Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (2024)

Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (1)

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This Vegan Labneh recipe tastes, hand to god (as my Grandma Eva would say) just like its dairy counterpart. I threw in a fresh pita recipe as good pita is so difficult to find outside of the Middle East.

What is Labheh and how can you make it vegan?

I am directly quoting my daughter’s friend here. Lol!

Labneh is a tangy, silky Levantine cheese spread that can be served as a dip with pita bread or smeared on a toasted bagel. The cheese can also be rolled into balls, encrusted in herbs, and preserved in golden olive oil. Vegan Labneh is made the same way as its dairy counterpart. You simply curdle the milk (cashew milk) with an acid (lemon juice0 and that separates the curds from whey. Then you wrap it in cheese cloth and allow it to drip out most of its moisture.

Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (2)

In winter there was rain that fell for days without end and pulled from the almond trees green fruit sotender that you wanted to cup them with your hands and protect them like the fuzzy heads of newborns.

This seasonalmemory is oneof the corners where my husband’s and my childhood intersect, he on a kibbutz in Israel and me on an island in Greece.

My motherwould mix lemon juice and salt into our leftover yoghurt,wrap it in white linen and hang it from a hook until it had drip, drip, dripped out all of it’s whey and become animpossiblytangy, thick spread. As we had norefrigerationthis alchemy was both practical and delicious.

Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (3)

Vegan Labneh rolled into balls and coated in herbs.

In Israel a sloe eyedyemenite friend showed me how to salt sheep’s milk yogurt, roll it into small, herb encrusted balls and preserve them in jars of goldengreen olive oil. This she taught me wascalled Labneh. We cooked as we danced to the radioin her tinykitchen, twirling and laughing.

Both Hanaan and I grew up with the tang of fresh whitecheese spread on our bread.

One spring as I was runningthrough the newly greened hills ofJerusalem I heard the bleating of goats in the still air. Following the sound, I left the dusty, sun beaten path and entered the cool of the forest. There beneath the pines, a beduin tent had sprung up between the pink cyclamen blooms.

A young woman called to me. I stopped my running and salty with sweat approached her.She stood in robes that flowed like dark water, beckoning me to follow her into her tent. She and her mother plied me with green mallow soup, flat, fire-scorched breadand thick creamy goat cheese. They fed me withtheir own hands like a baby bird, laughing at my clumsy attempts at eating one handed with no utensils but a piece of torn bread.

Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (4)

An Arab shepherd is searching for his goat on Mount Zion
And on the opposite hill I am searching for my little boy.
An Arab shepherd and a Jewish father
Both in their temporary failure.
Our two voices met above
The Sultan’s Pool in the valley between us.
Neither of us wants the boy or the goat
To get caught in the wheels
Of the “Had Gadya” machine.

Afterward we found them among the bushes,
And our voices came back inside us
Laughing and crying.

Searching for a goat or for a child has always been
The beginning of a new religion in these mountains.

-Yehuda Amichai

Herb Marinated Feta Cheese

Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (5)

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5 from 6 votes

Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (6)

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Vegan Labneh

Labneh is a tangy, silky cheese spread that can be served as a dip with pita bread or smeared on a toasted bagel. If you have the time make your own pita bread, do so, it is well worth it. The Labneh takes about 24 hours inactive time for soaking and draining but only a total of about 30 minutes active overall. If you have a Vitamix or other high speed blender you can cut the process down by 6-7 hours.

Course:Side Dish

Cuisine:Greek, Middle Eastern

Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Soak the cashews in the water for for 8 hours or overnight. Speedy hack: If you have a high speed blender then you can blend the heck out of the cashews and water and let them sit for an hour and blend them again for a few minutes. Until smooth. This shortcut does not work with regular blenders!

  2. After 8 hours, puree the cashews and soaking water in a blender until totally smooth. Rub a little between your fingers and if it is coarse then blend some more.

  3. Heat up your cashew mixture in a saucepan until quite hot to the touch but not boiling or bubbling at all. Remember to stir as you don't want the cashew concoction to scorch!

  4. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the lemon juice, vinegar and salt. Allow to sit undisturbed for 20 minutes.

  5. Line a sieve with cheese cloth or do what I do and use an unbleached white cotton t-shirt that I have cut up. Place the cloth lined sieve over a bowl to catch the whey. Gently pour the cashew curds into the waiting sieve.

  6. Place the whole contraption into the fridge for 8 hours. Lightly weighted.

  7. Now you should have something that is as thick as greek yoghurt. Pour out any whey that has gathered in the bottom bowl. Place a bowl on top of the curds to gently press out more liquid. 6-8 hours later you should be good to go.

  8. Remove your curds from the cheese cloth, place in a bowl and add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, minced garlic, mustard and salt to taste. Whiz it with an immersion blender (or use a regular blender) until completely smooth.

  9. You can now store it in the fridge or roll it into balls and the coat in finely chopped herbs. The flavors mellow after a couple of hours in the fridge.

  10. I like to spread it in a shallow dish like you would hummus. Splash some really good olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with za'ater and fresh black pepper.

5 from 6 votes

Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (7)

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Pita

Prep Time

10 mins

Cook Time

10 mins

Total Time

20 mins

These pita have a wonderfuly fluffy texture and are so easy to make that even a novice baker will end up with a delicious product. If you've never tasted fresh baked pita you will be in for a shock, the good kind.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place warm water in a medium bowl and sprinkle the yeast over. Let sit 10 minutes.

    Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (8)

  2. Mix in sugar, salt, olive oil and the whole wheat flour and mix till combined.

    Add the all purpose flour and stir till you have a cohesive ball. Knead that ball on your counter with scant additions of flour to keep it from sticking.

  3. Lightly oil a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside turning once to coat with oil.

  4. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour. Uncover your dough and ploop it gently onto a lightly floured counter.

  5. Turn your oven onto 500 degrees fahrenheit. Place pizza stone or a large sheet pan in the oven to heat up.

  6. Cut you dough into 8 pieces. Form them into balls and roll each ball out to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cover with a cloth and let rest 20 minutes.

  7. Place half you rounds into the oven on your pizza stone or hey sheet pan. Allow to bake 3 minutes and then remove from oven and place immediately into a bowl lined with a towel. Place a towel over the newly baked pita, this is important for the formation of the pocket. Bake up your second batch of pita and place in the bowl with the first batch covering immediately with the towel. Let sit 7-8 minutes and enjoy!

I was inspired by the http://plantepusherne.dk recipe for almond milk cream-cheese. This recipe has stood me in good stead and gave me the confidence to experiment with cheese making again as a vegan. Nina’s recipe for butter is beyond compare as well!

Also the best Vegan cheese I have ever tasted is made and sold by a one woman company in Israel and called Einut’s. She has no strange ingredients in her productsand the textures andflavors are sublime.

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Comments

  1. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (12)Michelle D'Amico says

    I am both captivated and enchanted by your blog…

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (13)Sunnyside Hanne says

      That means the world to me.

      Reply

  2. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (14)Liza says

    Me too… x

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (15)Sunnyside Hanne says

      All these years and an ocean between us and we are still connected.

      Reply

  3. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (16)crowdevi says

    Exquisite!
    I can smell the divine wafting warmth of fresh pita, and the herbed, creamy, olive oil-drenched labneh, as though I were likewise fortuitously beaconed within that most mythical of tents to sup. ❤

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (17)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Someday? Perhaps. xox Hanne

      Reply

  4. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (18)Alison Gold says

    Once again: I’m salivating…… gorgeous memories poking all senses.

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (19)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Goal achieved my sweet.

      Reply

  5. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (20)radhika25 says

    You write beautifully, Johanne!

    Reply

  6. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (22)Flaxen-Haired Sister says

    Thank you for suggesting a t-shirt as a substitute for a piece of cheesecloth! If I had to go out and find cheesecloth I probably wouldn’t do it. Sheer laziness. I have all the ingredients and plan on making this tomorrow. What’s in za’ater? Thyme and that kind of thing? Just want to get a sense of the kind of herbs to rustle up from my spice cabinet.

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (23)Sunnyside Hanne says

      I recommend repurposing a spouse’s t-shirt. T-shirt herds often need culling.
      As to Za’atar. Good question! Za’atar is two things. It is an herb that we commonly call hyssop in English. It is also a spice blend containing but not limited to sumac (the sour herb not the poison ivy), sesame seeds, salt, thyme etcetera. Really there are no hard and fast rules just a pleasing blend.

      Reply

  7. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (24)Nico @ yumsome says

    As I’m typing this, I’m looking out over mist-covered mountains, and longing for warmth and sunshine – your blog is just the thing!

    Home-made labneh is fab, isn’t it? My mouth is watering, just thinking of it… tempted to go and make some right now! xx

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (25)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Those mist covered mountains are waiting for spring as well. Lucky you with such a view!
      xox Hanne

      Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (26)Leila says

      Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (27)
      I’ve been vegan for 4 years. I don’t miss cheese, or milk, or chocolate… but omg I miss labneh! I am so happy I found your recipe. I made this and it turned out amazing. I was even lazy and used the bullet blender once, didn’t do it again after an hour, and it still worked out perfect.
      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. ❤

      Reply

      • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (28)Sunnyside Hanne says

        Isn’t Labneh the best?!! I’m chuffed that you gave the recipe a chance and it made your tastebuds happy.

        Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (29)Gregorious says

      Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (30)
      Very nice blog. I will surely be trying this recipe!! Thank you so much!

      Reply

      • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (31)Sunnyside Hanne says

        Wonderful; Let me know how it goes.

        Reply

  8. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (32)Livy says

    Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (33)
    “What is labneh, and how could you possibly make it vegan.”
    -Diana

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (34)Sunnyside Hanne says

      This one encapsulates so much. Thank you I needed a laugh!

      Reply

  9. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (35)Daughter says

    Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (36)
    When I return from the holy land dusty and sunburnt, I cannot wait to forgo the pita and spoon this directly into my mouth while repaying you in stories of my travels.

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (37)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Holy Olivia with a halo of bronzed hair, an icon at my table. I will listen and learn and love you.

      Reply

  10. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (38)Daniela says

    Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (39)
    beautiful post and great recipe! Practical question: Can I sub the vinegar with more lemon juice?
    Thanks for the recipe and for sharing the memories!

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (40)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Thank you! Yes absolutely you can substitute. It alters the taste a bit but I love the taste of a good apple cider vinegar.

      Reply

  11. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (41)Rosemary says

    Do you mean mustard powder, or from a jar of ready made mustard?

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (42)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Hi Rosemary I mean ready made mustard.

      Reply

  12. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (43)Loretta says

    Hi 🙂 Can’t wait to make this. With mustard, is dijon okay? Or a strong german mustard you mean? Also what herbs did you roll the balls in? I want to make it exactly like your balls as it looks amazing.

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (44)Sunnyside Hanne says

      HI Loretta,
      Thank you.
      I rolled the balls in finely chopped parsley.Dijon mustard its perfect!
      Happy cooking
      Hanne

      Reply

  13. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (45)Ronite says

    I’m sensitive to cashews…Can I substitute the cashews with almonds or another nut??

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (46)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Yes I have made this with almonds and it is delicious.

      Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (47)Tatiana mb says

      Wow!!!! It looks amazing! I have to made it . Just a question, once the vegan Labneh is done, how long can be the balls up into a jar preserved with olive oil?
      Thank you Hanne!

      Reply

      • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (48)Sunnyside Hanne says

        Hi Tatiana, I have kept them up to two weeks. By then we had eaten them all so I’m not sure the longest they can last. I’m so glad you enjoy vegan labneh!

        Reply

  14. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (49)Felisha says

    Hi! My fiancé and I went vegan around 4 months ago and we were struggling without labneh. I decided to try out this recipe. The flavor of the labneh is perfect, but my yield is so small! After just 4 hours of straining, I had 1/4 of labneh and it was not thick quite yet. I am wondering what I did wrong. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (50)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (51)
      Felisha, Yay! You went vegan! Hmm I’m not sure why you ended up with such a small amount of labneh. Perhaps you lost it to evaporation when you heated it. Make sure to just heat it through and don’t leave it on the heat too long. I usually get about 3/4 cup labneh. Maybe double the amount of cashews next time.

      Reply

  15. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (52)Mariane says

    Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (53)
    This is so good!!! It’s the first time I ever try doing vegan labneh and it is so delicious! I made it on a special occasion, for my mom’s birthday and everyone loved it! I would definitely recommend anyone to try the recipe. Thank you for sharing it!

    Reply

  16. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (54)Paul Cristo says

    Would this recipe work with walnuts instead of cashews? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (55)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Hi, I’ve never tried walnuts in a cheese recipe. If you do please let me know how it works out.

      Reply

  17. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (56)Kristin says

    I’ve tried and tried to make cashew cheese and this is the only recipe that actually turned out good! Thank you!

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (57)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Oh my! What a lovely compliment to receive this chilly morning. Thank you kindly Im so glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply

  18. Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (58)Dan says

    Hi! I’m currently making this and I accidentally boiled the cashew mixture I waited till it cooled a bit before adding the lemon/vinegar mix and now I’m waiting to strain it. Will it still work?? How can I fix it?

    Reply

    • Vegan Labneh and Fresh Pita Recipe - SunnysideHanne (59)Sunnyside Hanne says

      Hi, All I can say is; you’ve come this far so keep going! I believe it might still turn out. Please let ,me know and pease let me know how it went.

      Reply

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  1. […] practice when I was vegetarian), it’s never been high on my ever-increasing to-do list. Jojo’s Labneh With Fresh Pita recipe however, is made with cashews, and since I generally have a jar of cashew cream in my […]

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