Greek Yogurt Labneh with Garden Herbs

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Recipe of the Month by Bhaeravii Devii

Labneh is yogurt which has been strained to remove its whey, resulting in a very thick consistency (between that of conventional yogurt and cheese), making it able to be used in cooking sweet or savory dishes. In India it is known as curd or dahi. In Europe it is marketed as Greek or Turkish yogurt.

Greek yogurt gets transformed into a tangy-bright fresh cheese balls stored in olive oil in this Middle Eastern-style dish. Spread it onto toast with jam for breakfast, eat like hummus as a dip, with crackers and olives for a meze appetizer, or serve as part of a cheese platter.

Greek yogurt brands in North America include Chobani, Dannon Oikos, FAGE, Stonyfield organic Oikos, Yoplait Greek and Voskos. The liquid is known as acid whey and contains lactic acid and protein in the water is used for fertilizer and animal feed. Using a special process, the whey is able to be a source of methane that is used to produce electricity.

 Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain 2% fat or whole Fage Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (or more) good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh garden herbs (such as tarragon, parsley, and basil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Special Equipment

  • Cheesecloth

Preparation

  • Line a large sieve with cheese-cloth; set over a medium deep bowl. Place yogurt in sieve. Gather edges of cheesecloth to cover yogurt. Place in refrigerator and let drain for 2-3 days.
  • Gently squeeze out any excess liquid; discard liquid in bowl (yogurt will be very thick and resemble soft goat cheese). Roll yogurt into 3/4 inches balls. Place in a wide mouth, quart spring top glass jar or deep refrigerator container with lid.
  • Whisk oil, herbs, and lemon zest in a small bowl to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over yogurt balls. Cover; place in refrigerator and let marinate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 weeks. 
    Servings: 6-8