Saturday, June 28, 2008

Potato Salad with Labneh and Herbs

Yoghurt cheese, or labneh, is a favourite and impressive appetiser that I adore. I love the creamy texture of this "cheese", spread over lightly toasted bread or crackers. It always adds 5 star power to a meze or antipasto platter. It's extremely versatile and can lend itself to a numerous combination of savoury or even sweet flavours. My preference is to marinate it in garlic infused olive oil, chilli flakes and herbs. If you're after a sweet labneh, it can be made with a splash of rosewater or combined with a fragrant honey.


1 kg of Greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp crushed dried chillies
1 tblsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tblsp chopped fresh oregano
Garlic infused olive oil, enough to cover (or just add a couple of slivers of garlic cloves to your jar)

Place yoghurt over a sterilized piece of muslin or cheescloth. Bring the four corners together and tie firmly with string. Hang this bag, suspended from one of the shelves in the refrigerator, catching the whey over a large bowl. Leave for 2-3 days until the yoghurt stops dripping.

Roll the labneh into small balls and place on tray covered with baking or parchment paper, and leave overnight in fridge again, to allow the balls to dry out slightly.

Sterilize your jars by washing them and placing them in a 150 C degree oven for 15 minutes.

Lower the labneh balls into the jar, sprinkling each layer with the herbs and chillies, cover with garlic oil, and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

The labneh was a wonderful addition to a warm potato salad, also heavily laced with herbs and a delicious maridade/dressing. Kalyn, the creator of Weekend Herb Blogging, is taking time out from tending her beautiful garden, to host her event this week.

Warm Potato Salad, with labneh and herbs


1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon za'atar (Lebanese spice)
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
salt and pepper
800g Kipfler potatoes, scrubbed and halved lengthways
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 red capsicum
1 cup picked parsley leaves
1 cup picked coriander leaves
200g labneh balls in chilli, roughly chopped
50g pine nuts, toasted
Lebanese bread, to serve


Preheat oven 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

Whisk lemon zest and juice, za'atar and oil together; season with salt and pepper. Toss half of dressing over potatoes with garlic and place onto a flat baking tray. Bake 30 minutes or until crispy and golden.

Place capsicum over gas flame until blackened and transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cool. When cold, remove black skin and tear flesh into large pieces.

In a large serving bowl, combine parsley, coriander, labneh, pine nuts, capsicum and roasted potatoes and mix gently.

Drizzle remaining dressing over potato salad and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately with fresh Lebanese bread.


Kalyn said...

What a great entry, with double herbs in the labneh and in the salad! I think that sounds like a wonderful addition to potato salad.

Anna said...

this just had all my favourite flavours.

pine nuts, lemons, kipflers, labneh and herbs!!!

so simple yet absolute genius. i want this right now.

Natashya said...

What a great idea to marinate the yogurt cheese, and let me say - labneh sounds way better than yogurt cheese. I make my own "labneh" - I have never heard the term before - but have never thought of treating it in this way. Thanks for the great ideas!

Pam said...

Thanks Kalyn, the herbs really made this salad taste extraordinary and thumbs up to your WHB criteria. Every dish I cook, apart from desserts has at least one herb from my garden in it. Who needs salt when herbs provide more flavour and goodness?

Thanks Anna, my sentiments exactly. I love all of those combos as well, and this dish is going to become a staple, as long as I can find reasonably priced kipflers, my favourite spud.

Natashya, I'm glad you've learnt something from my post. Yoghurt cheese certainly doesn't sound anywhere near as exotic and Middle Eastern as Labneh, and rolled in herbs and spices takes it to a higher level yet again.

Farmgirl Susan said...

Hi Pam,
I found your post through WHB and am so glad I did! Your potato salad looks amazing. Like Natashya, I often make yogurt cheese (from homemade yogurt) but didn't know the term 'labneh' and never thought of elevating it to the delicious status you have with oil and herbs. I've bought mozzarella balls prepared the same way and they're so good - and cute! Thank you for two wonderful recipes. The first potatoes in my garden should be ready to dig up soon, and I can't wait to try your recipe. As for the labneh, I'm heading to the kitchen to make a batch of yogurt right now! : )