Starters and Snacks Food Sides & Sauces

HERBALICIOUS Labneh (AIP/Dairy Free)

August 9, 2017

Herbalicious LabnehThis 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 in the Making

Labneh marries well with:

 

Herbed Labneh

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
  • Capers
  • Finely chopped olives
  • Finely diced radish
  • Za’atar (if successfully reintroduced)
HERBALICIOUS Labneh (AIP/Dairy Free)
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides & Sauces
Prep time: 
Total time: 
This recipe is AIP-friendly
Makes 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 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:
  • Cheesecloth
  • Large sieve
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bowl or large glass jar
Method
  1. 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.
  2. Fold the cheesecloth into quarters and set it inside the sieve.
  3. Pour the yogurt into the sieve lined with cheesecloth.
  4. Allow 5 minutes for the yogurt to release an initial amount of whey through the cloth and sieve into the bowl/jar.
  5. 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.
  6. Hang your yogurt overnight, or 12 - 18 hours. The longer you hang it, the thicker your labneh will be.
  7. Remove from the woodens poon and carefully unmold the labneh into a bowl.
  8. Add salt, zest and juice of lemon, chopped herbs and olive oil. Stir until mixed.
  9. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and herbs if required.
  10. Serve drizzled with a little EVOO and garnished with more herbs.
Notes
Store your labneh in the fridge.

Labneh can also be rolled into balls and covered with olive oil in a jar. Keep refrigerated.

E N J O Y !

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  • Sherrie Au August 10, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Aloha Joanna! I want to try this but I can’t visualize step 5. I don’t understand how we get a folded-in-quarter cheesecloth covered with yogurt opened and tied on the spoon. Why do we do steps 2, 3 and 4? Thank you so much for your help!

    • Joanna Frankham August 11, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Aloha Sherrie! OK – the cheesecloth usually comes in a very large square or rectangle. It is folded to 1) make it less porous and, 2) so that it is a more manageable size.

      We do steps 2 through 4 because much of the liquid is lost in the first few minutes and the sieve makes the process of tying the corners of the cheesecloth easier.

      If you have a rough square of cheesecloth filled with yogurt in your sieve, pop your wooden spoon over the frame of the sieve. Take two diagonally opposite corners and tie these. Then take the remaining two opposite corners and repeat. Hang the cheesecloth over your bowl or jar (as seen in the image above)

      I hope this answers your questions AND that you enjoy your labneh!

  • Sherrie Au August 13, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Thank you, Joanna. I just couldn’t picture pouring yogurt over the folded c,oath and then unfolding the wet cloth to tie it on the spoon. But it sounds like that’s exactly what to do. I’m making yogurt right now, so when it done I will try this labneh! Have a great weekend!

    • Joanna Frankham August 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Sherrie – to be clear: the cheesecloth should hang over the sides of the sieve so that when you come to tie the ends around the wooden spoon no unfolding is required.

      I think you are making this a little more complicated than it is! 🙂

      You can do this!

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