Mediterranean Style Egg and Cheese

September 13, 2018

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Smoky halloumi, fragrant roasted tomatoes, creamy avocado, and poached eggs top whole grain sourdough bread in this Mediterranean style egg and cheese sandwich.

open faced egg and cheese sandwich

Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite meal categories. When I was growing up, eggs or pancakes showed up on the dinner table at least once a week. I never thought anything strange about it to be honest. We didn’t actually have pancakes or eggs for breakfast very often – usually we had a bowl of cereal, yogurt, or {believe it or not} danish on Saturdays (#YesIAmADietitian). So it just seemed the norm that eggs and pancakes were made for dinner.

Fast forward 25 years: while pancakes don’t make it onto the dinner table in my house that often (and when they do, they’re more of the savory kind)), eggs are served often and for any meal of the day – egg muffins for rushed weekday mornings; omelets or scrambled eggs for lunch; frittatas, quiches, or shakshuka for dinner. Not to mention hard-boiled, fried, or poached eggs on top of salads.

While I like omelets and scrambled eggs, by far my favorite way to enjoy eggs is poached, sunny side up, or fried over easy with a runny yolk that’s rich and flavorful. I just absolutely love the look of a bright white egg with a hint of yellow in the center and the ceremony of popping open the egg and watching the yolk rush out to coat everything underneath.

If I see a poached egg over asparagus going by at a restaurant, I have to get it. If there’s a salmon eggs Benedict on a brunch menu, that’s my order. Poached or sunny side up egg on pizza? You bet I’m ordering it!

FYI, if you think eggs aren’t good for you (particularly for cholesterol), think again. Eggs are packed with nutrients our bodies need, and dietary cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern as it once was thought to be. In fact, the previously recommended limit of 300 mg/day of dietary cholesterol was removed from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You can read more about the health benefits of eggs in my post The Truth About Eggs.

Mediterranean style egg and cheese sandwich with roasted tomatoes, poached eggs, and halloumi cheese

Ingredients & Preparation

I made this Mediterranean Style Egg and Cheese recipe a few years ago after I was inspired by lunch at a SoHo restaurant, Jack’s Wife Freda. There they served Poached Eggs with Grilled Tomato and Halloumi. It was amazing and I knew I needed to recreate it at home.

There are multiple components to this dish, but they are all easy to prep and come together quickly when it’s time to put together your open-faced egg and cheese.

First I make my can’t-stop-at-one Rosemary Garlic Roasted Tomatoes, a recipe similar to one my mom made growing up. (Little known fact: when I was a kid this was the only way I ate tomatoes!). While the tomatoes are cooking you can poach your eggs, pan-fry the halloumi, toast the bread, and mash the avocado. Then when all the components are done it’s time to assemble your egg and cheese.

You can’t go wrong with bread topped with mashed avocado, salty and smoky halloumi, roasted tomatoes, and a perfectly poached egg. With a dash of salt and pepper (and some microgreens if you have any), you’re set with breakfast, dinner, or breakfast for dinner (and brunch too).

Perfect bite of mediterranean style egg and cheese

A few notes on this recipe:

  • I included the ingredients and preparation for the Rosemary Garlic Roasted Tomatoes in the recipe below, but these can be made in advance and reheated for use in this recipe. If you want to cut down on prep time and you have delicious tomatoes, feel free to skip the roasting.
  • If runny eggs aren’t your thing and/or you have a compromised immune system or any medical issues, cook the eggs your preferred way,
  • Halloumi is a popular cheese used in Mediterranean cooking, but it can be difficult to find in mainstream supermarkets. If you can’t find halloumi, sub with feta cheese and skip the step for cooking the cheese.
  • To round out this meal, serve with a side salad. My Citrus Fennel Salad or a basic Greek salad would go well.

Mediterranean Style Egg and Cheese

Smoky halloumi, fragrant roasted tomatoes, creamy avocado, and poached eggs top whole grain sourdough bread in this Mediterranean variation of the classic egg and cheese sandwich.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean, Vegetarian
Keyword breakfast, dinner, egg and cheese, eggs, halloumi, mediterranean food
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Jessica

Ingredients

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Tomatoes

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (~3 cloves)
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium avocados
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 8 ounce halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices
  • 8 large eggs
  • splash white vinegar
  • 4 slices whole grain sourdough bread
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Microgreens for garnish (optional)

Instructions

To make Rosemary Garlic Roasted Tomatoes:

  1. Preheat oven to roast at 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil, coat with cooking spray, and set aside.

  2. In a medium to large mixing bowl, toss the sliced tomatoes with olive oil.

  3. Spread the tomatoes in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

  4.  Roast on the top shelf of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan midway through cooking to ensure even cooking. Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to assemble sandwiches. 

To make egg and cheese:

  1. While tomatoes are cooking, cook the halloumi and eggs.

  2. To cook halloumi: Heat a cast-iron or nonstick skillet or grilling pan over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add halloumi slices in one layer (you may need to work in batches depending on the size of your pan) and cook about 2 to 3 minutes until bottom is golden brown. Flip the cheese and cook until other side is golden brown, another 2 to 3 minutes. (Note: the cheese should not melt.) Set cheese aside.

  3. To poach eggs: Fill a medium saucepan with a shallow layer of water and a splash of vinegar. Bring water to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Crack egg into a small dish (I like to cook them one or two at a time). When the water comes to a simmer, gently tip the dish into the water so the egg can slide out. Gently simmer the egg for about 3 to 4 minutes until the egg white is firm but the yolk is still runny. Use a slotted spoon to remove poached egg(s) to a plate and repeat with the remaining eggs.

  4. When finished cooking the halloumi cheese, place bread in the skillet and toast on both sides.

  5. In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

  6. To assemble egg & cheese: Spread mashed avocado on each slice of toasted bread. Top with 2 slices of cooked halloumi cheese, 2 to 3 roasted tomatoes, and 2 poached eggs. Season with a pinch of Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and microgreens if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • Halloumi is a brined cheese made from a mixture of cow's, goat's, and sheep's milk. It is very popular in Mediterranean cooking.

  • Rosemary Garlic Roasted Tomatoes can be made in advance and warmed up before using.  

  • Note: If you have a compromised immune system, be careful of undercooked eggs. If you can find pasteurized eggs, those are best for eggs you will serve with a runny yolk.

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Smoky halloumi, fragrant roasted tomatoes, creamy avocado, and poached eggs top whole grain sourdough bread in this Mediterranean style egg and cheese sandwich.

What’s your favorite way to cook eggs?

Are you a member of the breakfast-for-dinner club? 

Share with me in the comments below!
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  1. Poached eggs were a staple of my childhood (now I ironically I gravitate towards hard cooked eggs these days.) But love the cheese, roasted tomatoes, egg combo you got going on – I need to get me some halloumi!

    1. So funny poached eggs were a staple as a child. My girls eat the yolk runny sometimes but I’ve been more conservative about it with them. You definitely need to make this. I have no doubt you’ll love it!

  2. I’m the opposite of you and Deanna — staunchly ANTI-runny yolk as a child, now find it hard to prepare eggs in any variation that doesn’t let me enjoy that deliciousness! Never thought to include Halloumi with breakfast. Silly me… this will be on the table soon!

    1. Ha. Actually I wasn’t into runny eggs as a child either, but now that’s my favorite way to eat them! Hope you give it a try and love it!

    1. Yes, Rebecca, if you have celiac and are on a gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free diet, then this recipe won’t really work for you! It’s too bad though – it’s incredibly delicious 😉

  3. I didn’t eat runny eggs until after I married my die hard poached egg loving husband ;). So we have an inside joke now..every time I drool over a runny yolk, he says, “you’re welcome.” I’ve been obsessed with Mediterranean foods lately so this is def right up my alley!! Holy yum!

    1. Haha…I wasn’t so into them either until the past few years! I was thinking you’d love this after seeing your awesome recipe today 🙂

  4. Love this line…it’s so true: “the ceremony of popping open the egg and watching the yolk rush”
    And thanks for the info on halloumi – thought it was only cow’s milk. Sheeps milk halloumi would be yummy!

  5. Oh wow, I feel kind of ignorant for not even knowing that pasteurized eggs was a “thing”. Coming from Vermont, we used to eat eggs the same day they were laid by the chicken! And I’m with you, runny yolks are the best!

    1. If i could eat farm fresh eggs every day that would be amazing! I was never really worried about the runny yolks of regular eggs, but it’s nice having an option that I know is safe.

    1. During the week we rarely eat eggs other than egg muffins if we’re rushing out the door. I just don’t have my act together! I actually love this meal for dinner!!