Did I ever tell you that making homemade labneh involves two ingredients and is stupidly easy? Am totally serious. Labneh is nothing more than full-fat yogurt that has been strained & refrigerated for a couple of hours (or in some cases, 2 days) to drain all the water & achieve a soft cheese-like consistency. And the best part is, it makes me look like a stupendous hostess. Because everyone (and I mean, everyone) will be impressed by this delicious spread.
All you need is a huge colander, a cheesecloth, a bowl, and some full-fat or whole-fat milk yogurt. It’s that easy. I like to top my labneh with extra virgin olive oil, sumac & a pinch of dry oregano or harissa. Total. foodie. heaven.
Labneh has always been my bread and butter. Growing up, thick cream cheese-like homemade labneh always emanated from my grandmother’s house (in near industrial amounts). It was the best thing on toast. The best. I would eat it with sliced warm pita, with a crispy flat bread, or over a fresh sourdough loaf and top it with juicy tomato slices & basil. But today, I present to you my new favorite way to eat it: with fresh dill, capers, pickled red onions & smoked salmon! Because, really- who needs cream cheese when you can have LABNEH?
When I went dairy-free; labneh (along with 6 different kinds of cheese) were sorely missed. Emphasize sorely. Quite ironically, going without it for almost three years made me crave it even more. Until one day, I impulsively decided to make a batch and see how I would tolerate/react to it. I read about how yogurt dairy products are far easier to digest than their regular milk counterparts because of the naturally occurring fermentation and good bacteria present during culturing. Some of the bacterial enzymes created help break down or digest a protein called casein, thus making dairy digestion and absorption easier. Culturing also breaks down most of the lactose, hence many lactose-intolerant people are finding they can enjoy a cup of yogurt without any bloating or painful side-effects.
So I said: give labneh a chance. And I started slowly reintroducing it to my diet without any adverse effects or inflammatory symptoms.
I’ll also be making a video documenting the labneh-making process on Insta stories during February & I’ll be sharing some pictures back on the blog, too. It’s super easy you guys and so good. So very versatile, too. Because you can literally spread it on anything & it will taste amazing. Roasted veggies, lentil rice, any and all bread, crackers, sweet potato wedges or toast; you name it. Labneh is your new kitchen essential.
Easy Homemade Labneh
- 2.5 cups of plain, whole-milk yogurt (unsweetened, full-fat)
- 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- fresh harissa
- extra virgin olive oil
- a sprinkle of sumac
- dry oregano
- Gather a large bowl, a large strainer & 2-3 layers of cheesecloth. Place the cheesecloth directly over the strainer & sit the strainer above the bowl (not touching the bottom).
- Pour the yogurt over the cheesecloth. You could use the same cheesecloth to cover the top of the yogurt or plastic wrap. It will shortly begin to drip water into the bowl. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Remove from the strainer and pour labneh into a bowl. Drizzle any of the above toppings I suggest. For these toasts, I only made labneh with extra virgin olive oil & sea salt. I then lathered it over sprouted rye toast, topped it with capers, fresh dill, smoked salmon, pickled red onions & lemon slices. It was beyond delicious!