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Halloumi Pasta with Red Tomato Pesto

Halloumi pasta with red sun-dried tomato pesto is a super quick and easy meal, you can use either store-bought pesto or make my recipe.

If you are using store-bought pasta the whole dish can be cooked and prepared in 15 minutes, and 25 if you are making pesto!

Red pesto halloumi pasta with mezzi rigatoni and fresh basil in a pan.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Squeaky cheese ain’t everyone’s bag, but if you are here I suspect you are a fan like me.

This halloumi pasta with red sun-dried tomato pesto recipe is super simple to make and is loaded with flavour despite its quick cooking time.

It joins a host of quick pasta recipes that range from crab linguine to pea and asparagus pasta and canned salmon pasta and nduja pasta to pasta e piselli.

Like those recipes, this cooks in well under 30 minutes. You could even make your own red pesto and still bring it in under that time.

However it is glorious with good shop-bought pesto too, in fact, that is how I cook it most often.

This is a true store cupboard meal for me. These are the sort of ingredients that I usually have knocking around at home and can rustle up a quick meal when life goes sideways.

Overhead red pesto halloumi pasta with mezzi rigatoni and fresh basil in a pan.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Can I use flavoured halloumi cheese?

Yes. Depending on where you are stores can be stocked high with halloumi cheese with different flavours and coatings.

The only one that I have tried that does not work so well in this dish is smoked halloumi. It did not fit well with the red pesto “sauce”.

Can I use different types of pasta?

Yes, of course! This halloumi and pesto recipe would be great with a whole host of different pasta shapes.

Farfalle or even conchiglie work well as do long broad pasta shapes like pappardelle and tagliatelle.

Can I use other types of pesto?

Yes definitely, grab what you like, halloumi is fairly neutral so it lends itself to changing this dish to suit your preferences.

It’s fab with regular pesto, but also wild garlic pesto, pea pesto and the wonderful pesto alla Trapanese!

Is this better with fresh pesto?

Fresh homemade pesto is wonderful because it gives you the freedom to change the focus of the flavours. So yes it is potentially better to use fresh pesto.

Having said that, there is nothing better than the convenience of store-bought pesto and if you buy well it is superb!

Red pesto halloumi pasta with mezzi rigatoni and fresh basil.

Serving Suggestions

Like most of the pasta recipes that have gone before here, I keep the sides for this red pesto and halloumi number really simple.

I usually opt for bread, some lightly toasted ciabatta rubbed with garlic or even a side of garlic bread is plenty.

If I were to choose a salad it would be a simply dressed green salad and call it job done!

Overhead red pesto halloumi pasta with mezzi rigatoni and fresh basil.

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free ot ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Weighing scles and or measuring cups and or spoons.
  • Sieve or colander.
  • Serving and stirring implements.
Halloumi and red sun-dried tomato pesto pasta with fresh basil.
Yield: 2 Servings

Red Pesto and Halloumi Cheese Pasta Recipe

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This super simple and quick halloumi cheese pasta with red sun-dried tomato pasta is the ideal midweek dinner that can go from your store cupboard to your table in around 15-20 minutes.


  • 175g (6oz) Dried Pasta, I use mezzi rigatoni.
  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Red Onion
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 175g (6oz) Halloumi Cheese
  • 125g (½ Cup) Sundried Tomato Pesto
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt for Boiling Pasta (1½ Tsp for a pan 20cm or 8" pan)
  • Lots of Fresh Shredded Basil

Homemade Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (Pesto Rosso):

  • 25g (3 Tbsp) Pine Nuts
  • 25g (½ Cup Packed) Basil Leaves
  • 50g (¼ Cup Drained) Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Oil
  • 30g (⅓ Cup) Parmesan Cheese
  • 35-50ml (2-3 Tbsp) Olive Oil


  1. Bring a 20cm or 8" pan of well salted water to a boil.
  2. Cut a red onion in half, peel it and then cut it into a 5-6mm (¼") dice.
  3. Peel and dice the garlic as finely as you can.
  4. Cut the halloumi cheese into a 10-12mm dice (½").
  5. By now the water should be boiling, add the pasta and cook it for 30-60 seconds less than it says on the packet or until it is nicely al-dente.
  6. A few minutes after the pasta has been cooking heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the olive oil when it is hot.
  7. Throw in the halloumi cheese and red onion and cook for 6-7 minutes, by now the cheese and the onions should be nicely golden.
  8. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  9. The pasta should now be cooked, drain it reserving around 75ml (⅓ cup) of the cooking water.
  10. Turn the heat under the cheese to low and add the pasta and pesto and give it all a stir adding as much cooking liquid as needed to form a nice coating.
  11. Throw in lots of shredded basil and serve.

To Make Homemade Pesto Rosso:

  1. Toast the pine nuts in a small (20cm or 8") frying pan and transfer to a mini blender or pestle and mortar.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend or pound to a coarse paste.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 786Total Fat: 53gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 1013mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 32g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Jacqueline Debono

Friday 15th of March 2019

Love the idea of a pasta salad made with orzo. I really need to try this. I also love halloumi but, as you say, it's better when it's grilled!

Brian Jones

Monday 18th of March 2019

Thank you


Friday 15th of March 2019

What awesome flavors! I'll have to find the halloumi cheese and try this recipe out. Pinning!

Brian Jones

Monday 18th of March 2019

Enjoy :)


Thursday 14th of March 2019

I love orzo, just had some last night with pulled beef. I love halloumi and orzo. A truly heavenly combo!

Brian Jones

Monday 18th of March 2019

Thanks Ramona

Mayuri Patel

Thursday 14th of March 2019

A Simply delicious looking salad. With halloumi on it, its like a light meal. Lovely clicks. I had no idea there were two types of orzo.

Brian Jones

Monday 18th of March 2019

Thank you :)


Thursday 14th of March 2019

I really like how light this salad is and the fact that it takes less than 30 minutes to make it. And those Mediterranean flavors must take the whole dining experience to the next level - delicious!

Brian Jones

Monday 18th of March 2019

Thanks Laura!

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