A few years ago, one of my friends moved to Jordan for work and it didn’t take long for me to try to figure out a way of visiting. Our trip wasn’t all that long, but between being a relatively small country and the help we had in sorting out details, we got to see and do as much as possible. There were so many great things about the trip but the food was definitely up there. I was already familiar with many of the foods of the region like humous and tabbouleh, but labneh was one I was less familiar with. When I tried it, I instantly loved it.
What is labneh?
Labneh is kind of like a soft, cream cheese made from Greek yogurt and as such, it’s a lot lighter in calories. The idea of making your own cheese might seem a bit scary but believe me, this is really easy. You can see just how easy it is in this video:
When would you eat it?
Labneh is something you would tend to get as part of a selection of mezze. Mezze are often split into cold and hot dishes, where you tend to start with the cold and move on to the hot. These can be either the appetizer before a main, or eat enough to be a meal in itself. There’s one time in particular that I remember sharing labneh, humous, falafel, flatbread and fries with my friends in a small alleyway in Amman. It was basically a collection of stalls with lots of plastic tables out front. Waiters would go to the various stalls for you to get your order, each one specializing in different parts of the meal. It was all so good and really cheap as well.
At home, you can eat labneh in a variety of ways. You can make your own mezze with any of your choice of some humous, baba ghanoush, flatbread, tabbouleh, fattoush, falafel or any other favorites. Or, keep it more simple and use it spread on some toast. Why not try it topped with a few walnuts and some honey, or drizzled with olive oil and za’atar as I have topped it here.
Labneh is so easy to make and deliciously creamy. Add your own flavors and dip in or spread it, and be sure to enjoy.
Labneh is a creamy Middle Eastern cheese/spread, and so easy to make at home!
- 7 oz Greek yogurt 200g/1 small tub
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 tsp lemon juice
Mix together the yogurt, salt and lemon juice. Tip the mixture into a doubled-over cheesecloth sat in a sieve or small colander. Place over a bowl, fold the cheesecloth over the yogurt mixture and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. The longer you leave it, the firmer it will become.
When ready, gently squeeze any excess liquid and transfer to a small dish/plate. I'd suggest serving as I have here topped with zaatar and olive oil, but you can also sweeten it up topped with a little honey and nuts.
Try these other mezze dishes to make a meal:
Welcome to our week long celebration of June being #DairyMonth hosted by From Gate to Plate and Cooking With Carlee. We are putting together our best recipes using cow milk, goat milk butter, cream and cheeses. We can’t wait to share them with you. Today’s recipes:
A Visit to Ol’ McGrandpa’s Farm by Cooking With Carlee
Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese from Feeding Big
Chili Cheese Corn Salad by Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids
Chipotle Cheddar Patty Melt by Jolene’s Recipe Journal
Breakfast Egg Bites by Family Around the Table
Gluten Free Rotini with Cabot Cheddar, Chorizo and Saffron by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream by A Day in the Life on the Farm
How to Make Labneh from Caroline’s Cooking
Skillet Jalapeno Popper Dip from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Southern Style Pimento with Bacon Mac and Cheese by Tip Garden
Zucchini Tots with Jalapeno, Cheddar and Bacon by Palatable Pastime