We love a good toastie here at Somebody Feed Seb. Our Aubergine Parmigiana-inspired grilled halloumi sandwich is one of our favourite lunches of all time! A real vegetarian treat, this Aubergine & Halloumi Panini features layers of rich tomato paste, squeaky salty halloumi and slightly charred aubergine rounds. We’ll show you how we make it without a panini maker as well.
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Making Grilled Sandwiches Exciting
Toasties were my favourite after-school snack when I was a teenager. Only back then, I had simpler tastebuds: bread, ketchup, cheese and a mandatory slice of gherkin was all I needed! Seb tells me he survived on pesto and cheese toasties during his first uni year!
These days we often make toasties to ameliorate Seb’s ‘in-between meals’ hunger. But if we’re feeling like a nice sandwich for a weekend lunch, this is the ONE we turn to. There’s nothing like salty Cypriot halloumi paired with aubergine. With the addition of some caramelised onions, this is definitely a winner!
NOTE: We don’t have a panini maker or a sandwich grill, so we make our sandwiches in a pan with another pan and some extra weight on top. We used a heavy cast-iron skillet and it works a treat every time. They come out perfect!
Ingredients and Substitutes
- olive oil: or vegetable, sunflower or avocado oil.
- small aubergine: cut into 1cm thick rounds.
- mixed dried herbs: like thyme, oregano, and parsley.
- halloumi: sliced into 6 even pieces.
- panini rolls: or your favourite bread slices.
- tomato paste: rich concentrated tomato puree.
- mayo: we used light mayo in this grilled halloumi sandwich.
- red onion chutney: or fig, plum or chilli chutney.
- parmesan: can be substituted with other hard cheese, like Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano.
Start by slicing your aubergine into thin (about 1cm thick rounds). Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add the aubergine, sprinkle with a little salt (not too much, as halloumi is salty itself so you don’t want to overseason), pepper and mixed dried herbs, if using. Drizzle another tablespoon of oil all over. Fry for about 8-10 minutes until soft and slightly charred, turning once halfway. Then remove the aubergine from the pan (reserve it for later).
Cut the halloumi into 6 slices. In a reserved pan, add the halloumi slices and fry on both sides until browned and crispy.
Cut the panini rolls in half. Spread mayo on the bottom and tomato paste on the top half. If you like a bit of a kick in your food, use harissa paste instead of tomato paste. Lay the halloumi slices, then aubergine rounds (slightly overlapping), dot the caramelised onion chutney and sprinkle with the parmesan.
Close the sandwiches and put them in the pan. Weigh the paninis down with another heavy pan, or any pan with a couple of tins or a cast iron skillet on top. Fry for 1-2 minutes. Then flip the paninis over and repeat.
What To Serve Aubergine and Halloumi Panini With?
This Halloumi Toastie is perfect served with a green salad for a satisfying lunch! We particularly like pairing it with:
- Courgette Ribbon Salad
- Persian Shirazi Salad
- Green Bean and Tomato Salad (recipe coming soon).
Other Lunch Recipes
For other lunch ideas, have a look at our recipes below:
- Coronation Chickpea Sandwich (Vegan)
- Coronation Chicken Sandwich
- Crispy Courgette Fritters
- Middle Eastern Falafel with Vegetable Couscous & Red Shatta
Grilled Halloumi Sandwich (Aubergine & Halloumi Panini)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small aubergine cut into 1cm thick rounds
- ½ teaspoon mixed herbs optional
- 220 g halloumi sliced into 8
- 2 panini rolls
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon mayo
- 2 tablespoon red onion chutney
- 20 g parmesan finely grated, optional
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add the rounds of aubergine and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and mixed herbs, if using. Drizzle another tablespoon of oil all over. Fry for about 8-10 minutes until soft and slightly charred, turning once halfway. Then remove from the aubergine from the pan (reserve it for the next step).
- Add the halloumi slices to the pan and fry on both sides until browned and crispy.
- Cut the panini rolls in half. Spread mayo on the bottom and tomato paste on the top half. Lay the halloumi, then aubergine rounds (slightly overlapping), dot the caramelised onion chutney and sprinkle with the parmesan.
- Heat the reserved pan. Close the sandwiches and add them to the pan. Weigh the paninis down with another heavy pan, or simply place a couple of tins or a cast iron skillet on top or the top pan. Fry for 1-2 minutes. Then flip the paninis and repeat.
- Perfect served with a green salad for a satisfying lunch!
Yum! The pairing of aubergine and salty halloumi is so good!
Anything with halloumi is good with me and this was a delicious way to cook it.
Same here, Dannii! We are the biggest fan of halloumi! 🙂
Delicious! I had never had this before but we loved it, and I loved how easy it was to make.
Absolutely love halloumi and this sandwich has a great combination of flavours. So hearty and satisfying too.
Thank you for the feedback, Amanda! Glad you liked it!