This dish is a wonderful mix of crispy polenta crusted baked halloumi, rich flavorful tomato sauce and crunchy almonds. This crispy polenta crusted halloumi in tomato sauce is made with a few easy staple ingredients and ready to serve in about 20 minutes. Not only is it easy and quick to make, it is also lower in fat since it is baked in the oven or air fryer instead of deep fried. Serve this dish as an appetizer, starter, main course or side dish. This dish is vegetarian and gluten free.
Warm creamy halloumi on the inside with a crunchy and slightly spicy crusted outside that melts in your mouth when you take a bite.. yes, that’s what you get when you make this crusted halloumi! The combination of crunchy outside and creamy inside gets me each and every time I make a it. This polenta crusted halloumi is served with a rich and flavorful tomato sauce that pairs so well with the savory and slightly spicy halloumi. It adds a lovely creamy, warming and rich taste to the dish and makes it suitable to serve both as an appetizer, starter, main course or side dish. Not only is this an incredibly delicious dish, but it’s also a healthier one since the polenta crusted halloumi is baked in the oven or air fryer instead of deep fried.
A few tips:
- Make sure to cut the halloumi into equally sized pieces to make sure it has the same baking time.
- I used paprika powder and cayenne pepper as seasoning along with the polenta. You can mix and experiment with any seasoning of your likening.
- Coat the halloumi pieces well in both egg and polenta, making sure no parts are uncoated.
- You can make this crusted halloumi in the oven or air fryer. The baking time will vary slightly depending on where you choose to prepare it.
- The tomato sauce can be prepared in advance and then reheated just before serving.
- Use good quality canned tomatoes and not the bland and tasteless ones. It really makes a big difference.
- Make the crusted halloumi just when ready to serve. It should be warm and freshly baked to taste the best.
Ingredients for this Polenta Crusted Halloumi with Tomato Sauce:
- Yellow onion
- Tomato paste
- Paprika powder
- Canned tomatoes
- Vegetable stock cube
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Dried thyme
- Lemon juice
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Roasted salted almonds
- Fresh basil
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Polenta Crusted Halloumi with Tomato Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten Free & Lower in Fat)
For the tomato sauce
- 1 Yellow onion finely diced
- 2 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 (250) can (g) Canned tomatos/cherry tomatoes
- 1 Vegetable stock cube
- 1 tsp Dried basil
- 3/4 tsp Dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp Dried thyme
- 1/2 tbsp Lemon juice
- Sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Olive oil, to fry
For the halloumi
- 1 block Halloumi sliced
- 1 Egg whisked
- 1 – 1 1/2 dl Polenta
- 1 tsp Paprika powder
- 1/2-1 tsp Cayenne pepper
- Olive oil, to brush
For the topping
- Dry roasted almonds roughly chopped
- Fresh basil roughly chopped
- Preheat a nonstick pan over medium heat with some olive oil.
- When the pan is hot add the yellow onion and fry for 2-3 minutes, until the onion starts to get slightly browned and softened.
- Add the minced garlic, stir together with the onion. Fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, stir together with the rest and let it fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the canned tomatoes, vegetable stock cube and dried herbs. Stir together and let the sauce simmer on low heat while you prepare the halloumi.
- Preheat the oven or air fryer to 175 degrees Celsius.
- Slice the halloumi block into equally thick pieces. Path dry using a paper towel.
- Whisk the egg in a bowl. Stir together polenta, paprika powder and cayenne pepper in a separate bowl. Make sure the bowls are wide enough to fit the halloumi slices lying down.
- Coat each halloumi slice with eggs followed by polenta. Make sure all parts are well covered with both egg and polenta.
- Place on a parchment covered baking sheet, brush the slices gently with olive oil using a bastring brush and bake for 8-12 minutes in the air fryer or 18-22 minutes in the oven, flipping them halfway through. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn.
- While the halloumi cooles slightly place the tomato sauce at the bottom of two plates. Top with the crusted polenta, roughly copped almonads and basil.
- Serve while warm!