What is labneh? It is a middle eastern strained yoghurt that removes some of the whey component – some individuals can tolerate yoghurt when they have lactose intolerance however it is unclear if the draining of the whey will concentrate the lactose sugar or remove some of it. Unfortunately Wikipedia has a very unhelpful ‘reference’ in this regard suggesting that it is lower in lactose – the magazine that published the article (not a scientific reference) had to retract the statement although no actual testing appears to have been completed. It would be interesting to have Labneh made from standard yoghurt tested before and after making it, to see what the lactose content is. I however, knowing about how difficult it can be for people with lactose intolerance to be confident in what they eat, have chosen to make labneh with lactose free Greek yoghurt. This was purchased from Tesco, which do appear to have a good range of refrigerated lactose/dairy free products available. The other issue I have with some of the free from products is that they can be high in fat and the Tesco product is classed as moderate total fat (10.3 percent) this will be a high component of saturated fat – draining the whey will increase the fat percentage of the dish by a small amount. labneh is thicker than standard yoghurt and sometimes it is called a cheese, some recipes call for 48 hours straining which results in a product that can be rolled into balls and coated with delights such as seeds and nuts. I couldn’t wait that long 😄 so my version was just very thick, rich and tasty. Some recipes call for the addition of salt but my version worked just as well without adding any.


1 tub of Greek style lactose free yoghurt

Drizzle of oil

1-2 chopped walnuts

1/2 Teaspoon of Lebanese 7 spice mix

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Drizzle of olive oil

Sprinkling of sunflower seeds

A few edible rose petals to decorate

Serve with strips of toasted gluten free pitta breads


1 muslin cloth or bag

1 bowl

Wooden doweling or a chopstick to hold the muslin over the bowl

1 elastic band


Wash the muslin before using it and allow it to dry

Add the yoghurt to the muslin held over the bowl

Bring up the edges of the muslin to make a bag and using an elastic band secure the top.

Tie the top to the doweling and balance the doweling and bag over the bowl

Allow the whey to drain off over 24-48 hours in the fridge.

Serve in a dish and sprinkle over the other ingredients


serves 4 as a starter

No funding was provided or free samples were used to make this recipe.



I am a state registered dietitian and advisor to The IBS Network, the UK charity for people with irritable bowel syndrome. My specialty is dietary treatment of gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease, lactose & fructose malabsorption and complex food intolerances. I also have experience in dietetic treatment of people who have bariatric surgery and weight management.

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