This creamy, yogurt-y, cheese-y HERBALICIOUS bowl of yumminess is so good your AIP muggle-mates won’t have a clue it’s not the real thing. If you’ve been missing dairy, I urge you to give this baby a go…
“Greek yogurt with some olive oil stirred in can transform many dishes.” – Yotam Ottolenghi
Well yes. That’s true, Yotam. But, so can dairy-free coconut yogurt made into labneh with some lovely herby extras and a little lemon zest thrown in for good measure – not to mention, a nutrient density injection, too.
What is labneh?
Labneh is a super simple dip made by straining plain yogurt overnight and reducing its whey content.
In a nutshell, it’s yogurt cheese. The Lebanese call it “Labneh” or “Labne”. Other Middle East regions call it “Labna” or “Lebni”. Apparently, in the US it’s sometimes even referred to as Kefir Cheese.
Whatever you choose to call it, it’s amazing! Especially this dairy-free version!
I thought I’d try making some of my own dairy free labneh as an experiment, just to see if I could. Even though I have successfully reintroduced a little high quality dairy, I live with a man who doesn’t tolerate cow juice. And, of course, the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol doesn’t include any dairy.
I could not have imagined that it would turn out as well as it did!
This baby really tastes as though you’re eating dairy. The real stuff.
Only you’re not. The yogurt is made from coconut…
Here in Sydney, we’re pretty lucky with our coconut yogurt options. Coyo and Bondi Yoghurt are AIP-friendly and readily available. If, however, commercial coconut yogurt isn’t so easy to come by where you are (or you’ve got some time on your hands!), making it from scratch is easy. Here’s a great little tutorial on how to do that: How to Make Coconut Yogurt.
When making labneh, the most important step is seperating the yogurt curd from the whey. This is what gives you the wonderful texture.
Labneh marries well with:
- Plantain Crackers
- Coriander and Zucchini Plantain Fritters
- Simple barbecued lamb lollipops
- Four Hour Slow Cooked Shoulder
- Vegetable crudités
I’ve kept my labneh pretty simple. You could easily personalise it and come up with your own bespoke version…
Other goodies you could consider adding to your labneh creation:
- Preserved lemon
- Finely diced cucumber
- Fresh or roasted garlic
- Finely chopped olives
- Finely diced radish
- Za’atar (if successfully reintroduced)
Makes 2 cups
- 500g (approx 1 pound) plain coconut yogurt
- ½ teaspon sea salt (more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs of choice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
You will also need:
- Large sieve
- Wooden spoon
- Large bowl or large glass jar
- Line your sieve with a few layers of cheesecloth. Set the sieve over a deep bowl (deep enough so that the bottom of the strainer is a few inches above the bottom of the bowl) or a large jar where the strained whey will collect.
- Fold the cheesecloth into quarters and set it inside the sieve.
- Pour the yogurt into the sieve lined with cheesecloth.
- Allow 5 minutes for the yogurt to release an initial amount of whey through the cloth and sieve into the bowl/jar.
- Carefully fold the ends of the cheesecloth in toward the center and tie around your wooden spoon (refer to image above). Remove the sieve and hang the yogurt over your bowl/jar to catch any dripping whey.
- Hang your yogurt overnight, or 12 - 18 hours. The longer you hang it, the thicker your labneh will be.
- Remove from the woodens poon and carefully unmold the labneh into a bowl.
- Add salt, zest and juice of lemon, chopped herbs and olive oil. Stir until mixed.
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt and herbs if required.
- Serve drizzled with a little EVOO and garnished with more herbs.
Labneh can also be rolled into balls and covered with olive oil in a jar. Keep refrigerated.