Preserved Labneh Balls Recipe:
1 L Greek Yogourt, full-fat
1 tsp Salt
¼ cup Chili Flakes
¼ cup Fresh Thyme
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Karsten’s EVOO
½ cup Sunflower Oil
Fit a fine strainer onto a deep bowl and line it with 2 layers of cheesecloth. In a separate bowl, mix the plain greek yogourt with the salt then slowly pour it into the lined strainer. Allow your salted yogourt to strain, covered, on your countertop overnight. This is an important step in making sure your Labneh gets a slightly sour taste. The longer you allow the yogourt to strain, the thicker the Labneh will be, however, I do suggest you move the bowl to the fridge if your kitchen is too warm. A thicker and chilled Labneh will roll easier into balls.
Once the Labneh reaches the desired consistency, roll it into bite-sized balls and let them rest for an hour in the fridge. Allowing them to rest uncovered in the fridge will firm up the Labneh balls enough to roll them easily in the chili flakes and fresh thyme. After you are done rolling the Labneh balls in chili flakes and thyme, place them gently into a wide mouth mason jar and pour the extra virgin olive oil and sunflower oil on top, making sure you submerge the Labneh balls in oil. They will last for up to 6 months refrigerated in the mason jar.
Preserved Labneh balls are traditionally enjoyed as part of the Lebanese breakfast spread, but who’s to say they wouldn’t help you level up your cheese board game?
If you’re in Canada or the US and would like to try delicious Lebanese extra virgin olive oil, I highly recommend Karsten’s Natural Foods.
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***If you are interested in exploring the history of Middle Eastern & Levantine cuisine, check out this 13th-century book called Scents and Flavors: A Syrian Cookbook.