Labneh with olives, pistachios and oregano

Try your hand at turning yoghurt into a luxurious Middle-eastern cheese. It may seem a bit technical but it isn't really, providing you get started a day ahead. Serve the labneh with minimum graces: spoon inside chunks of good crusty bread and top with tomato.

    Serves four


  • 450g goat’s yoghurt
  • 450g natural yoghurt
  • 20 black olives, pitted
  • 1½ tbsp roughly chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 100ml olive oil 
  • 20g pistachios, lightly toasted
  • 20g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • ½ tsp flaked chilli 
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • ½ a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Coarse sea salt


  1. Line a deep bowl with a cheesecloth or muslin. Stir the two yoghurts together with ½ a teaspoon of salt and pour into the cloth. Bring the edges together, form a tight bundle and tie firmly with a string. Hang the bundle over a bowl or from your tap over the kitchen sink. Leave the yoghurt to drain for 24-36 hours. After this time much of the liquid should have been lost and the yoghurt will turn thick and quite dry; the centre may still be creamy.
  2. Remove the labneh from the cloth and onto a serving dish or platter. Use the back of a spoon to spread it over the plate creating a loose wavy pattern, about 2 centimetres thick.
  3. Next, dice the olives or chop roughly. Place them in a bowl and add the oregano, parsley, lemon zest, garlic and olive oil, reserving 2 tablespoons of oil for the tomatoes. Use a pestle and mortar to crush the nuts unevenly, leaving some just broken and others finely crushed; add to the olive mix and stir.
  4. Spoon the olive mix over the labneh clearing about 2 centimetres away from the edge (you don’t need to use the whole quantity if you want your labneh a bit milder). Sprinkle with chilli. Finally, cut the tomatoes into thick wedges and mix with the onion. Arrange on a side plate next to the labneh, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the reserved olive oil. Serve the labneh and tomatoes with torn out chunks of bread.
SIMPLE 10 Ingredients
Tahini, Al Arz
OTK Hamper
Palestinian Olive Oil, Zaytoun