I first tried labneh in a tiny Middle Eastern restaurant. It was slathered on warm flatbread with olives and a magical lemony flavored spice. When I asked the waiter the name of the spice, he said “Zatar”, which sounded so exotic that I couldn’t imagine that one day I would be using it at home. That was years ago, and both labneh and zatar are now staples in my kitchen. Labneh is essentially yogurt cheese, or strained yogurt. It is high in protein, and that makes it a natural for use in diabetic breakfast recipes, in place of eggs or the usual Greek yogurt. You can buy labneh in Middle Eastern grocery stores, but it’s also fun to make it at home (depending on your idea of fun). As for the zatar, it turns out that it really is slightly exotic, with ingredients like thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and sumac. Once you have everything in place, this dish pulls together quickly. Char the tomatoes and the bread and arrange it on a plate with some greens. The rest is pure pleasure: spread the labneh and tomato on the pita. Sprinkle on some zatar and take a bite. Feel the warmth.

Recipe: Labneh with Charred Tomatoes & Zatar

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  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small pita bread, halved
  • 1 tsp zatar
  • 1/3 cup labneh, made from 2% Greek yogurt
  • handful of fresh watercress
  • pinch of salt, if desired
  1. Cut the tomato in half horizontally, and brush with 1/2 tsp of the olive oil. Place on a grill pan over high heat until charred and softened.
  2. Remove the tomato halves and set aside. Brush the two halves of the pita bread with the remaining oil and sprinkle with some of the zatar. place the pita in the grill pan, zatar-side down, just until the bread is hot, crisp and browned to your desire.
  3. Arrange the pita bread, tomatoes, labneh and watercress on a plate. Sprinkle a little more zatar on the labneh and serve.

This recipe makes 1 servings.
Nutrition for one serving is as follows:

240

Calories

8g (SAT 1.9)

Fat

12g

Protein

30

Carbs

4.1

Fibre

520mg

Sodium

Cholesterol

Saturated Fat

How to make Labneh:

  • 3 cups Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 grated lemon
Mix 3 cups Greek yogurt (2% or whole) with 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 grated lemon peel. Place mixture in the middle of a large square of cheesecloth, then place in a sieve. Place sieve in a bowl. Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and fold over the yogurt to cover completely. (The bowl will catch the liquid that drains off). Transfer to the fridge and leave for 24 hours. It should be thick.

This recipe makes servings.
Nutrition for one serving is as follows:

(this makes more labneh than called for in the recipe)

Calories

Fat

Protein

Carbs

Fibre

Sodium

Cholesterol

Saturated Fat

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