Yogurt Cheese with Pita and Olives

Total Time
16hrs 4mins
Prep 8 hrs
Cook 8 hrs 4 mins

This tangy, fresh yogurt "cheese" -known as labaneh- vies for attention with hummus and tahini on the standard Israeli platter of mezze, or appetizers. Here it's seasoned with sesame seeds and spices, and drizzled with olive oil. Plan to start this the day before serving.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Set strainer over large bowl.
  2. Line strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth, allowing 4 inches to extend over sides of strainer (do not let strainer touch bottom of bowl).
  3. Spoon yogurt into strainer.
  4. Gather cheesecloth together; fold over yogurt.
  5. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight (liquid will drain out and yogurt will thicken).
  6. Combine sesame seeds, salt, summer savory, cayenne and cumin in small bowl.
  7. Open cheesecloth at top.
  8. Using rubber spatula, transfer drained yogurt to bowl.
  9. Drizzle olive oil over.
  10. Sprinkle with sesame seed mixture.
  11. Place bowl in center of platter; surround with pita bread triangles and olives.
  12. Broil tomatoes until skins begin to split and blacken in spots, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes.
  13. Cool.
  14. Peel tomatoes.
  15. Cut into wedges.
  16. Arrange peppers, tomatoes and eggs on platter.
  17. Sprinkle with tuna and capers.
  18. Mix oil and lemon juice in small bowl.
  19. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  20. Drizzle dressing over salad.


Most Helpful

Loved this recipe! Thanks Mirj...it was WONDERFUL on my Montreal bagels!

ms.susan June 12, 2010

Mirj, this is a winner. I only made the yogurt cheese portion of the recipe (for some bizarre reason, I have too many friends who don't like olives - what is up with THAT, and how did it happen?!?). In any case, it worked great - I stirred in a bit of greek oregano, salt, cracked pepper, and garlic into the yogurt before straining it for about 30 hours. But let me tell ya, drizzling the cheese with olive oil and sprinkling it with sesame seeds and spices MADE this dish. I cannot wait to make it again - and I will make it often, stirring in spices, and toasting sesame seeds, varying the spices, etc. This is a heckuva good recipe for yogurt cheese. I must try the entire recipe - it looks too wonderful. But just for the sake of the cheese portion, it's excellent and memorable. My party guests devoured it and demanded the recipe - no one could believe how delicious and easy it was. There were plenty of raised eyebrows and skeptics when I announced it was yogurt cheese - but there are many converts now - thanks for a recipe I'll be playing with and making a LOT!

Lizzie-Babette July 28, 2004

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