Mezze + Small Plates Recipe Index Snacks

Yogurt Dip with Walnuts and Herbs

Yogurt is a very common ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. It’s cooked to make a savory sauce, strained and spread with olive oil for breakfast (called labneh), or served plain alongside rice dishes and stews. I’m constantly eating it, and can safely say I’ve gotten the Australian Man hooked since we moved in together last year. It’s no surprise then that yogurt takes center stage in this versatile dip I’m sharing today.
But this dip is particularly special. This love of yogurt was also shared by my late and very dear auntie Nabila. As an artist with a heart of gold, she left us with an incredible, decades-worth collection of paintings and mixed media, plus memories of her wonderful – sometimes quite funny, actually – culinary creations… this being one of them. She would often bring it to family gatherings, and I was always excited to see it on the table amongst the other dips, grilled meats, rice and vegetables.
Walnuts and fresh herbs provide substance and earthiness to the garlicky yogurt, and the addition of extra virgin olive oil makes it smooth as silk. The flavors are always changing, too, since you can use any fresh or dried herbs you have on hand — though I always love the inclusion of fresh mint. Labneh can be purchased from the grocery store, but you can very easily make your own by straining plain yogurt through a sieve. See the link in the recipe for a quick tutorial.
1 quantity labneh (strained yogurt) + 1 heaping spoonful of plain yogurt to lighten
Drizzle olive oil, for smoothness and taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Salt, to taste
Large handful coarsely chopped walnuts
Handful of fresh or dry chopped herbs: mint, basil, thyme and/or oregano
Extra olive oil, nuts and herbs, to garnish
Optional: chopped scallion. My auntie used to add this, though I usually leave it out.
Mix the labneh with the plain yogurt and a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil until smooth. Add the garlic, salt, chopped nuts, herbs and scallions (if using), then fold again to combine. Place in a serving bowl, topping with more nuts, fresh herbs and olive oil to garnish.
Serve as a dip with fresh vegetables or bread, as a spread for sandwiches, or smoothed atop sfeeha and other savory pastries.
Audio pairing: Gipsy Kings, “Djobi Djoba”
A song that always reminds me of my childhood, in the kitchen at family brunches

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  • Reply whitecardigan1 27/02/2012 at 1:18 pm

    Perfect party dip! i always love dips with yogurt… so much better than heavy mayo dips and equally delicious!

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  • Reply Christina 15/09/2011 at 3:26 am

    this looks delightful!

  • Reply shaday 01/09/2011 at 1:26 pm

    It must be delicious. Anyway, it looks so. ;P

  • Reply tfwalsh 31/08/2011 at 10:25 am

    This looks so good – am going to have to try it out:)

  • Reply A Spoonful of Yumm 30/08/2011 at 12:14 pm

    love it that you added walnuts to yogurt ! garlic is great too 😀 this is a great dip for any spicy cutlet or fritters or chips even…yumm !

  • Reply Joanne 30/08/2011 at 10:59 am

    I had never realized that THIS was labneh! Wow! Learn something new every day 😛 Looks delicious!

  • Reply Tanvi@SinfullySpicy 30/08/2011 at 6:26 am

    I have been wanting to make labneh for a long time now..thanks for the inspiration. I can polish off whole of that dip! Looks so yummy!

  • Reply Faith 30/08/2011 at 3:21 am

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving that sweet comment! Your blog is gorgeous and labneh is one of my favorites…I love the addition of walnuts here!

  • Reply Luv'n Spoonfuls 30/08/2011 at 2:06 am

    Got to love it! I agree that the yogurt is so great to use…healthy, smooth and tasty! And the fact that you can dip a cracker in it, spread it on a sammi or use it with veggies makes it winner in my book. YUM!

  • Reply Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi 30/08/2011 at 12:12 am

    I can’t begin to tell you how good this looks! Any dip that combines yoghurt and garlic’s a winner for me. I use yoghurt in my cooking all the time – often using it to replace cream (eg coconut cream in curry) for a bit of a low-fat alternative.

  • Reply kankana 29/08/2011 at 11:56 pm

    I had no idea labneh can be made at home. These looks so damn delicious and a perfect for party.

  • Reply Wini 29/08/2011 at 12:03 pm

    This looks simple to make yet so delicious! Yummo!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply leaf (the indolent cook) 29/08/2011 at 5:48 am

    Lovely. Feel free to share more traditional family recipes like this one, Yas! 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer (Delicieux) 29/08/2011 at 2:12 am

    This looks so delicious Yasmeen! I love dips and the combination of walnuts and yogurt sounds so yummy!

  • Reply Sneh | Cook Republic 29/08/2011 at 1:53 am

    Delightful flavours! I can’t wait to try this out, so easy too. Need an excuse to use the cheese cloth I bought recently 🙂

  • Reply chinmayie @ love food eat 29/08/2011 at 1:51 am

    Perfect party dip! i always love dips with yogurt… so much better than heavy mayo dips and equally delicious!

  • Reply Nuha 28/08/2011 at 11:26 pm

    yas…you’ve just decided what my eid breakfast will be!!

  • Reply Val 28/08/2011 at 10:21 pm

    This looks so amazing!

  • Reply Lady Grey 28/08/2011 at 7:01 pm

    This sounds SO good! I’ve only had labneh once, with pita and olive oil and I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to try this!

    ps: thanks for the music recommendation. I love it!

  • Reply Maria @ Scandi Foodie 28/08/2011 at 6:28 pm

    You had me at walnuts! I can’t resist them, and this sounds so so tasty!

  • Reply Tammy Olson 28/08/2011 at 4:24 pm

    Hi Yasmeen,
    Popping in from the e-course. So many yummy things on your blog. I’m always looking for new recipes. I think the shortbread cookies will be first on my list.

  • Reply sarah nicole 28/08/2011 at 3:41 pm

    This looks so good! Lately, I’ve been eating lots of walnuts, they are so delish!



  • Reply Barb 28/08/2011 at 2:08 pm

    This looks delish! Makes me think of my favorite eggplant & walnut hummus we get at a local restaurant. Yummy! Nice blog you have here. I’ll be back for sure! (found you from FTLOB)

  • Reply Vic 28/08/2011 at 1:28 pm

    Wow! sounds better than it looks…okay—maybe not! LOL i love your food posts my dear…just awesome:)

  • Reply Lucy The Valiant 28/08/2011 at 1:19 pm

    YUM! This looks incredible!

  • Reply Candace 28/08/2011 at 1:08 pm

    This dip is gorgeous! I think I have everything to make this. I will just have to brave the hurricane to harvest the herbs. That won’t be too hard. This will great to snack on while watching the weather. Thanks, Yasmeen! Pinning it.

  • Reply penny aka jeroxie 28/08/2011 at 12:55 pm

    I am so so making this. I think I can jsut have this for dinner. YUM!

  • Reply OohLookBel 28/08/2011 at 11:06 am

    I didn’t realise labneh was so easy to make. Will definitely try it, together with this luscious dip!

  • Reply Luisa Rodríguez 28/08/2011 at 10:19 am

    Hey, Yasmeen!!

    This looks absolutely delicious 😛

    I got here through For The Love Of Blogs. Maybe you could come visit me too one of these days?

    Have a very nice weekend!

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