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Top this thickened, spreadable yogurt with a drizzle of olive oil and some spices (we’re suckers for za’atar).


  • 2 cups plain whole-milk or 2% Greek yogurt

Recipe Preparation

  • Mix yogurt and salt in a small bowl. Line a fine-mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth and set over a medium bowl. Place yogurt mixture in sieve, cover with plastic wrap, and let drain in refrigerator at least 1 day and up to 2, if you want it slightly thicker. Discard excess liquid.

  • DO AHEAD: Labneh can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Nutritional Content

Per ½ cup serving: Calories (kcal) 150 Fat (g) 12 Saturated Fat (g) 9 Cholesterol (mg) 20 Carbohydrates (g) 4 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 4 Protein (g) 8 Sodium (mg) 270Reviews Section

9 Essential Cookbook Recipes for Summer

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Sometimes we have a hard time arguing that people should cook in the hottest summer months. Why bother turning on the stove when you could let peak-season raw tomatoes shine in all their savory-sweet, tangy glory? Why haul out your Dutch oven when you could relish a cooling, crunchy bite of shredded green papaya, dressed with chiles and a balancing squeeze of lime?

But it’s worth it to turn the oven on on Sunday morning so you can enjoy a big pan of butter mochi at your next picnic, and tart-sweet raspberry buns for dessert all week. And summer’s not really summer until you fire up your grill to make Yotam Ottolenghi’s justifiably hyped Eggplant With Buttermilk Sauce, a cover girl of a dish if we ever saw one.

All of this is to say, the recipes you really need right now are a mix of no-cook options for steamy evenings and worth-it bites that more than justify the heat required. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of our all-time favorite recipes to make in the summer—recipes that we love so much, we can’t imagine getting to September without them. While we spend most of our time developing new recipes and combing through brand-new cookbooks, here we’ve focused on cookbook stalwarts: the recipes that we make over and over again as soon as the air conditioner kicks on and the grill gets going. Maybe they’ll become classics for you too.

Beetroot and labneh savoury tart

A beautiful tart is the perfect picnic centrepiece. Roasting the beetroot and finishing it with honey creates the most lovely sweetness, which is offset by the slight sourness of the labneh.



Skill level


  • 3 medium beetroot, peeled and cut into thin wedges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 200 g (7 oz) ricotta
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g (3½ oz) labneh
  • 25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves
  • 225 g (8 oz/1½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 75 g (2¾ oz) chilled butter, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp iced water

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Arrange the beetroot slices on a baking tray and drizzle half the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with the salt and bake for 30–40 minutes, or until the beetroot slices are beginning to soften and crisp up. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the honey. Set aside and keep the oven warm.
  2. While the beetroot is roasting, make a start on the pastry. Combine the flour, butter and salt with your fingertips until small crumbs form. Add the egg yolk and iced water and bring the dough together with your hands into one ball. Place in a bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Chill for at least 15 minutes.
  3. While the pastry is resting, mix the ricotta, lemon zest, egg and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
  4. Line a round baking tray with baking paper. On a well-floured surface, roll out the pastry dough into a large, thin circle, no more than 5 mm (¼ inch) thick. Transfer carefully to the lined baking tray don’t worry if it hangs over the sides of the tray for now.
  5. Pour the ricotta mixture into the centre of the pastry and spread evenly to about 3 cm (1¼ inches) from the edge. Arrange the beetroot slices on top, then add the labneh, swirling it or placing blobs evenly around. Scatter the walnuts and rosemary over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
  6. Fold the rim of the dough up and over the edge of the filling, then work around the whole tart, crimping the edges up and over.
  7. Bake the tart for 20–30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked on the bottom. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Recipe and images from The Shared Table by Clare Scrine, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99

How to Make Labneh

You could buy labneh at a Middle Eastern market, or you can try making it yourself. Making labneh is simple, but this isn’t one of those instant gratification recipes—plan on it taking at least eight hours. Here’s how Engel makes labneh:

Use a whole milk yogurt, preferably with cream on top. “You’ll get a weirdly sweet labneh if you concentrate Greek yogurt, and I don&apost find that appealing whatsoever personally.” However, you can still make labneh with Greek yogurt if that flavor appeals to you.

Whisk the yogurt in a mixing bowl with a tablespoon of salt. Then strain it. “We do multiple layers of cheesecloth and put in a colander over a bowl (for the liquid to drain into) and then cover it with plastic.” You can let it sit at room temperature or in the fridge for at least eight to 12 hours. Engel prefers letting it sit on the counter so that labneh gets more 𠇏unk.” Don’t toss out the whey that runs off either𠅎ngel likes to use it as a brine for chicken, turkey, and lamb.

WATCH: How to Make Instant Pot Yogurt

Homemade Labneh

Labneh (LEB-neigh) is a trendy food that’s nothing more than strained yogurt with a rich, creamy texture similar to whipped cream cheese. The fashionable Lebanese ingredient is expensive to purchase, but it’s thankfully ridiculously easy to make. Be sure to start with regular whole-milk yogurt, not Greek yogurt. Use your homemade labneh as a bagel or toast spread, smear it on a plate and top with any salad, or drizzle with olive oil and Aleppo pepper and serve as a dip. You can also make a delicious sesame version by stirring 2 tablespoons tahini into the finished labneh.

Stir salt into yogurt. Line a wire mesh strainer with either cheesecloth (at least two layers) or paper towels. Spoon yogurt into strainer set over a bowl, cover loosely with saran wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, bowl will contain much of the whey, which should be discarded. Greek yogurt will be ready if it has sat over night for about 8 hours. For regular yogurt, strain an additional 3-4 hours for maximum thickness.

Serve in a shallow bowl drizzle olive oil, and top with a generous sprinkle of za’atar.

Homemade Labneh with Za’atar

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 18 H, 10 M
  • Makes 16 ounces (454 g)

Special Equipment: Middle Eastern Cheesecloth

Ingredients US Metric

  • For the labneh
  • 24 ounces store-bought or homemade plain whole milk yogurt, without any additives or flavors
  • For the za'atar seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling


Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth, covering all sides. Place the strainer on a large bowl for draining.

Pour the yogurt into the strainer. Bring together the sides of the cheesecloth and twist them tightly around the yogurt. Place a small plate on top of the bundle and weigh it down using a heavy can or similar object.

Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, checking the bowl and draining the whey occasionally so that the strainer isn’t resting in any liquid. The longer you let it drain, the thicker the cheese will become. After draining, the labneh will be thick and spreadable, like a soft cream cheese.

When the draining is complete, give the cheesecloth one last squeeze to remove any lingering whey, then remove the labneh from the cheese-cloth and discard the whey left in the bowl.

In a medium bowl, add the labneh and use a spatula to stir to remove the cloth markings and to make it nice and creamy.

In a small bowl, combine all za’atar ingredients and mix well.

Drizzle the labneh with the olive oil and sprinkle with the za’atar to taste.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

I adore labneh on everything - sumac chicken, bagels, in salads and as a dip. Unfortunately, it's hard to find here and I was thrilled to find this recipe. It's SO easy to make and turned out perfectly.

I used my favorite brand of whole milk yogurt and after straining for 24 hours, most of the whey had been forced out. I used a triple thickness of cheesecloth, twisted and bound the loose ends tightly, then placed under a weight. I gave it one last squeeze before emptying the cheesecloth and that seemed to purge the last of the whey.

At this point, it was the right texture. I added the oil and za'atar, stirring to combine. I prefer this to just sprinkling the herbs on top I find that the moisture of the cheese makes the flavors stand out even more. After sitting in the fridge for a few hours, I served it with grilled chicken, pitas and cucumbers. And I still had more than enough for the next morning's bagels.

When the most difficult component of a recipe is owning cheesecloth, there's no reason not to try it. Having made the other labneh recipe from the site, I had high hopes for this one and I was not disappointed. Your patience is rewarded with a lusciously smooth cheese with no preservatives, stabilizers, or off-tastes and you can season it any which way you choose.

Depending on the size of the gap between the bottom of your bowl and your strainer, you may need to dump the liquid out once or twice to make sure it doesn't sit in its own liquid. The included za'atar recipe is quite good, with a nice lemony tartness from the sumac, and I used 3 tablespoons worth to season my cheese, with extra for sprinkling on top. For my own personal tastes, I would add a little ground chile on top (like Aleppo pepper or Urfa biber) when serving to round out the flavor. No complaints, and for how much better it tastes than anything I buy at the market, I'm going to be making this (in some form) every week.

Sourcing labneh is difficult at the best of times, and in times of Covid, doubly so. Who knew it was so easy to make yourself? This easy recipe yields a wonderful creamy spread with minimal effort and maximum results. The za’atar mix comes together in minutes, and is miles ahead of anything store-bought. Spend the few minutes it takes to toast your own sesame seeds and you will be rewarded with a very tasty blend.

I let my yogurt strain for 27 hours before removing it from the cheesecloth. Quite a bit of liquid was released over that time, and in fact I found it necessary to pour off the whey while refrigerated so that the bottom of the strainer cleared the liquid. From the original 24 ounces of full fat yogurt, I ended up with 12 ounces of labneh.

Instead of sprinkling the za’atar into the entire end product, I chose to keep some of the labneh plain for other uses. The rest was topped with za’atar and olive oil as directed. We loved it as a topping for baked potatoes, and will enjoy the rest with some warm pita or crispy toast. The plain labneh spread on toast with a drizzle of honey and toasted almonds was also delicious.

What a difference in the amount and consistency that result from draining yogurt for a full 24 hours. I started with 24 ounces and ended up with 13 oz. of rich, creamy cheese.

The labneh was very much like a soft cream cheese to which I added about 2 tablespoons of the za’atar seasoning. The result was a delicious spread that I’ve used on crackers, as a dip, and on bread. The za’atar seasoning has also amped up the flavor of roasted chicken thighs and will likely find its way onto other proteins and veggies before it’s gone. A very satisfying process I had been anticipating trying, so it’s inclusion on the list was the encouragement I needed to give it a go.

I love Middle Eastern recipes, and have always wanted to make labneh but just never put forth the effort. It’s not easy to find at the store, and I’ve substituted yogurt so many times, but it’s just not the same.

The result of this recipe is much richer than I think I could find in the store. And, I love that it’s possible to control the thickness by adjusting the draining time. The fact that it will keep for 3 months in the fridge is also a huge benefit!

This was wonderful as a topping for some spiced meatballs over rice, on top of roasted sweet potatoes, and tucked into an omelette (tasted just like goat cheese). I feel that the possibilities could be endless.

The only change I would make would be to leave the labneh unseasoned, so that it could be seasoned differently for various dishes. I have other ideas for this labneh, but not all would benefit from the za'atar flavor.

I happen to love cream cheese and was intrigued by this recipe for what looked to be an excellent alternative, and a healthier one as well.

I found the recipe to be as simple as could be and the payoff was HUGE. The extra creamy end result gave me a product that could be enjoyed so many ways—on a pita, mixed with herbs, in a savory galette. I loved trying them all.

How else did I use my labneh? On pumpernickel toast with thinly sliced radish on top, on roasted tomato crostini, and as the base of a Labneh Green Goddess dip. On multigrain crackers and with a little olive oil drizzled on the top. I think it would also have been good with honey drizzled on top.

I plan on also using it in a Mujadara pita roll-up, in another savory galette, and also added to shakshuka. This labneh is so very versatile!

This recipe makes a decent labneh, certainly better than anything available at the stores. And you have the benefit of knowing all the ingredients that go into it. The za'atar herb mix is simple and fresh.

I used a traditional whole milk Greek style yogurt and allowed it to drain for 24 hours in the fridge. Making this sort of thing in the past I have used a regular-style yogurt and found that draining the Greek style for this long resulted in an almost too thick spread. Next time I would just use a regular yogurt or drain it for less time. The addition of the za'atar and olive oil helped loosen it a bit.

The spread was very tangy and with the addition of the olive oil and za'atar quite earthy in taste. While not the favorite thing we've ever done with homemade labneh, it was pretty good. We normally use this type of a spread mixed with a good dollop of pesto on garlic toast or a baked potato. Certainly worth doing yourself at home.

Homemade cheese, ok, up for the challenge. I realized that despite the fact that pre-pandemic eating out was among my favorite pastimes, I had never actually ordered labneh in a restaurant. Nor had I paid much attention when I tasted it when it was served alongside a meal. Which left me wondering….how should it taste, what should the texture be, what are the best flavors to enhance it, should it be made with Greek yogurt or not, does it matter what type of cheesecloth you use?

Armed with a large container of full-fat Greek yogurt I lined my strainer with cheesecloth. But then I thought that the cheesecloth was very loose and that so much yogurt was going to pass through it, I actually lined it with a double layer folded in half. I refrigerated it with a weight for 20 hours and it was in fact thick and spreadable like cream cheese. I used 2 teaspoons of za’atar , drizzled it with olive oil, and served it with every meal we had over the next few days. My yield was about 2 cups.

More questions remaining, I noticed that every labneh recipe I saw online called for salting the yogurt, there were various directions about the use of Greek vs. non-Greek yogurt. Cheesecloth comes in a variety of weaves, often releasing more than whey when squeezed. I’m anxious to do it again and try some other yogurt, other cheesecloth, and other flavorings.

I imagine it would be good with harissa, with fig jam, meats, pita, toast, and eggs. Would serve it with a Mediterranean platter with spreads like hummus and baba ghanoush. We ate it with kebabs, salads, and crackers. Additionally, I can't wait to try it at some of our Middle Eastern restaurants to see how they prepare it and to compare my results. It is so satisfying to be able to easily make cheese at home with ingredients that are readily available.


#LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Can someone comment on using Chobani whole milk greek yogurt vs Fage whole milk greek yogurt. Their consistency is so different to start am wondering if those of you with good results used either of these brands to start. Thank you.

Denise, I don’t think any of our testers used these brands, but we’d love to hear from any readers that did.

Labneh with Urfa Biber

A labneh recipe should be no more than labneh, oil and herbs. Urfa Biber is a very tasty, soft but aromatic chili pepper. The peppers traditionally come from the Urfa region in Turkey. In any Turkish store you can buy this chili pepper. The peppers dry during the day and are packed during the night to sweat and ferment. The taste is smoky and fruity.
Sprinkle the chili over the Labneh to your taste. The chili pepper pairs with sesame oil or nut oil.

EASY Labneh Recipe

It goes by quite a few names, but Labneh is a fresh new cheese produced by salting and straining yogurt. For this quick Labneh Recipe, you only will need two components. If you might be serving this as a dip, I like to garnish it with olive oil, and some contemporary herbs these kinds of as za’atar and sumac. Even though I have eaten strained yogurt before, I failed to understand how functional it is right until I joined a foodstuff tour of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem led by The Hungry Vacationer. Around the program of a week, I experienced it in sauces, under salads, about raw fish, as well as on its individual served as a dip. I even had some fried fish that was marinated in whey, which is a byproduct of straining yogurt. #yogurt #yogurtrecipe

Verify out The Hungry Tourist:

Elements (would make 4 servings)
800 grams yogurt
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil (for garnish)
za’atar (for garnish)
sumac (for garnish)

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Homemade Labneh

However, what most people do not realize is how simple and easily labneh can be made at home. You start with Whole milk plain yogurt, mix in a ½ teaspoon of salt and dump it into a cheese cloth or a thin kitchen towel and place in in a strainer. Overtime, all the whey will strain out and leave you a thick and creamy labneh! The longer the yogurt is left to strain, the thicker and tangier it will be. The first time I made it, I left it overnight for 12 hours. It came out so thick, tangy and delicious!

The next time I made it, I tried it after only 8 hours and it was not as thick or tangy but still very creamy and delicious. How long you want to strain it, is completely dependent upon your preference in taste. If you are into a sourer taste, then leave it 12-16 hours. However, I do not recommend leaving it more than 16 hours. What you will have if you leave it longer than that, is another form of labneh which is dried out completely and formed into small balls, kept in a jar with olive oil at room temperature.

How to serve Labneh

If you are not familiar with labneh, it is very similar to cream cheese in texture and creaminess but with a tangier taste. The very basic way to serve it, is spread in small plates with ridges (like how hummus is served) and drizzled with a good extra virgin olive oil. It is eaten with pita bread for breakfast but can be served with pita chips as an appetizer spread.

You can also sprinkle some za’atar on top. Another way I have seen labneh served, is to mix it with finely chopped cucumbers, green onions, olives, and tomatoes and then sprinkle zaatar and drizzle the olive oil.

Egyptian potato salad gets a modern twist from black lentils, buttery fingerlings and garlicky labneh

When Shahir Massoud was growing up in Toronto, summer gatherings inevitably included potato salads, made by his mother and the other women in the family and community. The traditional Egyptian dishes included the classic lentils and a lemony dressing.

As a child, he loved the combination. But now, as a 37-year-old trained restaurant chef, he looks back and thinks: Couldn’t it have been better? The potatoes were nondescript, and the green lentils were “cooked to oblivion.” The latter was the biggest problem, as he remembers, because it made for a lack of textural variation, which is so important to the way he cooks now.

In his first cookbook, “Eat, Habibi, Eat!,” Massoud revisits the foods of his childhood, especially the celebration dishes made by his mother, who owned a pharmacy and would undoubtedly refer to him as “habibi,” or “my darling” in Arabic.

“I thought, ‘Why don’t I take all these influences and my restaurant training and put some spins on those dishes, but still honor the traditions?’” he said in a phone interview from Toronto, where he lives with his wife and two young children. “They still had to taste like the version they were inspired by, but they could be more interesting.”

When it comes to that potato salad, for instance, Massoud switches to black lentils and buttery fingerlings, cooking them carefully to keep their textures intact. He dresses the potatoes while they’re warm so the dressing soaks in, adding flavor to every bite, and he adds dollops of another traditional Egyptian ingredient: labneh — salted and strained yogurt. (But not just any labneh. For his, he first makes a garlic confit, whisking some of the sweet cloves into the yogurt after it has thickened.)

Watch the video: How to Make Labneh from Scratch. The Mediterranean Dish (May 2022).