This vegan coconut yogurt labneh is a dairy free alternative to the thickened yogurt “cheese”, labneh, a Middle Eastern staple. Eaten sweet or savoury, labneh is a wonderful addition to just about any meal and makes a great vegan cream cheese, too.
Hey there, vegan labneh! Did you know that you can make labneh (a kind of cream cheese) from coconut yogurt? I didn’t! It’s the best thing since sliced bread and I’ve been adding it to everything – no weird stuff, and just three ingredients altogether for vegan cream cheese.
The only thing I consistently miss since giving up dairy is cream cheese. Not on bagels or in cheese balls (ugh) but as icing. The only icing I’ve ever really made is a cream cheese and honey version, and carrot cake hasn’t been the same for a while now. I recently found some local-ish (from Hamburg) coconut yogurt at the grocery store we shop at, and the ingredient list is perfect, so I bought it as a treat. I had tried a couple different types of coconut yogurt in Canada but they were always expensive, disappointing, and filled with junk I don’t normally eat, so I had given up on it. This one is still on the pricey side but worth it.
This brand is called Harvest Moon (look at that beautiful packaging!), is all organic, and as far as I can tell it’s currently only available in German and The Netherlands. I’ve heard great things about Coyo, based in Australia, but I’m not sure of other brands. I’m going to try making coconut yogurt at home, though, and I’ll share the recipe here as soon as I can get it right – because even though I love this yogurt, I can’t afford to buy it as much as I want to! There is certainly a coconut flavour, so if you hate coconut then I don’t recommend this recipe. I don’t find it overwhelming in the finished product, as it’s already a little sour as it’s a yogurt, and you also add lemon juice.
The method to make labneh is very simple, and you don’t need any special equipment. You’re essentially straining yogurt overnight to make a type of fresh cheese. It is easier if you have cheesecloth, but for the labneh pictured I used a thin tea towel and it worked just as well, with a little extra squeezing. My toppings clearly aren’t vegan, with raw honey and bee pollen, but can easily be altered to suit you. I used this batch for a cream cheese icing with a carrot cake recipe that I’ll be sharing soon, and I think it would be nice with a whole host of other treats – crusty bread, fruit, granola, and so on.
This isn’t a sponsored post – I just really love the product. If I ever do sponsored posts in the future, though, they’ll be for products like this!
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Coconut Yogurt Labneh
- 125 grams full-fat coconut yogurt* one container
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Juice of one lemon
Line a bowl with a double layer of cheesecloth or a finely woven tea towel.
Stir together the yogurt, salt and lemon juice. Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined bowl and wrap the cloth tightly around it, twisting at the top, and tie it firmly with a piece of string. Hang the yogurt over the bowl, or place the bundle into a sieve. Make sure there is enough room at the base of the bowl for any liquid that will collect there. You can give it a gentle squeeze at this point to remove some water, but stop if yogurt starts to come out the sides of the fabric.
Place the bundle, suspended over the bowl, into the refrigerator for 24-36 hours. The yogurt will lose excess water during the rest period. You can gently squeeze it a few more times to remove any remaining water during that time. Once the labneh is finished, it will have lost much of its liquid and will feel quite dry to the touch.
Place the finished labneh into a bowl, and mix it with a spoon to make it evenly creamy and smooth. Top it with the zest of a lemon, some raw honey, and bee pollen (or another liquid sweetener like maple syrup). Serve as is or keep it to make cream cheese frosting.
* Try to find a brand that doesn't have more than 3-4 ingredients - coconut milk, a thickener (look for starches, not gums), and the culture. Some brands might add vanilla, but avoid sweetened varieties.