This post is to participate with Recipe Redux for the month of September. The theme this month is fermented foods.
With the start of the school year, get your gut back in gear with natural fermentation! Think sauerkraut, yogurt, grape juice. Don’t have a yogurt maker or any cabbage to ferment in a bowl? Tell us how you use your favorite fermented food…beyond yogurt parfaits, if you please!
I decided to go with a yogurt-fermented food that I absolutely love. Labaneh–or labneh–is becoming more popular in recent years now that we know that fermented foods improve health by supporting a healthy gut flora (good bacteria). Also known as kefir cheese, labaneh has been a mystery ingredient on Chopped. It’s very versatile, super easy to make, and simply delicious.
You can buy labaneh from Middle Eastern stores. Sometimes I buy it ready, other times I make it at home. I prefer the taste of the homemade version. Plus, I have control over the type of yogurt I start with; low-fat and organic.
It takes 2 days to make labaneh, so plan ahead. For the vegetables, I used fresh organic spinach, organic red bell pepper, and crushed dried mint. I wanted to add black olives but forgot. The vegetable options are unlimited, choose from roasted bell peppers, artichokes, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, arugula, or fresh mint or basil leaves. For the bread, I used Italian bread because that’s the only artisan bread I found that is made with whole grains. It was a bit hard; if that’s going to bother you, choose whole wheat toast or whole pita bread.
- 1 2-lb container low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- whole wheat bread
- Crushed dried mint
- ½ c fresh spinach
- ½ red pepper
- Place a paper towel in a strainer. Place the strainer in a slightly larger bowl to collect the whey fluid.
- Mix the salt in the yogurt in the container or in a separate bowl.
- Pour the yogurt over the paper towel. Leave in your kitchen in room temperature for 48 hours.
- When the cheese is set, transfer to a glass jar. Press tightly to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible. Pour the olive oil over the labaneh. Make sure the top is completely cover with oil. Store labaneh in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- To make the sandwich, spread a tablespoon of labaneh over each slice then top with some crushed mint. Top one side with spinach leaves and bell pepper sticks. Top with the other piece of bread. Dig in!