Tangy Labneh Balls
If you have not tried labneh, you are missing out! This Middle Eastern dish has the texture of a soft cream cheese, but the tang of plain yogurt. It is made from straining all of the whey from plain yogurt. Generally, I make labneh into a dip after straining only 12-24 hours or so. I will top it with fresh and dried herbs, some olive oil, and dip in any crudite or bread that I have around. It is such a unique and tasty appetizer.
However, for this recipe, I let the yogurt strain for a LONG time. About 2-4 days. Depending on the humidity where you are, you may not need to strain quite as long, or maybe a bit longer. I got it to the point where you can see in the photos below (I could roll it into balls and it maintained it's shape).
Next, I rolled the balls in herbs, I choose za'atar, oregano, and sweet paprika. Feel free to use what you have on hand and enjoy. Then, I stored by topping with extra virgin olive oil in clean glass jars. Technically, you CAN store these at room temperature. I personally cannot give advice on that, because I store mine in the fridge. Obviously, the olive oil will harden at cool fridge temps. I simply leave the jar on the counter for 30-45 minutes to allow it to come to room temp and then enjoy!
I love these spread on a thick, crusty bread, or even on top of eggs in the morning. They look lovely on an appetizer or charcuterie board.
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Tangy Labneh Balls
- 2 32 oz containers plain greek yogurt or plain yogurt (See tips)
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups EVOO
- 2 clean glass jars with lids
- 2 Tbsp dried za'atar
- 2 Tbsp dried sweet paprika
- 2 Tbsp dried oregano
- Line a colander with cheesecloth (I triple layer the cheesecloth).
- Scoop out your yogurt on top of the cheesecloth
- Add salt and mix
- Tie close the cheesecloth and leave resting in the colander
- Place colander inside of another larger bowl to drain the whey liquid out
- You can also hang your cheesecloth with yogurt from a cabinet and let it drip into a bowl (This is what I did).
- You can do this in the fridge or at room temp (I did at room temp)
- This will take 36-60 hours depending on your home temperature and the type of yogurt you use
- Check your yogurt often
- Once it has become firm, you can roll into balls.
- I recommend oiling your hands before you start the rolling process
- Once you have formed balls, roll them in the dried herbs of your choice
- Place balls into clean glass jars
- Cover balls with EVOO until they are completely covered. Seal and place in fridge. They will last a LONG time in the fridge. Bring to room temp about 30-45 minutes to enjoy on bread and veggies
- Feel free to change up the spices. You can add red chili flakes for some heat or garlic or even fresh herbs. Definitely plan to store in the fridge if you use fresh herbs as this will reduce the time of how long this stays fresh.
- I used plain yogurt (this takes longer to solidify, which is why mine took 3-4 days). If you start with plain greek yogurt, it will not take as long.