Grilling Cheese with roasted vegetables and couscous is easy, healthy, simple, and delicious. This bowl is the perfect lunch or light dinner meal. It can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave for a delicious homemade meal to take to work.
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What is Grilling Cheese?
When I was first saw grilling cheese, I wanted to know how cheese could be grilled and not melt through the grates to become a burnt mess in the bottom of the grill. Grilling cheese has a high melting point. The high melting point means the cheese will soften when grilled but not melt into a puddle of liquid. The production of grilling cheese involves no additional acids resulting in a low acid cheese with a high melting point. Most cheese has extra acid added during the production process.
What are some different brands of Grilling Cheese?
The most common brand of grilling cheese is Halloumi. Halloumi is made from a combination of goat and sheep’s milk. Made in Cyprus, it is widely available and the most common grilling cheese. In the picture above, both the Bahcivan and Muratbey are Hollumi cheeses.
Yanni is a traditional semi-firm Mediterranean cheese made from fresh cow’s milk. It is slightly salty with a buttery taste. It will withstand high heat without melting.
What do I need for a Grilling Cheese Vegetable Bowl?
A “bowl” dish has three components, the base, the vegetables, and the protein. Because bowls may be dry, an optional sauce is relatively standard. Pasta, rice, or potatoes are frequently used for the base; I used tri-color pearl couscous in this bowl. The vegetables are the heart of this bowl with red peppers, shredded Brussel sprouts, and red onions. Lastly, the protein topper is the grilling cheese. Seafood, chicken, or beef will also be delicious in this bowl if you don’t want to make it vegetarian.
How To Make the Grilling Cheese, Vegetables and Couscous Bowl.
This week’s SIS (simple is smart) tip.
Make the Za’atar seasoning. Za’atar is a popular middle eastern seasoning. It’s made from herbs and spices with toasted sesame seeds and ground sumac that give it an unexpected tanginess. The ingredients are readily available. If you can’t find the sumac, lemon zest will work. The sumac adds an acidic tart tang to the spice. Mix all the ingredients for Za’atar and set aside. If you prefer to purchase the Za’atar, click here.
Prep and Roast the Vegetables:
Shred the Brussel sprouts. Shredded Brussel sprouts get crispy in the oven when you roast them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Dice the red peppers and red onions into chunks. Add a drizzle of olive oil and roast with the Brussel sprouts in the oven.
Cook the Couscous:
I use tricolor pearl couscous for this bowl. Lightly toast the couscous in butter over medium heat. Add the vegetable broth with a squeeze of lemon and some of the Za’atar seasoning. Cover the pan, turn the heat down to low, and cook until al dente’. Cooking time is usually 15 to 20 minutes. If there is extra water in the pan. Drain the couscous before serving.
Grill the Cheese:
Cut the grilling cheese into four rectangular pieces. Coat the cheese with the za’atar on all sides. Preheat the grill pan and add a little olive oil to the bottom of the pan. The cheese may stick to the pan. If this happens, loosen the cheese with a spatula before turning the cheese stick. Grill the four long sides until golden brown. The cheese will be soft but not be runny.
Assemble the Bowl:
It’s time to put it all together. If you timed everything right, all the ingredients for the bowl are cooked and still hot. Quickly assemble the bowl before anything get’s cold. First, add the couscous to the bottom of the bowl. Top with the roasted vegetables and crispy Brussel sprouts. Finally, add the two grilled cheese pieces.
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- 1 grill pan
- 2 Baking Sheets
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- 16 ounces grilling cheese (450g) Halloumi or Yanni brand
- 3 cup red peppers (400g) cut into 1 inch square pieces
- 2 cups Red onions (300g) cut into chunks
- 20 shredded brussel sprouts
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups uncooked couscous (350g)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tsp za'atar seasoning
- 1 tbsp dried Thyme
- 1 tbsp. cumin ground
- 1 tbsp. coriander ground
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp. sumac ground
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp optional chili pepper flakes
- Mix the thyme, cumin, coriander, sesame seeds, salt, and optional chili pepper flakes. Set aside.
- Za'atar may also be purchased here if you don't have the ingredients to make it. You will need 5 tbsp. of the purchased seasoning.
Cook the Couscous
- Lightly toast the couscous in the butter.
- Add 2 tsp of Za'atar seasoning and the fresh lemon juice to the vegetable broth. Then add the broth to the toasted couscous.
- Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the couscous is cooked al dente or to your taste.
Grill the Vegetables
- Heat oven to 400°F (204°C)
- Toss the peppers and onions with 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.
- Roast the peppers and onions for about 10 minutes or until soft but still slightly firm or chewy.
- Toss the shredded Brussel sprouts with 2 tbsp. of olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. (don't roast them on the same sheet as the peppers and onions) Season with salt, pepper, and 2 tsp. Za'atar seasoning.
- Roast the Brussel sprouts for 7 minutes or until browned and mostly crispy shreds.
Season and Grill the Cheese
- While the couscous is cooking and the vegetables are roasting, grill the cheese.
- Slice each package of cheese into four pieces.
- Coat the cheese on all four sides with the Za'atar seasonings.
- Heat a grill pan on medium heat and add a little olive oil.
- Grill the pieces of seasoned grilling cheese on all sides until golden brown and crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. Note cheese has a higher melting point than most cheese so that it won't turn into a gooey mess in the pan.
Assemble the Bowl.
- Add 1 cup of cooked couscous to the bottom of each bowl.
- On top of the couscous, add 1/4 of the roasted peppers and onions around the edge of the bowl and mound 1/4 of the roasted shredded Brussel Sprouts in the middle of the bowl.
- Place two sticks of the grilled cheese on top.
- Serve and enjoy.