Harissa Fried Halloumi Panini


Upgrade your grilled cheese with Halloumi. Then add the heat with North African harissa. You could also grill these on an indoor grill pan over medium heat.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
4 sandwiches


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 red onion, cut into thin wedges

  • 2 tablespoons harissa sauce, or more to taste

  • 8 (1/4 inch thick) slices eggplant

  • ¼ teaspoon salt, divided

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

  • 8 ounces halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices

  • 8 slices multigrain seeded sandwich bread

  • 4 tablespoons softened butter


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion; cook until very tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a separate skillet. Stir in harissa sauce.

  2. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Add 1/2 of the eggplant slices to the skillet. Cook until browned and tender, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining slices; keep warm.

  3. Sprinkle Halloumi with remaining 1/8 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Add 1/2 of the Halloumi to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining slices.

  4. Layer eggplant slices, bell pepper mixture, and Halloumi on 4 bread slices. Top with remaining bread slices. Spread outsides of sandwiches with butter.

  5. Transfer 2 sandwiches to the large skillet; cover sandwiches with a plate weighted with cans of food. Cook until heated through and toasted, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Cook's Notes:

You can substitute red bell pepper for the yellow bell pepper and mayonnaise for butter.

To keep sodium in check, look for Halloumi with 350 mg sodium or less per ounce. In place of the Halloumi, try tofu. Use 8 slices extra-firm tofu (not silken). Pat dry with paper towels. Season tofu with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Cook tofu in a skillet for 3 minutes per side.

Find the recipe for Chef John's Harissa Sauce at armagazine.com/chef-johns-harissa-sauce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

558 Calories
39g Fat
36g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 558
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 39g 49%
Saturated Fat 18g 89%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 1114mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 8g 30%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 59mg 296%
Calcium 78mg 6%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 489mg 10%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.