Thick spreadable strained yogurt is topped with extra virgin olive oil and some spices to create Labne, a soft yogurt cheese similar in texture to cream cheese.
What is Labneh?
Labneh is all the rage these days and so it should be. It’s healthy, simple to make and a tasty addition to any potluck or afternoon snack arrangement.
Essentially, it’s a thicker yogurt. When Greek yogurt is strained, the excess whey is removed making it more of a thick spreadable cheese.
In the 90’s my mom used to strain her plain yogurt. I would fly in from Vancouver for a visit only to find a strainer full of yogurt in a cheese cloth hanging out in the fridge or over the sink for the sole purpose of making it thicker. She and her friend Janny called it yogurt cheese. True story.
Back then in our small town you could not buy Greek Yogurt.
A Middle Eastern Delight
Over the years Middle Eastern, Lebanese and Mediterranean food has exploded as far as popularity goes. We are learning more, cooking more and eating way more of this type of food then ever before.
Labneh can be eaten any time of the day but is often served with a Mezze. Mezze is a collection of bites and small plates, like tapas, eaten as a complete meal. Hummus is often part of this meal.
- You can use whole fat plain yogurt or 2 % plain yogurt, they both work
- Use any combination of herbs and spices to top the labneh with or try sliced scallion, pistou, shallots chopped fine, chopped roasted garlic
- Instead of cheese cloth I have used unbleached muslin fabric that I use to sew with
- You can blend labneh, like cream cheese, with olives, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers to make it more flavourful
- The cafe near our house sold labneh balls. Take small spoonfuls of your labneh and roll into small balls. Then marinate/store in olive oil before serving or roll in a variety of fresh chopped herbs and spices.
Here’s a few other Mediterranean recipes you might enjoy!
If you made this recipe tag Wanda Baker on Instagram and hashtag it #bakersbeans
- 4 cups 2 % plain yogurt
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pistachios peeled and rough chopped
- 1 tsp za'atar
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- sea salt for sprinkling on top
- cheese cloth
- string or twine
- Prepare a piece of cheese cloth.
- Scoop yogurt out of container into a bowl and add salt stirring well to combine.
- Put mixture into cheese cloth. Bring sides up and tie.
- Put yogurt in a strainer over a bowl ensuring bottom does not touch the liquid (whey) coming otu of the yogurt.
- Let sit on counter for at least 24 hours. You can cover lightly with plastic wrap.
- Remove from cheesecloth and put into serving dish smoothing out leaving a few craters for the olive oil to collect in.
- Pour on olive oil and sprinkle with pistachios and za'atar.
- Serve with crackers or pita bread.