Wednesday 1 June 2011

How to make Labneh-easy

Although I’ve already posted a labneh recipe here before, I am going to explain it again in a more detailed version because it’s a constant feature in my salads during the Spring/Summer time. Labneh is very easy to make and, once you learn how to make it, you will get addicted. It’s a Middle Eastern soft cheese enjoyed at breakfast. It’s commonly made with cow’s yoghurt but goat’s yoghurt is used seasonally. I’m now making it with sheep and buffalo yoghurt as well. 

The liquid that run into the bowl is called whey. Store it in the fridge (or freezer) to use it in smoothies, soups or whatever cooking. See some ingredients and their functional properties below.

I remember that when I was a child my mother always had in the kitchen a little cotton sack hanging from the window, next to the filter. In the afternoon, we used to sit at the table and watch in expectation as she opened the strained yogurt onto a plate, seasoned it with little salt and covered it with olive oil. We then tucked in, spreading it on our bread and sprinkling some
z’aatar over it. It was, it is delish!

Following the flower theme from the previous post, I made courgette flowers stuffed with buffalo labneh. You can find them in abundance at this time of the year at the farmer’s market. I totally recommend it.
Let the yoghurt strain for 12-24 hours
Make into balls and keep them inside a jar with olive oil
My labneh! You can use any yoghurt type you prefer

Labneh or cheese curd
450g of yoghurt yields 225g of labneh

You can add it to many salads, eat it on your toast for breakfast, serve it plain, drizzle with the best organic extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle some z’aatar or just be creative with the herbs or spices.


1 pot of 450g organic sheep’s yoghurt (or cow's, goat’s or buffallo’s*)
¾ tsp fine sea salt
Organic extra virgin olive oil


Mix the yogurt and salt well. Line a colander with double layer of cheese cloth (or a cotton sack like the one I show in the picture). Place it in a strainer and tie it at the top making it into a pouch with a piece of string (or pour the yoghurt into the cotton sack and hanging it in a cool environment for 12-24 hours with a bowl underneath it, to catch the whey.

When it reaches the consistency you like, you can either make it into balls and preserve it inside a sterilized jar with loads of extra virgin olive oil or just serve it inside a bowl.

 * I buy my buffalo’s yoghurt here
Apple cider batter, buffalo labneh and courgette flowers
Labneh with fresh mint for the stuffing
Stuff it like a flower
Stuffed cougette flowers
Dip it into the batter
Fry them in coconut oil until golden and crispy...

and eat them while still hot!

Labneh and mint stuffed courgette flowers

This is a light dish packed with protein and fiber. It can be served as a snack or as a side dish.

How I made it

I mixed about 150g of labneh with 8 finely chopped fresh mint and seasoned with sea salt, for 6 flower heads.

For the batter, I mixed ½ cup of flour with a pinch of salt and poured in some left over apple cider champagne until it reached a consistency of a thick cream. You can use white wine instead.

I then opened the courgette flowers gently and snipped off the steam inside.

I stuffed the flowers with the labneh mixture until full, then twisted the top of the flowers to close them up.

While heating 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, I dipped one by one the flowers into the batter until they were covered. I carefully put them in the frying pan and let them fry until they were golden and crispy. I drained them in kitchen paper. And they were ready to be eaten – still hot.

Some of the ingredients and their functional properties

Courgettes or zucchinis (Cucurbita pepo): have more flavour when they are smaller. It has a cooling and refreshing property. It is also diuretic, helps to reduce constipation and can be protective against colon cancer. It contains B vitamins, potassium, zinc and bioflavonoids. It helps reduce blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium. Its skin is a good source of dietary fibre.

Labneh (made from buffalo yoghurt): boosts immunity and is very helpful in cases of stomach ulcers. It is high in protein, natural fats and calcium. It is a natural source of probiotic activity (live friendly bacteria) that maintains a good digestive system, enriching the intestinal flora.
Sally Fallon explains how live bacteria work: “These friendly creatures and their by-products keep pathogens at bay, guard against infectious illness, and aid in the fullest possible digestion of all food we consume. Perhaps this is why so many traditional societies value fermented milk products for their health promoting properties and insist on giving them to the sick, the aged and nursing mothers”. Helps lower high cholesterol.

Greek doctors considered Whey as “healing water.” It contains probiotic organisms that helps maintain a good balance of the digestive system encouraging repair of gut dysbiosis. Whey contains potassium and other minerals and vitamins. Whey allows protein to become more available for muscle repair and muscle building, that’s why is a great choice for athletes, specially after workouts.
You can drink it straight or mix it in your juices, tea, soups or smoothies, freeze it into ice cubes and add them into your smoothies, add some of whey liquid in the water you are soaking legumes (beans, lentils etc) or cooking grains to improve digestibility.
Till next week!



  1. Ai! Fiquei com água na boca, Margotzinha!!! Que delícia...e que coisa tão linda! Amei! Acabei de ser apresentada a um prato com flor de abóbora! Maravilha! Amanhã mesmo vou encomendar, quando for ao mercado dos agricultores. Eles vão pensar que eu estou tolinha....kkkkk...por isso, vou imprimir as tuas foto para lhes mostrar, Já estou a imaginar as caras de espanto!!!eheheheheh Beijinhos mil! e um especial pra Nina...afinal, hoje é o Dia da Criança!

  2. Rose querida, peça sim! Aqui a gente acha muito as abobrinhas bem pequenas com as flores, o que tambem voce pode fazer a mesma coisa. Tenho certeza que os agricultores aih, se plantam abobrinhas, vao providenciar pra voce. Vou dar o seu beijo na Nina, obrigada. Bjs

  3. Thankyou so much for an amazing recipe and for including the family history and all the dietary background information! I've been wondering what to do with my zucchini flowers as I knew they were edible :)


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