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Asparagus and halloumi pasta with smoky tomato pesto

Asparagus and halloumi pasta, with an unbelievably delicious smoky tomato pesto - made with Greek yogurt so it's extra creamy! This is such a great easy vegetarian dinner.

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Hellllooo, halloumi. Bringer of happiness, upgrader of barbecues, squeaker of teeth. I use halloumi all the time, but I realised the other day* that 99% of the time, I serve my halloumi with bread. Halloumi burgers, halloumi pittas, halloumi bruschetta… all good stuff, but today I thought I’d make something different – halloumi pasta! Cheese and pasta are a match made in heaven, but somehow I’ve always overlooked halloumi as a pasta accompaniment. Never again. It’s brilliant.

*when I’m alone, my mind often wanders to thoughts of cheese.

Asparagus and halloumi pasta, with an unbelievably delicious smoky tomato pesto - made with Greek yogurt so it's extra creamy! This is such a great easy vegetarian dinner.

Did you know that there are now five times as many online searches for ‘halloumi’ than there were 5 years ago? I’m not even sure I’d heard of the stuff five years ago (though I always knew there was something missing from my life…), and now it’s one of my favourite ingredients to cook with. To be honest quite a large chunk of those online searches were probably made by me, but hopefully you guys have become as enamoured with the stuff as I have, and hopefully you’ll enjoy this asparagus and halloumi pasta.

I started with some pretty little twisty pasta that I found at Waitrose (if you want to try it, I believe it’s called ‘strozzapreti’, which is impossible to say in anything other than an extremely exaggerated Italian accent). Waitrose have very much got behind the recent halloumi trend, with a whole section of their site dedicated to halloumi recipes (I will definitely be trying roasted halloumi very soon!).

Asparagus and halloumi pasta, with an unbelievably delicious smoky tomato pesto - made with Greek yogurt so it's extra creamy! This is such a great easy vegetarian dinner.

Then I just tossed the lovely Waitrose pasta and the squidgy halloumi together with some veggies and the beautiful smoky tomato pesto, which is super easy to make. It starts life as a simple sun-dried tomato pesto, but instead of adding olive oil, I used Greek yogurt to make it nice and creamy (does it still count as pesto? meh), and also some smoked paprika, which adds an incredible flavour. The crispy halloumi goes so, so amazingly well with the smoky sauce. I’m kicking myself for not putting paprika in pesto sooner.

Are you as big a lover of halloumi as I am? If you’ve never tried it before, check out my guide to cooking halloumi perfectly, and then try out my halloumi pasta – or one of the other lovely halloumi recipes on the Waitrose site!

Asparagus and halloumi pasta, with an unbelievably delicious smoky tomato pesto - made with Greek yogurt so it's extra creamy! This is such a great easy vegetarian dinner.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Asparagus and halloumi pasta with smoky tomato pesto

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main meal
Servings: 3
Calories:
Author: Becca Heyes

Ingredients

  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Small bunch fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley)
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 5 pieces sun-dried tomato
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 125 g halloumi, diced (~ 1 cup diced)
  • 6 spears asparagus
  • 1 small courgette (zucchini)
  • 300 g fresh pasta (~ 3 cups)
  • Fresh rocket (arugula), optional, to serve

Instructions

  • To make the smoky tomato pesto, add the small clove of garlic to a mini food processor with the fresh herbs and pine nuts. Blitz until finely chopped. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and smoked paprika, and blitz again. Finally, add the Greek yogurt and plenty of salt and pepper, and blitz to combine.
  • Add the diced halloumi to a dry frying pan, and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until the underside is crispy and golden brown. Turn the halloumi pieces over, and repeat with the other side.
  • While the halloumi is cooking, cut the asparagus into 2 inch pieces, and shave ribbons from the courgette using a vegetable peeler. When the halloumi is fairly crispy, add the vegetables to the frying pan, and cook for a few minutes, tossing regularly, until the vegetables are tender.
  • Boil the fresh pasta according to the instructions on the packet (usually around 3-8 minutes), until cooked al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid.
  • Add the smoky tomato pesto and the cooked vegetables and halloumi to the pasta, and mix well. You may wish to add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce a little. Cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, until warm. Serve garnished with some fresh rocket (arugula) if desired.

 

Halloumi pasta NI

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe.

Here’s my foolproof method for cooking halloumi perfectly, giving a crispy outside and a gooey middle:

How to cook halloumi perfectly

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Recipe Rating




Marubi

Friday 1st of December 2017

Hello, new favourite! :) This was totally delicious! I did make three small changes - used creme fraiche instead of yogurt because that's what I had open in my fridge. I used dried pasta, and I increased the quantities of everything except the pasta, so as to have it more vegetable-y :D Thanks for the recipe!

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Tuesday 5th of December 2017

Thanks Marubi, so glad you liked it :) Thanks for the feedback!

Abby McSherry

Wednesday 7th of September 2016

Really difficult to get hold of pine nuts at the moment, so I used cashew nuts instead and it was gorgeous. Really good recipe and the kids adore haloumi so this is going in the recipe file for future use - and that is a really good way to cook haloumi in the dry pan, I have always grilled it previously and it can go a bit dry doing it like that, this way it stayed moist with a lovely crispy outside. thanks

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Thursday 8th of September 2016

So glad you all enjoyed this Abby, thanks for reporting back! :)

Camilla @FabFood4All

Thursday 1st of September 2016

We love Halloumi and this looks amazing, I know my family would love it! Must check out the other Waitrose recipes too:-)

Helen Kennedy

Thursday 1st of September 2016

I made this on Saturday night, but didn't have any courgettes or sundried tomatoes, so I used some tomato confit instead. We still have halloumi left over, so I'm making it tonight with some sundried tomato puree and either beans or baby corn or even both instead of the asparagus as we are on Empty the Refrigerator Night. Other half was pleased when I told him that was what we were having for supper tonight.

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Friday 2nd of September 2016

So happy you liked it Helen! And your other half too :D I can never follow a recipe to the letter so I like how you've made it your own :)

Sarah C

Wednesday 31st of August 2016

This was absolutely delicious. Because I'm an idiot forgot to pick up pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. So instead I used half a jar of red pesto and added the fresh herbs (basil and parsley), garlic, greek yogurt, salt and pepper. I can't believe I never though of adding halloumi to pasta before, genius.

This is the second recipe of your I've tried with great success, I'm pretty much having a week of Amuse Your Bouche!

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

Friday 2nd of September 2016

Thanks for your lovely comment Sarah, glad you enjoyed this one! And I'm so happy to hear that this is your second success - what else have you made? Keep it up :D

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