Halloumi saganaki with sultanas and pecans

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Halloumi saganaki with a warm sultana and pecan salsa

This fried halloumi saganaki with sultans and pecans is a delicious sweet and savoury dish that is perfect as a starter or part of a Greek mezze spread. Serve with other dips and bread, or breadsticks.

Halloumi saganaki with sultana and pecans as part of a Greek mezze table

Greek food is one of my favourite cuisines and I love the simple, bright, and clean Mediterranean way of cooking. The style is ingredient-driven and relies on little intervention to really shine.

I first tasted something like this fried halloumi recipe years ago at Love Thy Neighbour. They had launched a Greek menu with Nic Charalambous who now owns the wildly popular Ouezeri in Cape Town. His dish was Halloumi saganaki with a walnut and sweet pumpkin preserve and it blew me away.

A Greek Feast at Love Thy Neighbour, Cape Town

I have created a riff on this and since I am going through my pecan nut phase.  I developed this recipe for my client Raisins of South Africa, and I have used those. I’m sure walnuts would work equally as well though.

A Mediterranean themed table setting

Sagankai vs Halloumi, what is the difference?

Writing this recipe got me researching the differences between saganaki and halloumi and I got a few mixed results. On MasterChef Australia, there was a cheese taste test where they had halloumi and saganaki in the lineup which was super confusing.

Some say Saganki is essentially halloumi that has been fried because saganaki means ‘small frying pan’.

Wikipedia says: ‘In Greek cuisine, saganaki (Greek σαγανάκι) is any one of a variety of dishes prepared in a small frying pan, the best-known being an appetizer of fried cheese’.

There might be some nuances in how halloumi is made in Greece and Cyprus (Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese), but in South Africa, we can only find halloumi.

A lot of recipes call fried halloumi ‘halloumi saganaki’, which I guess this dish is and what I will call it. Saganaki is not a particular type of cheese but a cooking method. You will find dishes such as prawn saganaki etc.

In some instances people crumb the halloumi before frying it, I really like to simply shallow fry it in a little olive oil and eat it while it’s still warm. I love the squeakiness. I have seen flaming saganaki as a dish too.

Sweet and savoury fried halloumi saganaki with sultana and pecans recipe

What to serve with halloumi saganaki:

Bread or breadsticks

Ottolenghi’s famous hummus, roast beetroot hummus or char-grilled zucchini hummus.

Greek Panzanella salad

Fresh lemons for fried halloumi saganaki with sultana and pecans recipe

A few other Greek-inspired recipes:

Greek lamb souvlaki and easy homemade pita

Classic Greek lamb moussaka with eggplants

Chicken kebabs with yoghurt, paprika and lemon

Halloumi saganaki with sultana and pecans recipe

Recipe – serves 2 – 4 as a starter 


Halloumi saganaki with sultanas and pecans

Indulge in a mouthwatering Halloumi Saganaki recipe with a twist! Sweet sultanas and crunchy pecans complement the savoury flavours perfectly

  • Author: Sam Linsell
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4
  • Category: Cheese
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Greek



1 Tbs butter
1 Tbsp rosemary leaves stripped from the stalk
1/3 cup golden sultanas
1 strip of lemon peel
1 small stalk of rosemary
¼ cup honey
2 pinches Aleppo pepper (or a pinch of dried chilli flakes and smoked paprika), optional
1/3 cup, chopped roasted pecans
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Fried halloumi:

250gms halloumi cheese
Olive oil for frying (approx. 3 Tbsp)
Lemon wedges to serve


To make the sultana and pecan salsa heat the butter in a small frying pan. Once frothy, fry the rosemary leaves for a minute until sizzling. Drain the butter and rosemary through a small fine sieve and set the leaves aside.

Return the butter to the pan and add the sultanas, strip of lemon peel, small piece of rosemary and pan fry for a minute or so in the browned butter.

Add the honey and Aleppo pepper (or chilli and smoked paprika) and bring that to a bubble. Once bubbling remove the lemon rind and rosemary and add the roasted pecans and a teaspoon of lemon juice.

Put the halloumi cheese on kitchen paper and pat dry. Heat a nonstick frying pan and add a good splash of olive oil (about 3 tablespoons).

Cut the halloumi into thick strips. Fry over medium heat until golden brown on each side.

Serve on a plate topped with warm honey salsa and lemon wedges on the side.


Make the sultana and pecan salsa in advance.

Serve the halloumi saganaki hot and straight out the pan.

Keywords: halloumi, saganaki, fried halloumi, sultana, pecan, salsa, Greek




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