The deliciously creamy cream cheese made from yogurt called Labneh, is an absolute classic throughout the Levant and is part of everyday meals there. Now, finally, comes a plant-based version: vegan labneh! Here you can learn how to make the vegetable cream cheese yourself quickly and easily.
A Levantine classic in vegan!
Sebastian from the vegan food blog Simply Vegan loves the cuisine of the Levant and always looked quite curious about the creamy cream cheese from yogurt and their variations. Together with him was then finally this recipe for vegan Labneh.
As described above, Labneh is a cream cheese made from yogurt. The preparation is really very simple. Basically, you just have to mix yogurt with a small pinch of salt and put it in a straining cloth. Let the whole thing hang out so that the whey can drip off and the yogurt becomes firmer and more intense. The result is a creamy cream cheese with a delicious fruity-sour note.
Since regular yogurt is of course not vegan, I tried various plant-based yogurt alternatives for the vegan labneh. It worked best with soy yogurt.
Vegan Labneh: Easy and quick to make!
I recommend you to make your vegan labneh with yogurt from soy. It also works with other alternatives, e.g. yogurt from oats, but it tastes best with soy.
Vegetable yogurt is usually more liquid. Therefore, it does not work so well with a normal straining cloth. But here’s where one of my mom’s tricks comes in handy: If she doesn’t have a straining cloth handy, she simply uses a large coffee filter to drain the yogurt.
The coffee filter is much more fine-pored than a straining cloth and therefore you also lose nothing of the actual yogurt and the taste intensifies better. So it becomes what with the vegan Labneh!
Then it’s really just a matter of adding a pinch of salt to the vegetable yogurt and then putting it into a coffee filter. I have a device for my coffee filter, in which I can give this. Because the filter must be placed in any case on a cup or a small bowl, so that it does not tip over and the liquid can drip off.
Depending on the consistency of the vegetable yogurt, draining then takes about 24 – 36 hours. This is significantly longer than with regular Labneh. Therefore, you should also put the yogurt in the coffee filter for draining in the refrigerator. The consistency of the vegan Labneh should then be much firmer and creamier than that of the yogurt used.
Vegetable cream cheese: the finishing touch!
After the vegetable yogurt has drained, you can start putting the finishing touches on it. Labneh is not only wonderfully creamy, but also has a tart note. To make your vegan labneh close to the original, you can give the drained yogurt the final touch with a little olive oil and lemon juice.
Then it’s just stir everything nice and creamy and ready is your vegetable Labneh!
Classically, labneh is drizzled with a little olive oil and served with the aromatic spice mixture of thyme and sesame called za’atar. Serve with crusty baguette, vegetable sticks or fresh pita bread.
Vegan Labneh can be stored in a fresh box in the refrigerator for about a week. However, please note that the vegetable cream cheese thickens quickly after one or two days. You can then simply add a few drops of water and stir everything once again until creamy.
By the way, labneh is very versatile and can be garnished very creatively with various toppings. Here are a few ideas for you, how you can change your vegan labneh with toppings – for example with:
- fried radishes and harissa
- caramelized grapes
- Granola for breakfast
- braised tomatoes
- baked eggplant
You can get more delicious vegan dips and creams here on the blog or from Sebastian on Simply Vegan, for example the delicious feta dip with pumpkin.
I wish you now in any case a lot of fun trying and of course a good appetite!
Recipe for vegan labneh
- Coffee filter
- 500 g Soy yogurt
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- Mix soy yogurt with a pinch of salt and pour into a coffee filter.
- Depending on the consistency of the yogurt, let it drain in the refrigerator for 24 – 36 hours.
- Pour drained yogurt from the coffee filter into a small bowl and mix with lemon juice and olive oil until creamy. If necessary, add another pinch of salt.
- Spread Vegan Labneh on plate or small bowl and garnish with olive oil and za'atar if desired and serve with baguette or pita bread.