This little recipe earned itself the name ‘Gorgeous garlic and chive labneh’ because, well, isn’t it?! I absolutely adore flowers and I always have. I even dabbled in floristry when I was deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up. Those freezing 3 or 4am starts at the markets were definitely not for me! I have found a way to bring flowers into my food photography as a Naturopath / Nutritionist though, so that makes me happy. They also find their way into my food often, like they have here ☺️
I was inspired to make this recipe after seeing a beautiful photo of a flowered and herbed labneh on the Gather Facebook Page. I find Labneh such a delicious and wholesome treat, but adding garlic and chives takes it to another level. Delicious! 😋
If you’re not familiar with labneh, it is a cheese that’s made from straining the whey from yoghurt overnight. This produces a thickened yoghurt cheese that is either spreadable or can be rolled into balls. Some of the lactose is also removed in this process, but not all (1). The recipe here is for the spreadable kind. However, you can leave the yoghurt to hang a little longer so it’s even thicker then roll into balls. If doing the latter, it’s lovely to roll them in herbs and store in olive oil.
I found some interesting facts about labneh when doing a little research. The word Labneh comes from the Arabic word ‘laban’, which means ‘milk product’. Labneh originated in the Middle East but when and where exactly, has been very difficult information to come by 😏 The book Manufacturing Yogurt and Fermented Milks (pg.332) suggests it may have been made as early as 3000BC 😮 Yoghurt was also strained, historically, to reduce the water content and delay spoilage so it could be stored for longer (1). It’s still very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine today…. and it is in my kitchen too 💞
It’s important to remember that the labneh will be as good as the yoghurt you use. If you want it to be bursting with probiotics to support immune and digestive function (amongst many other things!) – I really recommend going with a lovely organic or biodynamic one. Get as creative as you’d like to with it. It will always look and taste different depending on the flowers you have available (if using) or the herbs and spices you might mix in. I love a recipe that can go with the flow, don’t you?
If you know anything else about the history of labneh, I’d love to hear about it! ☺️ Do you make your own version? Let me know what some of your favourite flavour combinations are in the comments below if you do.
To make this recipe you will need on hand, a small sieve, a piece of muslin or a nut milk bag and a deep bowl.
Gorgeous garlic and chive labneh
- 500g plain yoghurt (I used Marrook Farm Biodynamic Yoghurt)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 – 2 Tbsp chives, chopped
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Edible flowers to decorate
- Line a small sieve with a piece of muslin folded over in three, so there are several layers for the yoghurt to drain through, then sit it over a deep bowl. A nut milk bag will do fine if that is all you have
- Pour the yoghurt into the muslin, wrap the extra cloth over the top and place a saucer on top, then a weight such as a jar filled with water, on top of that. The weight will help strain out the whey (see photos 1 and 2 above)
- Place in the fridge and leave overnight or at least 12 hours
- Remove from the fridge and place the thicker yoghurt in a bowl along with the garlic, chives and pepper, then stir to combine
- Place the muslin back over the sieve but this time in a single layer only
- Line the sieve with as many edible flowers as you’d like to use, remembering to put the petals face down as they are what you want to see when the labneh is turned over (see photo 3 above)
- Scoop the yoghurt back into the sieve, add more flowers here if you’ll be turning the labneh out onto a clear glass dish, cover with the excess muslin, and put the saucer and weight back on top
- Place back in the fridge overnight or until firm enough to tip out (Mine was a spreadable consistency but you can leave it longer if you’d like to be able to form it into balls)
- When ready, open the muslin, and place a plate serving side down over the sieve then flip it over so the labneh can fall gently onto the plate
- Serve with your crackers of choice. We love the Spiral Foods tamari rice crackers
1. El-Abbadi N., Dao M., Meydani S., “Yogurt: role in healthy and active ageing“. Am J Clin Nutr [Internet]. 2014;99(Suppl):1263S–70S, viewed 3 July 2017.