa verde so I used that. And I had frozen pineapple. I thawed it and drained it first. Probably not as good as fresh, but still delicious. Thanks for another winner, Kate!
Made this last night: big win! All the components work together really nicely. We’ll definitely keep this in our rotation.
This is literally the most amazing recipe! And they are the BEST tacos we have EVERY had to eat and my husband said the same thing! Going to share this recipe with everyone! Thank you so so much!!!!
I made these for the first time tonight, with the pineapple salsa and the aji verde. I was blown away by all the wonderful flavours happening in my mouth! The saltiness of the Halloumi cheese with the sourness of the salsa and then the creamy ness of the aji – it was a match made in heaven! I agree the aji was perfect as written. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing such good food with us!!! Best tacos I’ve had. God bless you.
You’re welcome! Thank you for taking the time to review. I’m excited you loved the combination, Martha!
I. Am. Obsessed.
Kate, I love nearly every recipe on your website, but this is my new favorite. Every component was so dang good! This is a new go to for when I want something fresh but also indulgent. The aji verde and pineapple salsa really put this over the top. I was a bit hesitant with both of those and I am so glad I went ahead and made them! I finally found halloumi now that I moved to New England, and I was so excited to have it with anything. Your website was the first I thought of for a place to search. Thank you for the most amazing recipes!
These are delicious! I’ve been eating this as my dinner for the past two nights and I’m looking forward to the last two portions.
The salsa and aji verde keep really well in the fridge, and I grill the tortillas and Halloumi each night.
Love the combination of flavours and hits so many notes (sweet, spicy, fresh, creamy, etc.).
Adding this to my regular rotation. Thanks for the great recipe!
Oh my goodness!!! Soooooo good. I didn’t have mayo so made salsa verse instead but still delicious! Will make again…and again…and again.
One of the best dishes I’ve made in the last year, hands down. The only thing that comes close is C+K’s spicy sweet potato burrito bowl. I’ll definitely make this again for guests (and it will be so easy too! It’s that good. To quote my girlfriend: “These are without a doubt the best tacos I’ve ever eaten. And they say vegetarian food doesn’t taste good?”).
Made this a couple of times and it’s a family favourite. Usually serve with with hummus and crudités on the side. Thanks Kate!
Ummm THIS WAS AMAZING! I just wish I’d bought two blocks of halloumi instead of one!!
Wonderful! My non-veg husband loved these tacos and the salsa so much we made them again for company a few days later. A sure winner; thank you so much for this recipe!
Your’e welcome, Laura! I’m happy you enjoyed it.
Thank you, Christina!
These were great. I had farmers market peaches in the fridge so I used those in lieu of pineapple and added some extra lime juice to compensate for their lower acidity. My jalapeños were mild so I doubled them in the salsa. I also made homemade corn tortillas (Mark Birman NYT recipe). These tacos were a big hit and each of the components was phenomenal. We’re stoked to have extra aji verde and peach salsa. The overall combination is on the sweet side though, like eating apples and cheddar. I was craving something a little more spicy-savory. Next time I might smear on some spicy refried black beans before adding everything else. Either way I’ll be making this recipe again.
That’s great! Thank you for sharing, Kjersten.
I was struck with a halloumi and pineapple craving tonight, one google later I landed here and HELLO BABY this was one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth! I used tinned pineapple, tomato instead of red pepper because I don’t like it, spring onions (scallions?) because they were going manky in the fridge, and a combo of frozen jalapeño and pickled, because they’re not that easy to find here and everything was store cupboard ingredients. Despite drifting off recipe it turned out amazing and was fun to make. Straight on the regular menu. Thank you!
Hi! This looks delicious and I can’t wait to make it! Just a question regarding the cilantro – the recipe says 2 cups, but according to metric conversions that would be 250 grams, which seems like a lot What’s the approximate weight for the cilantro? Thanks a lot!
Hi Monica, I’m not sure about the metric conversions here, but you will need 2 US dry cups for the sauce. I hope you try it and enjoy these tacos!
sending love to Cookie!
Thank you, Jill!
This is delicious! The flavors were amazing and different than the usual tacos. My entire family loved it. We made the Halloumi tacos along with this sauce and the pineapple salsa. I will be adding this to my list of frequent summer recipes! The flavors are light and perfect for summer.
Wonderful, Kristin! Thank you for your review.
I crave this recipe constantly but can only shell out the money for halloumi every so often, unfortunately. It’s so worth it to get the good stuff though! The combination of the aji verde, pineapple salsa, and halloumi is truly magical and this recipe is so darn easy (bonus)! I love all your recipes but this one is a stand out for me.
It might be not the first time I comment on this one… tonight the twist was strawberry salsa and a little drizzle of zhoug (since I didn’t have any cilantro… which should NEVER happen ;)
It’s finger food at its most elegant, summery and yummy!
I’ve been buying halloumi for a while now. It’s a unique cheese that is fun to eat. People that have never had it are amused by the “squeaking” sounds when it is eaten. I usually grill it. It also makes good hors d’oeuvres when it is grilled and drizzled with some balsamic glaze. Another way I use it is to brush it with evvo, sprinkle some za’atar on it and grill it before wrapping it in a pita or wheat tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, tzatziki, and maybe some onion. FWIW, Aldi often carries it and it is around $3-$4 for a 7-ounce piece.
I was looking for another use for halloumi and came across this recipe. It was very good and we saved it to have again. The pineapple salsa was very good and would be a good accompaniment to other foods. For some reason, I have never liked cutting pineapples, watermelons, cantaloupes, pomegranates, or anything similar. I almost took the easy way out and bought canned pineapple but I am glad that I did not. The aji verde sauce was also very good. My wife is not a huge cilantro fan but she will eat it. I cut back on the cilantro but it would be better with it. I also did not have cotija so I used 1/2 feta and 1/2 parmesan. I think these would also be good with the shatta recipe that you have shared. We had fresh black bean salad on the side.
Thank you for sharing, Ken!