Monday, May 25, 2015

Labneh ~ A Healthy Substitute of Cream Cheese

There is hardly anyone who does not love cream cheese. The tangy cheesy spread is my first choice in making any sandwich or burger. Well..you can eat them right away from the tub, if you wish to do that so!!! But I think the best thing that cream cheese makes is the beautiful cheesecake. Smooth and eternally creamy!!!

how to make a healthy cream cheese substitute

how to make a healthy cream cheese substitute

In my bid to replace this high calorie fatty cream cheese I did not have to look further. The Lebanese Labneh...is creamy enough to give cream cheese a tough competition in becoming a more healthy pick. Labneh and cream cheese are very similar in taste and the only difference that I can make is the cheesy texture of the cream cheese. Otherwise Labneh, being a homemade yogurt based assortment will always remain on top of my food list.

how to make a healthy cream cheese substitute

Labneh goes very well with bread and roti / chapati. In making Labneh, one gets rid off the yogurt's excess whey and in this process the salty and tangy taste increases. You can eat it, the way it is, or make it savory by adding a sweet sauce on top of the labneh. Honey or maple syrup works fine too!!

how to make a healthy cream cheese substitutehow to make a healthy cream cheese substitute


Labneh
Makes 2 cups of labneh

how to make a healthy cream cheese substitute
Ingredients:

  • 500gm thick yogurt / greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of sumac / zatar / lebanese 7 spices (optional)
  • olives to garnish (optioanl)
Method:
  • Take the yogurt in a bowl and whisk it with a hand blender or just a whisker to make a smooth consistency. So that no lumps remain.
  • Now mix in salt, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt.
  • Take a small cheese cloth or muslin cloth and put the entire yogurt in it. Tie a knot tightly closing the mouth, so that nothing escapes from the cloth and hang it in a tall jar, by tying the cloth in a stick or spatula. Make sure the cloth remains on a little above the bottom of the jar. Otherwise the whey collected underneath with touch the yogurt.
  • Hang the yogurt for 2 days in a relatively warm place. If the weather is hot, keep them in the fridge. The more the yogurt is hanged, the more firm consistency it will have.
  • I generally hang it for 2 and 1/2 days and then mix the flavoring ingredients. After that I let it stay in the fridge for another half day to develop the flavor. 
  • After 2 days take the yogurt out of the cloth and mix with any herb, like coriander leaves or parsley or mint or oregano, if you wish to do so, and leave in the fridge for half day to develop the flavor. Its totally optional.
  • Otherwise, mix the olive oil, sprinkle spice of your choice and serve with any kind of bread or chapati.
  • You can garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and olive also.

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