Greek yogurt is huge all over the world, but its Levant cousin, labaneh, can be much tastier and has a much more sophisticated texture and flavor. What Americans and Westerners eat as Greek yogurt, isn’t really what the Greeks eat. When in Greece, a yogurt is generally thick, fatty and usually comes from sheep’s milk. It’s sour, it’s complex and it’s good. While Greeks do eat yogurt for breakfast with sweets like honey & walnuts, in the Levant it’s not eaten with sweets. Here is a simple appetizer with the complex flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean. Do not use Greek yogurt in this recipe! Commercially produced Greek yogurt is too mild, not fatty enough and has a gel-like texture, not a creamy texture.
Labaneh Greek-Levantine Appetizer
Labaneh (Here is a great labaneh recipe, 2 ingredients: yogurt & salt!)
Mixed Nuts (mostly pine nuts & walnuts, some pumpkin & sesame seeds)
Start dry toasting your nuts on parchment paper. While you are going this, spread labaneh onto the middle of a plate. Slice and arrange the cucumbers – peeling is optional. When the nuts are starting to smell toasty, take them out and sprinkle them on the labaneh and arrange the walnuts as in the photo above. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sumac & zatar and then decorate with Kalamata olives.
Kalamata Olives TIP: Kalamata Olives are extremely tasty, but also more difficult to take the pit out. Save yourself the trouble and preserve more olive by eating them directly off the pit.