Wondering which supplement is right for you? Take our quiz.

Dip with garnish in a bowl - Vegan Labneh - Amy Myers MD®

Vegan Labneh

If you like cream cheese, you’re going to love this vegan labneh recipe. However, unlike the traditional Middle Eastern labneh made with dairy yogurt, we’re using coconut yogurt. You won’t believe how rich and creamy this probiotic cheese is!

As I mentioned, traditional labneh recipes calls for dairy. If you’ve followed me long enough, you know that dairy can be one of the most inflammatory foods out there. Those following AIP or other elimination protocols should avoid it completely! The good news is that this recipe comes with coconut yogurt. This version is The MyersⓇ Way approved and the perfect dairy free alternative.

I wanted to make this dish extra nutritious, so I added Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion to the recipe. These extra probiotics help boost and support a healthy microbiome. Probiotics also offer incredible health benefits, making this a whole-body health dish!

You can serve this strained yogurt many different ways. It makes a flavorful appetizer when served with traditional Middle Eastern toppings. You can add olives, figs, and sliced vegetables. It also makes a great dairy free cheese spread for breakfast. 

No matter how you decide to serve this probiotic cheese, you’ll love how easy it is to make it and how great it tastes.

What is Labneh?

Bowl of dip with probiotics- Vegan Labneh - Amy Myers MD®

As I mentioned, Labneh is a Middle Eastern food. Traditionally made with goat milk or kefir, this tangy, thick, probiotic cheese is a staple for many. Think of it like cream cheese or Greek yogurt.

Traditional Labneh spoons the yogurt into a few layers of cheesecloth. Sprinkle salt on top, and wrap the sides of the cheesecloth up into a tight ball. Place a bowl underneath to catch the whey drippings as they leave the yogurt. It’s a lengthy process, but you’re left with a delicious dip that you can serve with pita bread or vegetables. Sometimes, it’s marinated in seasonings or rolled up into a ball. Authentic Labneh is also quite sour in flavor.

Does labneh have probiotics? Since it’s made with fermented milk or dairy products, the answer is yes! While fermented foods can be good for you, if you are dealing gut issues such as SIBO or Candida, you’ll want to swap out for this labneh substitute. Keep in mind that some probiotic strains can worsen SIBO symptoms. In these cases, I recommend opting for soil-based probiotics.

This recipe makes a great labneh substitute because this version uses coconut yogurt. It’s a perfect vegan and dairy free cheese option for those looking to stay away from inflammatory foods.

Coconut Yogurt

The main ingredient in this vegan labneh is coconut yogurt. Coconut yogurt is simply coconut milk and probiotic bacteria. For this recipe, look for unsweetened coconut yogurt containing live and active cultures. Also, make sure it’s thickened with an AIP-friendly starch, such as arrowroot starch or tapioca starch.

Is Coconut Yogurt Healthy?

The probiotic bacteria in coconut yogurt are generally considered good bacteria. This helps maintain a healthy microbiome. Eating probiotics can help reduce digestive issues, inflammation, obesity, and allergies. Probiotics may also help strengthen the immune system by promoting the production of antibodies.

Coconut yogurt is a great way to eat probiotics. In addition to probiotics, coconut yogurt is very healthy thanks to the coconut milk itself.

Coconut milk is high in electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. These electrolytes help maintain normal heart, muscle, and nerve function. Coconut milk is also high in iron. Iron helps prevent anemia and keeps the blood cells healthy.

Probiotic 30 Billion

Yogurt is famous for its probiotic content. Unfortunately, ultra-processing often reduces the amount of live probiotic cultures you get. In other words, it might have started with a lot of good probiotics, but by the time it reaches your door a lot of them are no longer viable!

That said, it’s completely worth it to introduce more probiotics to the coconut yogurt in this recipe. My Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion give your body that much-needed boost of healthy, living microorganisms. Remember, probiotics do so much for your health. Having a healthy bacterial balance not only reduces digestive issues, but it may also improve your mood and strengthen your immune system. This probiotic cheese is a win-win for your entire well-being!

Strained Yogurt

Straining yogurt- Vegan Labneh - Amy Myers MD®

Unlike some yogurt recipes, this one calls for strained yogurt. In dairy yogurt, straining helps remove as much of the whey as possible. The whey is typically found in the liquid, so by removing it you get a thicker yogurt consistency. Don’t worry, though, the good news is that you still have that tangy, yogurt taste!

Coconut yogurt may not have whey, but straining the extra liquid off does give it a thicker, creamier consistency. To strain the yogurt, you’ll need a clean kitchen towel or a cheesecloth. If you’re using a cheesecloth, fold it 2-3 times. This ensures that the yogurt solids don’t strain through the cheesecloth into the liquid.

Carefully place the yogurt into the clean kitchen towel or a folded cheesecloth. Then, place the cheesecloth in a colander that is set up over a large bowl to collect the strained liquid. Place this whole setup in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours and let it strain.

I recommend straining the coconut yogurt in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. The longer you strain the yogurt, the thicker it will become. Additionally, more liquid will separate out from the solids. It’s a personal preference how thick you like your strained yogurt! 

Straining it for 12 hours will yield a consistency a little thicker than Greek yogurt. Straining it for 24 hours will give it the consistency of cream cheese. Make sure you save the strained liquid! This liquid is rich in probiotics and substitutes for coconut milk or water in baking recipes.

Serving Vegan Labneh

Dip with vegetables and probiotics - Vegan Labneh - Amy Myers MD®

You can serve this coconut yogurt probiotic cheese as both a sweet and savory recipe. Meaning, you can flavor the dairy free cheese with either savory or sweet seasonings. Traditionally, Labneh is a savory appetizer topped with olives, olive oil, and fresh herbs. It is then served with sliced veggies and pita bread (gluten-free for us, of course!) for dipping.

If you want to go the savory route, I recommend seasoning this vegan labneh with a bit of salt and fresh lemon juice. Top it with olive oil and olives, and serve with sliced cucumbers and radishes.

Savory strained yogurt makes a great snack or party appetizer. Serve it alongside Artichoke Hummus as part of a Middle Eastern themed spread. This dairy free cheese is also great as a sweet recipe. Spread on Sweet Potato Toast drizzled with honey or as a dip for fruit. You could use fresh strawberries or figs.

Storing Vegan Labneh

You can store this vegan labneh in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you plan on storing any leftover strained yogurt, then it is better to store it separately from the olives or any other toppings you might want to use. This way you can customize your toppings every time!

Dip with garnish in a bowl - Vegan Labneh - Amy Myers MD®

Vegan Labneh


Servings

4

Ingredients

Coconut yogurt
Savory ingredients for serving
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup olives for topping
  • cucumber or radishes, for topping
  • 1 tsp fresh herbs minced
Sweet ingredients for serving
  • 1 Tbsp honey *avoid if following The Myers Way® or AIP diet
  • strawberries or fresh figs, sliced

Instructions

  1. Break open four capsules of my Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion. Add to two cups of plain coconut yogurt.
  2. Place the yogurt and probiotic mixture in a folded cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel big enough to hold the yogurt. Place the cheesecloth or kitchen towel with the yogurt into a colander, and hang the colander over a bowl to collect the strained liquid.
  3. Place in the refrigerator and allow to strain for at least 12 hours.
  4. Use a spoon to remove the strained thickened coconut yogurt into a small bowl. Stir in salt and lemon juice.
  5. Serve by topping with olives and olive oil. Pair with your favorite fresh vegetables for dipping. Enjoy!
Guide to Leaky Gut eBook Cover