Labneh, or yogurt cheese, is simple to make and perfect for a party appetizer or snack. A little seasoning and olive oil is all you need to add.
I’m all for making simple recipes, aren’t you? This one really couldn’t be easier to make. The hardest part about making labneh is planning ahead. Which, I know, can be next to near impossible on most days. But to make this simple yogurt cheese, aka Lebanese cream cheese, that’s pretty much the most difficult part of making it.
Labneh is made from full fat Greek yogurt. The reason you need to plan ahead is because you need to strain that yogurt for 2-3 days in the fridge.
I like to put the labneh out on a plate with a splash of olive oil, a smattering of crushed pistachios and a good dusting of za’atar. But you could also put it out with olives and other seasoning. Another way to serve it is to roll the labneh into small balls and store them in a jar covered with olive oil. This will preserve the cheese for several months. It’s best if you add a bit of seasoning to the olive oil so that you get even more flavor into the labneh (mint, oregano and chili flake are good options). Then you just store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to smear it onto bread or serve it as part of an appetizer for your guests.
You can also use labneh in place of cream cheese. It’s a bit tangier, so it will change the end flavor of your recipe, but it’s a bit of a healthier option to use. It’s packed with protein (Greek yogurt is high in protein).
Don’t just eat your yogurt…try straining your yogurt and making it into this luscious yogurt cheese.
- 2 cups full fat Greek yogurt
- extra virgin olive oil
- roasted and salted pistachios, crushed (I used ¼ cup)
- za'atar seasoning
- Cut a piece of cheesecloth big enough to double up and that will completely cover the yogurt.
- Place doubled up cheesecloth into a large colander and place the colander into a bowl (this will catch the moisture that is released from the yogurt).
- Spoon the yogurt into the cheesecloth.
- Bring the cheesecloth together and tightly twist the top until the yogurt is turned into a ball shape. Use a piece of twine to tie the cheesecloth so that the yogurt will release its liquid.
- Place the yogurt/cheesecloth ball into the colander and place the whole thing into the refrigerator.
- Let it stay in the refrigerator, draining, for 2-3 days. (I let mine drain for 3 days.)
- Open up the cheesecloth and you should see something that resembles the consistency of cream cheese.
- Remove the labneh from the cheesecloth and place it onto a plate.
- Create a swirl in the cheese and pour in some olive oil.
- Top with crushed pistachios and za'atar seasoning.
- Serve with pita bread or crackers.
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