Cheese sandwich (Kellage)

April 21, 2010  •  Category: ,


This  simple and delicious sandwich is one I associate with summers in Lebanon, sitting  by the pool with my friends Jacqueline and Anne-Marie Bassoul and the rest of the gang;  we would order it every single  day after a swim. Crispy and gooey with the softened white cheese inside, our Lebanese quesadillas!

What type of cheese to use?

Halloumi or Nabulsi for stuffing your quesadillas.

What is halloumi cheese? It is a hard white cheese, originally from  Cyprus.

What about nabulsi? It is a cheese from Palestine (Nablus), with a very similar texture to halloumi; it is  made in Turkey as well.

They can be eaten as is; but the best way is fried in some butter, or stuffed  in bread and fried in butter.

I know what you are thinking!  What about diet, cholesterol and all these other very depressing and annoying topics! I am not saying go ahead and snarf  a dozen of these! (moderation)

Where can you find these?  Middle-eastern grocers for one,  but I have seen halloumi  in American supermarket chains as it is fast becoming mainstream!

The neat thing about these  cheeses  is that you can  freeze them  for a few months and defrost at room temperature or in the microwave.

If the cheese is too salty for your taste (it is for mine) then just soak it in a bowl of fresh water and change the water often, until the taste of salt has receded; it could take from 15 minutes total to 2 hours of soaking and changing the water.

This sandwich required  an extra-thin pita bread; if  the pitas available  are rather thick, then use   flour tortillas instead.

INGREDIENTS: 3 to 4 servings

  • 6 small  and thin pita breads or flour tortillas
  • Halloumi cheese or Nabulsi
  • Clarified butter as needed
  • One  or two large tomatoes
  • some mint


  1. Soak the cheese if you find it  too salty: Place the cheese in a bowl of fresh water and change the water every 15 minutes until the saltiness is gone.
  2. Pat dry and slice the cheese in thin slices; Insert  the slices in the opened pitas and press firmly.
  3. Melt 1/4 cup of clarified butter; heat for 3 minutes till frothy  and slide the pita  in the skillet. Let it fry for 3 minutes then flip on the other side and fry for two more minutes.
  4. Remove from the skillet onto paper towels and pat the excess butter out; transfer to a cutting board and slice in triangles, about 4 per person. Serve piping hot with some fresh tomato quarters.

NOTE: The cheese is not going to melt into a soupy mess; it will soften but keep its texture.


52 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. 3hungrytummies says:

    This sounds really delicious! I am a big fan of haloumi so I’m going to try this soon!

  2. Ivy says:

    These sounds delicious Joumana. I don’t know about the other cheese how it tastes but I don’t find any similarity of mozarella and halloumi.

  3. Sushma Mallya says:

    Simple & delicious Quesadillas…looks beautiful as well

  4. SYLVIA says:

    These quesadillas are seriously so delicious and kid friendly.After one bite of this nablusi cheese you’re in heaven, my husband is always melting cheese in pita and they go almost immediately.We are very fortunate we have all these middle eastern cheeses here in L.A. Karoun brand makes a great nablusi cheese with specs of black seeds inside and for haloumi whole foods and trader joe always carry it. This is a winner among everyone Joumana. Thank you

  5. Priya says:

    Lebanese quesadillas looks awesome and thanks for sharing, i learn many new dishes from u..

  6. Cherine says:

    Halloumi is such a delicious cheese! I love kellage!!

  7. Mary says:

    This looks like a wonderful version of quesidillas. I love haloumi so I have no hesitation about trying this. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  8. Angie's Recipes says:

    Don’t see Haloumi here…but I guess mozzarella will do too?
    This sounds like a great weekend meal!

  9. elra says:

    I definitely can eat this everyday. Sounds delicious!

  10. Mimi says:

    Delicious. Nice tip about soaking salty cheese.

  11. Kate at Serendipity says:

    Thanks for the explanation about the cheese. I have read about haloumi, but haven’t looked for it here in Belgium. I’ll have to find some now to make these!

  12. Krista says:

    Ohhhh, these look fantastic! Pure comfort food! I’ll be keeping a weather eye open for halloumi cheese for sure!!

  13. peter says:

    I obviously would opt for Halloumi in my order of this snack. Any chance of hitting a beach or are you a poolside gal?

    Thanks for the tip on reducing the salt in Halloumi as I’ve encountered this on occasion.

  14. Bria @ WestofPersia says:

    That is a great tip about soaking the cheese to get rid of the excess salt. Good stuff all around, as always 🙂

  15. Faith says:

    These quesadillas sound phenomenal! Halloumi is one of my favorite cheeses and it sounds fantastic in quesadilla form. I completely agree, everything in moderation. 🙂

  16. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:

    Halloumi cheese is one of my favourites. I like grilling it and squeezing some lemon juice on. I’ll have to try quesadillas. Check my blog tomorrow for a surprise.

  17. Lazaro says:

    Thank you for stopping by the blog. Glad I read your informative and well-written post. Look forward to following you here. Cheers!

  18. Sook says:

    Ooh I love quesedilla. And just cause it’s Labanese version of it, it looks so cool. 🙂 Yum!

  19. sweetlife says:

    love quesadillas…I have tried looking for halloumi but have not found it yet..I’ll try harder for this recipe


  20. Meeta says:

    love halloumi especially when it’s cooked on a barbecue! i like the idea of adding it to a quesadillas type of dish! perfect!

  21. MaryMoh says:

    That would be perfect for my backyard garden snack with my friends. Look very delicious.

  22. Amy @ cookbookmaniac says:

    Haloumi is one of my favourite cheeses. I am always looking for different ways to use it. I never thought to use it in quesadilla, but now that I have seen this it makes complete sense. yummy.

  23. tigerfish says:

    I will be looking out for that haloumi cheese in future. Thanks.

  24. oum mouncifrayan says:

    toujours des belles choses chez toi!!! bravo

  25. Not Quite Nigella says:

    Mmm I love anything with halloumi in it. It’s quite scary the amount of halloumi I can eat-people ahve suggested I go in a halloumi eating contest! What a lovely dish! 😀

  26. Joanne says:

    I have been meaning to try halloumi for a while now because whenever I see it around the blogs, it sounds so delicious. These quesadillas sound just perfect after a day at the pool!

  27. noobcook says:

    This cheese is new to me but it sounds and looks totally delicious!

  28. marla says:

    A little fat goes a long way. These Lebanese quesadillas look like they are well worth the splurge. I am very tempted to make them. Love salty cheese.xo

  29. Erica says:

    We love quesadillas in this house!!!What a delicious version.

  30. Nour El-Zibdeh says:

    I love this cheese Joumana!
    But I’m sorry I have to do this and add my nutrition 2 cents: tip from a dietitian: toast them in the oven if you don’t want the extra fat 🙂

  31. fimère says:

    une magnifique recette j’en prends note
    bonne soirée

  32. Nadjibella says:

    j’avais déjà un grand faible pour la cuisine du Moyen-Orient.
    Avec toi, ça va devenir la passion totale.
    A très bientôt.

  33. Julie says:

    Wow, these really sound great!

  34. radia says:

    que de bonne recettes, merci et continue de nous épatter.merci

  35. lisa says:

    I love halloumi cheese — so delicious! I love the freshly sliced tomato on top too. These look like a perfect poolside snack. Thanks for creating wonderful visions of the upcoming summer!

  36. Tonya says:

    Never had either of the cheeses you have listed so now I am on a mission to find them! I always use cheddar and parmesan in my quesadillas. Love your blog! 🙂

  37. kim says:

    I’ve been a bit shy about trying halloumi cheese (not a cheese person), but when I travelled in Turkey last year, the cheese offered at the hotel buffet didn’t have that ‘stinky’ cheese quality, so it was really nice on some nice, crusty, Turkish bread. 🙂

  38. 5 Star Foodie says:

    I love the idea of the quesadilla with halloumi cheese, definitely a must try!

  39. Cara says:

    mmm haloumi is a new love – love this way of using it!

  40. gourmandelise says:

    Looks beautiful!

  41. nisha says:

    quesadillas are my favourite and i have never used halloumi but was in fact thinking of trying it out..this sure has given me confidence..

  42. Chef E says:

    Man your shots are making me drool! I have yet to have this cheese, but have to try. We have no Mediterranean places in my area, and I am not sure I could find it, but seeing this and the next post I know what I want this weekend!

  43. Dimah says:

    These quesadillas sound wonderful!

  44. pierre says:

    salut joumana ton petit sandwich me fait tres tres envie bizz de Paris ensoleillée Pierre

  45. TastyTrix says:

    Sigh. I love halloumi, but it is SO expensive around here! I wonder if nabulsi is less so? I don’t know that cheese, I will go on the hunt. This dish looks great – I would never stop eating it!

  46. Nadia says:

    I love Nabulsi, no other cheese like it. When I have nothing to eat, I will always put together a “quesadilla” like this, with mint, cheese, pita, tomato, and olive oil. Simple yet amazing.

  47. cmiranda says:

    Wow , didn’t realize there was such a thing as Lebanese quesadillas.Thought they were just eaten in Mexico.

  48. Alépine says:

    Simple et tellement bon !

  49. Adelina says:

    I love nabulsi cheese. I recently discovered it and love just eating it with side of tomatoes. Love your quesadilla version!

Add a Comment