On the hunt for a new side dish? Labneh – or strained yoghurt – is a beloved accompaniment in the Middle East and luckily it’s easy to make at home. Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones share their Tart London recipe …
Red Pepper and Labneh Dish Recipe
A Middle Eastern lunch idea perfect for your next BBQ. Bursting with flavour from the peppers, tomatoes and chickpeas, it’s perfect for vegetarians too!
Serves 6-8 as a side
- 4 red peppers, halved and deseeded
- Handful of small mixed tomatoes
- Few sprigs of thyme
- 1 tbsp harissa
- 1 tsp salt
- Large pinch of saffron threads
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 4 tbsp olive oil, plus a glug for frying
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 400g tin chickpeas
- 2 tbsp buckwheat
- Small bunch of chopped coriander
- Sea salt and pepper
For the Labneh
- 1kg natural yoghurt
- 1 tsp sea salt
For the spicy nuts
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp roughly chopped pine nuts
- 2 tsp chopped hazelnuts
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- Line a deep bowl with a double layer of cheesecloth. Stir the yoghurt and salt together and place in the centre of the cloth and pull the corners to make a ball, tie closed tightly with string.
- Set in a sieve over a bowl to collect the liquid and let it hang while you get on with the rest of the recipe. Preheat the oven to 180°C and put the peppers and tomatoes on a lined baking tray. Scatter with thyme.
- In a bowl, mix the harissa, saffron, garlic, oil and balsamic vinegar and season well. Drizzle it over the vegetables, mixing in with your hands.
- Finally sprinkle the sugar over the top and roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Add the drained chickpeas and buckwheat with a good sprinkle of sea salt to a large frying pan and fry for 5 minutes until golden and crisp.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add all the spices, nuts and chilli flakes. Sizzle for 3-5 mins until the spices have crisped. Remove from heat and set aside.
- When cool, peel the skins off the peppers and place the flesh in a mortar and pestle with the juices collected in the tray.
- Serve by dolloping the labneh onto a plate, spoon the peppers over, dot the tomatoes about, followed by the crisped chickpeas and buckwheat, then the spicy nuts. Finish with a scattering of chopped coriander.
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