This vibrant and refreshing summer vegetable salad with homemade labneh is Mediterranean eating at it’s finest; simple, healthy, and flavorful. Quick and easy to make, this dish is the perfect weeknight meal or when you’re looking to dine al fresco.
This past weekend I threw Greg a surprise birthday party, and he was genuinely surprised. Although, he would never tell me if he wasn’t, so I’m just taking his word for it. Being optimistic, I’m patting myself on the back because we’re talking about a guy who is never surprised. Every gift I’ve ever given him, or that anyone’s given him for that matter, he’s correctly guessed what it is before opening it. This either means I need to be better at lying, play dumb like I don’t know what he wants, or give him things he’s never mentioned wanting. The latter seems a bit risky. Anyway, whether he wanted a party or not, he got one. But the biggest thing he ended up with, was a mountain—I’m not joking—of beer.
We currently have beer coming out of our ears. And I like beer—let me rephrase that. I like flavorful beer. And although I did pick out some really tasty stuff, (i.e. I’m loving the Samuel Adams summer variety pack, but it’s from Boston, so that may explain it) I also filled up on that light, flavorless, you-might-as-well-drink-water beer that he and his friends loved in college (it’s cheap), and for some reason still drink. So, I guess he got light beer for his birthday?
After a long and fun weekend of partying, boating, and too much beer, I was in need of a meal that tasted as good as it was for me. And this salad satisfied that job very nicely. Not to mention, the homemade labneh is out of this world. When I first tasted it, I felt like I had just opened the door to Narnia. I’m still on cloud 9 from it.
OK, I’m not that emotionally unstable.
But you get the point. Homemade labneh is damn delicious. It’s oh-so creamy, tangy, and melt in your mouth. I’m telling you, one taste of labneh and cream cheese will fall by the wayside for the rest of your days.
If I haven’t quite sold you on this Mediterranean miracle, you will be when you learn how easy it is to make it. All you have to do is line a fine mesh sieve with 3 coffee filters, plop in some whole milk Greek yogurt, set it over a bowl, and refrigerate for 8 hours (or up to 48). Yes, it’s that easy.
I balanced the tanginess of the creamy labneh with just a touch of honey and lemon zest, then smeared it on a plate with a sprinkling of za’atar and a splash of olive oil. As is, this would make a great drip for crudité, but I chose to make this “home base” for a summer salad. It’s the starting point, but also completes the dish.
Add a hefty portion of simply dressed summer vegetables—yellow cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and radish—and a side of za’atar-spiced pita for an uncomplicated, delicious meal.
If you haven’t given homemade labneh a shot I encourage you to try it. If not for this recipe, try it as a dip for veggies and pita or as a spread on sandwiches and crostini. I promise you won’t be let down. The best part, you can flavor it and make it your own however you choose!
- 2 whole-wheat pita breads, cut into 6 triangles
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon za’atar
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup homemade labneh *
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh lemon zest
- Kosher salt to taste
- Za’atar (optional)
- Extra-virgin olive oil( (optional)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon honey
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
- 1 cup halved yellow cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup quartered radishes
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, lightly torn
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, lightly torn
- Heat oven to broil with rack set 6-inches from element. Brush one side of pita wedges with oil and season with salt, broil until golden brown and starting to crisp, about 2 minutes. Flip wedges and brush with oil, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon za’atar and season with salt. Return to oven and broil until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes.
- Combine 1 cup labneh, 1½ teaspoons honey, and zest; season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, and honey; season with salt and pepper.
- Add cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, onions, garlic, mint, and basil to vinaigrette and toss to combine.
- To serve, spread ¼ labneh mixture on each serving plate, sprinkle with za’atar and drizzle with oil (if using). Divide salad among plates and serve with pita wedges.
- 1 (17 ounce) container full-fat greek yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- This vibrant and refreshing summer vegetable salad with homemade labneh is Mediterranean eating at it’s finest; simple, healthy, and flavorful. Quick and easy to make, this dish is the perfect weeknight meal or when you’re looking to dine al fresco.