Called yogurt cheese by some and Lebanese cream cheese by others, labneh is a creamy, thick DIY cheese. Its crème fraîche-like texture and tangy taste is somewhere between sour cream and light cream cheese. Use it as a spread, or doctor a bowlful with olive oil and herbs as a veggie dip. It’s very healthy, low in fat and carbs, full of protein and calcium, and simple to make.
Servings: 16 servings
- 1 quart Greek nonfat yogurt
- Line a colander with clean cheesecloth or a double layer of paper towels. Scoop your 1-quart container of Greek yogurt onto the cloth and fold the cloth over the yogurt to cover.
- Place the colander in a large bowl to catch the whey with a small saucer underneath, so the bottom of the colander is slightly lifted and not sitting in the liquid. Allow to drain in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, transfer the labneh to a lidded glass container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Save the liquid whey in a separate glass container for other uses.
- Now that you have this simple base, you can flavor the labneh with preserved lemon purée and generously season with salt and pepper, or flavor it with fresh herbs and spices, depending on the dish you are making. A Sweet version can be made by adding honey, or agave, and we love eating it with fresh fruit, chopped nuts and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon.
Chefs Note: Other uses for labneh include…
- Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh herbs, chopped garlic, and use as a dip for pita.
- Stir in minced crunchy vegetables like cucumber, green onions, and radish and use as a dip for celery or carrots.
- Spread onto bagels, toasted bread, or flatbread as the base for an open-faced sandwich in place of cream cheese for a nonfat option.
- Roll into balls and marinate in olive oil flavored with lemon zest, herbs, and chile flakes for a mezze dish.
- Drizzle with honey and serve with fresh fruit (or spread on toast) for breakfast.
- Mix with your favorite jam and use as a filling inside crepes.
- Use in dips and salad dressing recipes in place of sour cream or yogurt.