Labneh is a type of Middle Eastern “cheese” made from strained yogurt. Thick and creamy with a mild, tangy flavor, labneh is typically served as a spread or dip. Although labneh can be found in many grocery stores, it’s also really easy to make at home. And if you make it with organic, full-fat cultured yogurt, it’s chock-full of good saturated fat and beneficial probiotics.
Even so, you might be thinking, “Dairy? Really?” If that’s the case, then this recipe might not be for you. It’s true that some people don’t tolerate dairy well. But it’s also true that for others, a little bit of dairy can be part of a healthy, well-rounded diet. As noted in this definitive guide, dairy resides in Primal limbo. If you do indulge, then homemade labneh can be a delicious savory treat.
Making labneh is simple: Wrap full-fat yogurt in cheesecloth and let the moisture drain out for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how thick you want it. Then, pour really good extra virgin olive oil on top and if you like, throw in some herbs and/or spices. Mint, basil, parsley, and chives are good; so are za’atar, black pepper and cumin.
Serve labneh with Primal crackers (Primal Cravings has a great recipe for Everything Crackers) or as a dip for raw vegetables. Spoon it over cooked lamb, roasted vegetables, chili and stew, or any spicy dish that needs a cool, creamy topping.
Servings: 1 ½ cups labneh
Time in the Kitchen: 10 minutes, plus 24 hours to strain the yogurt
Set a strainer over a bowl. Drape a few layers of cheesecloth over the strainer.
Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth. Bring the ends of the cheesecloth up around the yogurt into a bundle and tie with a string or rubber band. Keep the bundle in the strainer or hang the bundle over a bowl so the moisture drips out. Refrigerate at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours while the yogurt is strained.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the thick labneh from the cheesecloth into a bowl. Stir in salt, olive oil and herbs.