Wednesday 15 October 2014

Labneh with sumac, parsley, lemon and pistachios

You know how all commercially made dips have a vaguely metallic aftertaste? You know how rock hard avocados are when you have a hankering for guacamole? You know how sometimes you can't be bothered roasting eggplants and picking off their blackened skin to make baba ghanouj? Well, the solution to all of your dip dilemmas is probably sitting in your fridge right now and you don't even know it. At least if your fridge is like mine and always contains a tub of Greek yoghurt. 

Labneh is a Middle-eastern marvel - the result of pouring some thick yoghurt (with a little salt stirred in) into a cheesecloth or muslin-lined sieve set over a large bowl and left to drain in the fridge for a day or two. It's a soft, spreadable, infinitely adaptable cheese, which works wonderfully on sandwiches (it's delicious with roast vegetables, lamb or smoked salmon), as well as in salads (especially ones made with grains). Topped with lemon zest, sumac, parsley and pistachios, it becomes the most beautiful dip. Bright, tangy and bursting with flavour. 

Labneh with sumac, parsley, lemon and pistachios
Adapted from a recipe by Amelia Crook, as published on her lovely blog Simple Provisions

I haven't specified exact quantities here, except for the labneh itself, where the full 1kg of yoghurt yields about 500g of labneh. Feel free to scale up or down, as required. When making the dip, what you want is for its surface to be liberally scattered with colours and flavours. A little goes a long way - for 500g labneh, you probably won't need more than a couple of tablespoons of pistachios for instance, or the zest of more than half a lemon.

for the labneh 
1kg Greek (or full-fat plain) yoghurt
pinch of salt

Line a sieve with cheesecoth or muslin and set over a large bowl. Mix together yoghurt and salt and pour into sieve. Tie up muslin with a bit of string, or just twist closed and place in fridge for a day or two to drain. Gently squeeze out excess liquid and lift out of cheesecloth.

for the dip
labneh (instructions above)
pistachios, shelled, toasted (in a pan on the stovetop) and roughly chopped
a pinch or two of sumac
parsley, chopped
lemon zest, to taste
olive oil

Place labneh in a serving dish and top with chopped pistachios, sprinklings of sumac and parsley and lemon zest to taste. Swirl over olive oil to finish.



  1. I love this combination. NIce and cool for the summer when the summer comes back.

  2. Wow sumac is a gorgeous spice ... Can't wait to try it in/on other things.

  3. Could I just make this with the Greek yoghurt?