As mentioned in my recent post about how to make it, labneh is a type of soft cheese made by straining yoghurt through muslin. Though it is undoubtedly delicious alone, or spread generously on a bagel, labneh also happens to be incredibly versatile. Though there are multiple examples of what one can do with labneh out there, here is my take on just one type of Middle Eastern meze – Labneh with Sumac, Hazelnuts and Mint.
Recently, I’ve become fascinated with flavours of the Middle East and have, unsurprisingly, discovered that it’s difficult to go wrong with sumac, a slug of good quality olive oil and fresh, fragrant herbs. Mint and parsley work particularly well with the citrus tang of the ground sumac berries, while toasted hazelnuts or pistachios bring a little added texture.
There is a real vibrancy about the flavour and colour of food eaten in the Middle East. Set against the backdrop of pure white labneh, the mixture of brown, green and deep red afforded by the hazelnuts, parsley and mint and sumac, respectively, are truly a joy to behold. Served up to friends alongside toasted pita, or simply kept as a snack in the fridge this recipe will serve you well and only takes a few minutes to throw together.
Labneh with Sumac, Hazelnuts and Mint
Makes 1 large bowl
• 1 portion of labneh (500g of yoghurt)
• ½ red onion, finely chopped
• A handful of mint, finely chopped
• A handful of parsley, finely chopped
• 50g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
• 1 tbsp sumac
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• A pinch of salt
1. Prepare your labneh according to my previous recipe. Gently toast the hazelnuts until golden brown and mix together with the remaining ingredients.
2. Spoon the mixture on top of the labneh and drizzle with a little extra extra virgin olive oil. Serve alongside flatbread and dip!
Cost: With labneh costing only the amount of a pot of yoghurt, this substantial meze dish should set you back very little. Indeed, despite the use of some good quality oil, this dip cost us around £2.