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How I love labneh, the Middle Eastern schmear

By: Ellie Krieger The Washington Post
May 16, 2018
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Caption +
Spring Toasts With Labneh. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post.

Visiting the yogurt case is like taking a trip around the world: Greek, French, Australian, Icelandic styles and more. If you're lucky, you'll find labneh, the Middle Eastern yogurt so thick and spreadable it is referred to as a cheese. It has a rich texture and a refreshingly tangy flavor - something like a light sour cream.

Because labneh is so thick, it is especially well-suited for smearing on bread, as it is in these toasts. I prefer the richness of the full-fat variety, but the low-fat version works, too, as does the plain Icelandic yogurt called skyr that has a similar consistency.

For these toasts, I use a dense, whole-grain bread studded with grains and seeds. The labneh is spread luxuriously on top, followed by a shower of spring produce - radish slices, sprouts and fresh mint leaves - and finally, a sprinkle of toasted sunflower seeds, coarse salt and black pepper.

Spring Toasts With Labneh

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Yield: 4 servings

8 slices crusty, textured whole-grain bread, such as from a "health" loaf (1/2-inch-thick slices, about 1 1/4 ounces each) 3/4 cup labneh (regular or low-fat) 4 medium radishes, thinly sliced 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons broccoli sprouts or other type of sprouts 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves 1 tablespoon unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted Coarse sea salt Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

Toast the bread.

Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the labneh over each slice, then top with the radishes, sprinkle with the oil, and top with the sprouts, mint and sunflower seeds. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then serve right away.

Notes: If you can't find labneh, the Icelandic skyr will work instead. Toast the sunflower seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, until fragrant and slightly darkened, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid scorching. Cool before using. Nutrition information per serving (using regular labneh and 1/4 teaspoon salt): 230 calories, 9 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar.

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