Thick spreadable strained yogurt is topped with extra virgin olive oil and some spices to create Labneh, a delightful any time dish.
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.
In the 90’s my mom used to strain 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 for the sole purpose of making it thicker to consume.
In those days you could not buy Greek Yogurt and my mom was on a healthy kick.
I flew home to Vancouver and tried straining yogurt a few times myself using it on bagels and for dips. Then I forgot about it.
An experience with mezze, cookbook club cookbooks, a local cafe selling labneh (that has since closed) and restaurant outings reunited me with labneh reminding me how much I loved strained yogurt.
I often wonder if my mom knew she was making labneh but didn’t really know it was labneh? She’s no longer around to ask so one will never know.
- 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.
- 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.