Health & Wellness
Sahtein: Labneh Balls
by Sara Assi (BS ’11)
Fall 2020/Winter 2021
Labneh balls are a perfect addition to your breakfast and dinner table, a must in every Lebanese home and a traditional ‘Mouneh’ item that any home cook can prepare.
2 kilograms (4 ½ lbs) goat yogurt
1 kilogram (2 ¼ lbs) cow yogurt
1 tsp salt
PREPARATION: Mix ingredients and place in a large cheese cloth. Tighten into a ball and hang for 12 hours to drain the excess liquid. After 12 hours, place the cheese cloth in a sieve above a bowl and transfer to the refrigerator for another 12 hours. Remove the labneh that has formed from the cheese cloth bag and place on a large plate. Refrigerate for six more hours, then form the labneh into small balls and spread them over the cheese cloth so that they dry out well. Place in the refrigerator again for approximately 4-8 hours depending on the type of yogurt used.
When the labneh balls are ready to be preserved, dip them in the seasonings you prefer. Good options include chili flakes, dried mint, dried basil, zaatar, toasted sesame seeds, nigella seeds, chopped walnuts, dried oregano, and sumac. (Traditionally the Labneh balls are preserved without any coating.)
Place the labneh balls in jars and add olive oil until the balls are completely covered.
Preserve in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Makes approximately 50 labneh balls.
Best served with pita or markouk bread, olives, fresh mint, tomato, cucumber, and a cup of hot tea!
GOOD FOR YOU? The expert weighs in…
Labneh is a good source of meatless protein, calcium, and vitamin A, all of which are important for bone and muscle health. Rich in probiotics or beneficial bacteria, Labneh can help optimize gut health and contribute to the prevention and treatment of many digestive tract disorders and diseases. Since labneh cheese is strained and fermented, it may be lower in lactose than other dairy products and therefore a good choice for people who are lactose intolerant. Labneh balls can be easily added to your diet in a variety of ways–as a breakfast sandwich, a finger food for lunch or a snack, or a simple addition to your dinner salad—loading it with nutrients and making it more appealing.
Calories (kcal): 300
Protein (g): 9
Fat (g): 20 (6g, saturated fat)
Carbohydrates (g): 8
Calcium (mg): 230Sodium (mg): 350
Assi was awarded her BS degree with distinction in AUB’s Nutrition and Dietetics Program. As a research assistant at AUB, she studied healthy eating habits and exercise in young school-age children. She spent four years as a clinician in private practice before giving in to her lifelong passion for cooking. Four years ago, Assi started what is now a very popular Instagram page to promote easy and convenient recipes that fit into a healthy lifestyle.[@healthyliciousbySara] She makes public appearances to demonstrate cooking techniques and tips. Publication of her first cookbook is expected in 2021.