If you're looking for a delicious vegetarian dish that's easy to make and bursting with flavor, you have to try this recipe for Polenta with Cherry Tomatoes and Halloumi. Creamy polenta is topped with juicy, roasted cherry tomatoes and crispy, golden-brown halloumi cheese for a meal that's both comforting and satisfying. With just a handful of ingredients and a few simple steps, you can have this mouth-watering dish on the table in no time. So let's get cooking!
This summer I have been obsessed with pan cooked tomatoes. I ate pasta with cherry tomatoes several times a week. However, I wanted to switch things up a bit and so I created this delicious summer dish. Deciding for an alternative for the pasta was easy. Polenta is a big thing here during the summer especially in the Italian part of Switzerland and goes perfectly with the cherry tomatoes. However, the dish was still boring with just those two components. Then I remembered how my brother always builds his dishes and realized, the protein part is missing. A quick look into the fridge and I grabbed the halloumi right away. I seriously can not get enough of this cheese during summer and have one in the fridge at all times.
❤️Why you will love this recipe
Here's what you'll need to gather before getting started:
- Large pot: for cooking the polenta
- Skillet: for frying the halloumi and cooking the cherry tomatoes
- Spatula: for stirring the polenta and flipping the halloumi
- Sharp knife: for slicing the halloumi and chopping the shallot and garlic
- Cutting board: for prepping your ingredients
- Bowls or plates with high edges: to serve the finished dish
By having these essential tools at your disposal, you'll be well-prepared to tackle this Polenta with Cherry Tomatoes and Halloumi recipe with ease.
- Vegetable broth: Used to cook the polenta and add flavor. You can substitute with water and seasoning of your choice.
- Butter: Helps to make the polenta smooth and creamy. You can use herb butter for an extra kick of flavor.
- Polenta: The base of the dish.
- Salt & pepper: For seasoning.
- Italian herbs: A pre-made mix of herbs including thyme, oregano, basil, sage, and parsley. You can create your own mix.
- Halloumi: The main protein component of the dish and perfect for summertime. A great alternative is queso blanco.
- Shallot: Adds flavor when cooking the cherry tomatoes.
- Garlic: Adds flavor to the dish.
- Cherry tomatoes: A summer produce that pairs perfectly with polenta.
- Rosemary: Cooked with the cherry tomatoes to give the dish a delicious flavor.
- Oil: Used to cook the cherry tomatoes. You can use any oil of your choice, such as olive oil or butter.
Additionally, you can add grated parmesan cheese to the polenta for extra creaminess and flavor.
👩🏻🍳How to make Polenta With Cherry Tomatoes & Fried Halloumi
Here is a quick overview of the recipe steps. Please read the recipe card for the full instructions.
The Polenta needs the longest to make so we will start with that.
Prepare the vegetable broth and bring it to a boil.
Whisk in the polenta and stir continuously until it thickens.
Add butter, Italian herbs, salt, and pepper to the polenta and stir well.
Additional step: If you want your polenta extra creamy and do not care about the additional calories I highly recommend mixing in some grated parmesan cheese into the polenta together with the seasoning. The more cheese you add the creamier and cheesier the polenta will get.
After making the polenta fry the Halloumi in a skillet. No oil is needed for this step.
As the halloumi is very salty you will not need any seasoning for it.
Add the halloumi to a plate and set aside. Cover it with aluminum foil if you wanna keep it warm.
Next prepare the cherry tomatoes in the same skillet and season with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
Pro tip: If your cherry tomatoes are not very juicy add some extra water to the mixture to get a nice juice mixed with the tomato juices.
Additional note: Depending on who I cook for I might use more cherry tomatoes. My dad and I are obsessed with in the skillet cooked cherry tomatoes and will each eat 250g alone lol.
Finally assemble the dish. To the bottom of the bowl or plate add the polenta. Then the cherry tomatoes on top of the polenta and top everything off with the halloumi.
I recommend using a bowl or plate with a high edge. The tomatoes have lots of nice juices you do not want to loose.
Additional: You can remove the rosemary and if you want you can add the green part of the rosemary (not the stem) on top of the tomatoes on the plate. Or you just add some fresh herbs of your choice.
When it comes to serving this delicious polenta dish, there are a few things you can do to take it to the next level.
- Fall twist: Add sautéed mushrooms or pumpkin instead of cherry tomatoes to give the dish a seasonal feel. Chanterelles cooked in butter are a personal favorite.
- Pair with wine: A glass of Chianti or Pinot Noir complements the flavors of the dish.
- Garnish with herbs: Sprinkle fresh parsley or thyme over the dish to add some color and extra flavor.
- Serve with a side: A simple arugula or mixed greens salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette pairs well with the dish.
- Family-style: This dish can be served family-style by placing the polenta in a large dish and topping it with the halloumi and cherry tomato mixture, allowing everyone to serve themselves.
🥄Storage / Shelf Life
If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
When reheating, you may need to add a little bit of liquid to loosen the polenta as it can become quite firm when cold. Simply heat it up in a saucepan on low heat while stirring occasionally. It's best to reheat the entire dish together.
If you want to freeze the dish, it's best to freeze the polenta and the cherry tomato mixture separately as the halloumi cheese doesn't freeze well. Simply thaw the polenta and cherry tomato mixture in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
💭Frequently asked questions
Q: Can I use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth in this recipe?
A: Yes, you can use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth if you prefer.
Q: Yes, you can use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth if you prefer.
A: Yes, you can use a different type of cheese that you prefer or have on hand as long as it is a soft melting cheese. Queso Blanco would be a good option.
Q: Can I make the polenta in advance and reheat it later?
A: Yes, you can make the polenta in advance and reheat it later. Just be sure to add a little liquid (broth or water) to the polenta when reheating to help loosen it up.
Q: Can I make this recipe vegan?
A: Yes, you can make this recipe vegan by using vegan butter and omitting the halloumi cheese or replacing it with a vegan version.
Q: Can I use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs in this recipe?
A: Yes, you can use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs in this recipe. Just use 3 times as much fresh herbs as the recipe calls for dried.
Q: Can I add other vegetables to this recipe?
A: Yes, you can add other vegetables to this recipe such as zucchini or eggplant. Just be sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces so they cook evenly.
More savory recipes to try
Polenta With Cherry Tomatoes & Fried Halloumi
- 1 l vegetable broth see notes for alternative
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 250 g polenta
- Italian herbs check notes
- 1 Halloumi
- 1 shallot in cubes
- 3 garlic cloves
- 500 g cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. oil
- Add the vegetable broth and butter to a big pot and bring it to a boil.1 l vegetable broth, 1 tbsp. butter
- Once boiling and the butter is completely melted add the polenta to the pot and turn down the heat to low.250 g polenta
- Let the polenta cook while constantly stirring to prevent the polenta from burning on the bottom.
- When the polenta starts to thicken up (about 20 minutes) add some salt, pepper and Italian spices. Turn off the heat, put the lid on and let everything sit.Salt, Pepper, Italian herbs
- After making the polenta we will now make the Halloumi.Slice the halloumi into 0.5cm / about ¼ inch slices.1 Halloumi
- Bring a large skillet to medium heat. and add the halloumi to the pan and cook it. You will want a nice golden crust on them (needs about 4 minutes on each side). You can check if it is done by taking a piece and tasting it. The halloumi should be nice and soft with a crunchy crust and no longer be chewy. If it is still chewy keep cooking but make sure you do not burn the cheese.
- Add the halloumi to a plate and set aside. Cover it with aluminum foil if you wanna keep it warm.
- To de same pan add the other 2 tbsp. oil and keep on medium heat.2 tbsp. oil
- Once the oil shimmers add the shallots and the grated garlic and let them sweat for 2 minutes to get nice and soft.1 shallot, 3 garlic cloves
- Next, add the whole cherry tomatoes and the rosemary sprig to the pan. Let everything cook on medium heat until the cherry tomatoes are nice and soft and the skin has popped open (just like in the picture above).500 g cherry tomatoes, rosemary
- Then add some salt and pepper to taste and remove the skillet from the heat and start assembling.Salt, Pepper
- I recommend using a bowl or plates with a high edge. The tomatoes have lots of nice juices you do not want to loose.To the bottom of the bowl or plate add the polenta. Then the cherry tomatoes on top of the polenta and top everything off with the halloumi.
- Additional step for the polenta: If you want it extra creamy and do not care about the additional calories I highly recommend mixing in some grated parmesan cheese into the polenta together with the seasoning. The more cheese you add the creamier and cheesier the polenta will get.
- Cherry tomatoes: Pro tip: If your cherry tomatoes are not very juicy add some extra water to the mixture to get a nice juice mixed with the tomato juices. Additional note: Depending on who I cook for I might use more cherry tomatoes. My dad and I are obsessed with in the skillet cooked cherry tomatoes and will each eat 250g alone lol.
- You can remove the rosemary and if you want you can add the green part of the rosemary (not the stem) on top of the tomatoes on the plate. Or you just add some fresh herbs of your choice.
- Tip for fall time: Add some sautéed mushrooms to this dish to give it some fall vibes or replace the cherry tomatoes with pumpkin. A big favorite of mine is adding chanterelles cooked in butter.
US Customary conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.
Nutrition information is calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.