Deborah Ryan’s Halloumi burger

The Student Digestive: I only wanted some halloumi and not a creepy conversation about butter

Halloumi burger.  Photograph: Deborah Ryan

Halloumi burger. Photograph: Deborah Ryan

Thu, May 10, 2018, 09:56

  • Serves: 1
  • Cooking Time: 30 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: African


  • Serves 2
  • 2 Portobello mushrooms
  • 2 slices of halloumi, 1cm thick
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2 wholemeal burger buns
  • Large handful of salad leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for cooking
  • Salt and pepper


A few months back, I was shopping for the ingredients to make this recipe. Whilst in the supermarket cheese aisle, a man, around mid-thirties and well-dressed, strode up to me with a block of butter and a tub of margarine in his hands.

He asked me which one he should buy, to which I replied butter, hoping that would be enough for him to move on.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t. He kept pestering me, asking why I would make this choice and how was I so sure about my answer. He then asked what I did for a living and where I lived. Before I was able to answer, a young woman appeared in the aisle and stood in between us, looking intently at the cheese, dividing us. The man, seeing the conversation was now broken, quickly thanked me for the advice and hastily walked away. The young woman then turned to me and said, “Sorry if I seemed rude, I just thought you needed an out.”

Realising what she meant and how she had helped, I thanked her profusely, telling her I only wanted some halloumi and not a creepy conversation about butter. She coincidently was also getting halloumi.

I haven’t met this girl since, but I hope she’s still out there, saving girls from creepy guys in the cheese aisle.

Side Note: Cooking meat can be a precarious task in a communal student kitchen. This dish can be a good meat alternative. It also takes around 15-20 minutes to prepare, making it an easy study meal in the lead up to exams.


Preheat the oven to 180°c.

Place the mushroom on a baking tray and remove the inner stem. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins until tender.

Meanwhile, mash the avocado with the lime juice and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Heat a frying pan on medium heat, add a tsp of olive oil and fry the halloumi slices until golden brown on each side.

For the salad dressing, whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together with a pinch of salt and pepper. If you have a clean empty jar, you can shake the dressing in it and keep the remaining dressing in the fridge.

Toss the salad with some of the dressing. Toast the burger buns.

To assemble the burger: spread the mashed avocado on the bottom. Top with the mushroom and halloumi. Serve with the dressed salad.