There’s no denying it, I love pretty much any cheese. I try to leave it out fairly often because it’s easy to go down a spiral where every meal includes or even focuses on cheese (which we all know is also usually paired with simple carbs). This simple recipe for labneh makes life easier – it’s a much healthier cream cheese, simply made with yogurt that’s hung overnight. Of all the dairy products out there, in my opinion yogurt is the best one to include in your diet most often. Especially when strained or hung, it’s packed with probiotics, protein and minerals and has less lactose than milk and cream.
It doesn’t get easier than this recipe: you simply need a cheesecloth or a regular strainer and a way to hang this over a large bowl that will collect (simply put) the water from the yogurt. Leave it to strain overnight in the refrigerator (preferably at least 18 hours) and you’re all set! A little sprinkle of sea salt and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil complete it for me. This time, however, I had a stock of sage leaves and basil in my fridge and decided to top it with a sage pesto. The warm, herbaceous flavor of sage may not work with everything but it actually goes particularly well with labneh.
You can also serve this healthier cream cheese as a side to hummus, falafel, lentil soup, a beet salad or your favorite mediterranean dishes. As a snack, it stands well on it’s own too with grilled bread. Alternatively, layer it on bread in place of regular cream cheese in a tomato, olive, arugula and labneh sandwich. You can also use it in place of cream cheese for a cream cheese frosting on cakes. The flavor and texture is uncannily similar; you almost can’t tell. Labneh works best with mediterranean flavors but there are definitely more innovative ways to use it. If you make this recipe, do leave a note here or on Instagram and let me know how you make it your own. I’d love to hear from you.
- 200g yogurt
- ¼ tsp sea salt or regular salt
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- Pesto (optional) (search pesto on theindiaedition.com for a recipe)
- Place the yogurt in a strainer or cheese cloth over a large bowl (the water from the yogurt will drain into this bowl). Leave in the refrigerator overnight, preferably for at least 18 hours.
- Transfer the yogurt to a bowl. Top with salt, olive oil, pesto, olives or any other additions you'd like. Serve with grilled bread, hummus, falafel, salad or layer in a sandwich in place of regular cream cheese.