Easy Lentil and Halloumi Curry

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This lentil and halloumi curry is really straightforward to make, and absolutely full of flavour – halloumi curry is a revelation!

Portion of lentil and halloumi curry in a bowl with rice and yogurt

Have you ever tried halloumi in a curry? Turns out, it’s flipping amazing. I usually use halloumi in Mediterranean-style dishes (it is a Cypriot cheese, after all), but it works seriously well in this easy lentil and halloumi curry. If you think paneer in a curry is good… halloumi is even better.

Portion of lentil and halloumi curry in a bowl with rice and yogurt

What is halloumi?

If you’re a remotely regular reader of the blog, you’ll know all about halloumi, since I use it all the time. But just in case you’re reading this thinking ‘what on earth is this halloumi thing?’, I’ll tell you.

Halloumi (or haloumi) is a firm cheese from Cyprus. It’s salty and creamy, and basically just insanely delicious.

Unlike most other cheeses, halloumi holds its shape as it cooks, so you can grill or fry it without it melting away to nothing. When it’s cooked, it just becomes slightly squidgy and gooey (and you can crisp it up beautifully on the edges as well!) – it’s an irresistible texture.

This makes it perfect for things like curries! You can fry it up along with your vegetables and it will stay intact, in little pieces that are beautiful to bite into.

Collage showing vegetables and halloumi cooking in a pan

Halloumi curry

To make this easy lentil and halloumi curry, start by frying up some vegetables. I used an onion, some courgette (zucchini), and some mushrooms. Feel free to add whatever vegetables you have in the fridge – curry is such a great fridge-clearer.

Then, add the diced halloumi. The cheese will release some liquid as it’s heated, so keep stirring until that’s cooked off.

Ideally, you want to get a little bit of colour on your halloumi and veggies – just a nice touch of caramelisation. It will make your curry extra tasty.

Lentil and halloumi curry being cooked with tomatoes and vegetable stock

Lentil curry

Next, add some lentils and a tin of tomatoes. I used brown lentils, which worked really nicely, but they do take half an hour or so to cook fully (don’t worry, it’s almost entirely hands off!).

If you want this lentil curry to be even quicker to make, you could use red lentils instead – they cook more quickly than brown, although they do end up with a different texture (they cook down a lot softer and mushier), so it depends what you want the end result to be like.

Lentil and halloumi curry being cooked in a pan

Simple spices

You’ll also want to add a few spices to give your curry that all-important flavour. I used garam masala, which is already a blend of several different spices, so it’s great for non-experts like me who want somebody else to do most of the work.

I also added a bit more cumin (because why not?), and some smoked paprika because I’m obsessed with it.

You could really spice this vegetarian curry however you like – feel free to change up the spices if you have a favourite blend!

Just put a lid on the pan, and let it all bubble away until the lentils are fully cooked and it’s as saucy as you want it.

Close-up shot of lentil and halloumi curry in a pan topped with cilantro

How should I serve this lentil and halloumi curry?

I served my lentil and halloumi curry simply with brown rice. White rice would obviously be great too, as would some naan bread for dipping.

A scattering of fresh coriander (cilantro) on top is a must for any curry, in my opinion – the vibrant flavour of the herbs is great for freshening up any rich dish, as well as making it look much more attractive on the plate (why is it that all the tastiest dishes just look like big bowls of brown?!).

I also added a dollop of Greek yogurt on top of my halloumi curry – I can’t resist an extra bit of creaminess. Feel free to use raita instead, or anything similar!

And if you’re feeling really indulgent, a couple of onion bhajis or vegetable samosas on the side would be incredible.

Portion of lentil and halloumi curry in a bowl with rice and yogurt

How can I adapt this lentil and halloumi curry?

This halloumi curry was such a triumph that I’m already thinking of how I could alter it a little – not because it needs altering, just because I’ll take any excuse to make it again!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Change the vegetables depending on what you have in your fridge – almost anything will work well in a curry. Peppers, aubergine (eggplant), carrots, cauliflower, peas… it’s all welcome.
  • Switch the spices for a combination that feels more Tex-Mex, and serve your spicy halloumi with some sour cream and tortilla chips for dipping.
  • If you can’t find halloumi, use paneer instead – it’s not got as much flavour, but will work just as well in the tasty sauce.
  • Make sure your lentil and halloumi curry is extra thick, and serve it wrapped in Indian-style flatbreads (e.g. chapatis) with a dollop of yogurt and some salad.

Let me know if you have any other bright ideas!

More Halloumi Recipes

Hand taking a forkful from a portion of lentil and halloumi curry

Easy lentil and halloumi curry

This lentil and halloumi curry is really straightforward to make, and absolutely full of flavour – halloumi curry is a revelation!

If you’ve cooked this recipe, don’t forget to leave a star rating!

4.95 from 19 votes
Print Pin Comment
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 451kcal
Author: Becca Heyes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, sliced or diced
  • 1/2 large courgette (zucchini), diced
  • 6 medium mushrooms, diced
  • 225 g (~ 8 oz / 1 small block) halloumi cheese, cut into bitesize pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 120 g (~ 2/3 cup) brown lentils
  • 400 g tin chopped tomatoes (~ 1 1/3 cups)
  • 375 ml (~ 1 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or saucepan. Add the onion, courgette and mushrooms, and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until fairly soft. Add the diced halloumi and garlic, and cook for a further 5 minutes until any excess water has cooked off, and the cheese and vegetables are just starting to brown slightly.
  • Add the lentils, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock, along with all the spices. Mix well, then cover the pan with a lid and bring to a simmer. Leave to cook for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and the curry has reached your desired consistency. For a saucier curry, or if the lentils need to cook a little longer, you can add a dash more water or stock. For a drier curry, remove the lid and cook for a few minutes to thicken.
  • Serve warm with your choice of sides.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy lentil and halloumi curry
Amount Per Serving (1 portion)
Calories 451 Calories from Fat 212
% Daily Value*
Fat 23.6g36%
Saturated Fat 13.8g69%
Cholesterol 50mg17%
Sodium 764mg32%
Potassium 601mg17%
Carbohydrates 35.7g12%
Fiber 8.6g34%
Sugar 7.8g9%
Protein 27.5g55%
Calcium 560mg56%
Iron 4.1mg23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

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4.95 from 19 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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27 Comments

  1. Absolutely delicious, added red pepper some spinach and a tin of baby new potatoes as not keen on rice. Will definitely be making again.5 stars

  2. This recipe is delicious! I cooked it for my partner and I once and now we have it at least once a week. I had never had halloumi before and it is a game changer!

  3. I had some halloumi in my fridge that I didn’t know what to do with. This recipe was perfect and I was able to use vegetables that I had on hand, bell pepper, zucchini and frozen edamame. I always soak my lentils in hot water or vegetable broth for at least one hour before cooking, a tip from one of my favourite food blogs, Minimalist Baker. It really helps the lentils cook more quickly and makes them more easily digestible. Halloumi is not always available at the grocery store where I live, but now I will keep an eye out for it and make this receipt again. Thanks.5 stars

  4. I made this dish this evening. I found the lentils took very long to cook and the halloumi has completely gone stringy and is no longer in neat little cubes. The zucchini is also very soft. This dish tastes very delicious though. The spices were just right for my taste. I cooked the spices in oil before adding the liquids that’s something I did differently. Next time I make this I would add the zucchini and the halloumi more towards the end.4 stars