How to make labneh vegan using soy and coconut milk! This dairy free recipe is made the same way traditional labneh is made- through strained yogurt!
The first step is to make a rich and creamy yogurt, then you strain it!
So simple yet satisfying!
Can you make Vegan Labneh from Soy Yogurt?
While this vegan labneh recipe has you make soy and coconut yogurt- you can totally use just soy yogurt. To save on time try making your labneh from premade unsweetened soy yogurt and strain it!
That’s all there is to it!
The reason I recommend a blend of soy and coconut milk is the coconut milk adds richness to the cheese. Nutritionally speaking, the combination of soy and coconut milk creates a similar fat/protein/starch ratio compared to whole milk. So you’ll get the same mouthfeel, or at least very similar to traditional labneh.
The soy milk is high in protein and that makes it much easier to curdle compared to a high fat or high starch milk. If you chose to use a high starch milk like oat or almond, you may find difficulty in straining the yogurt. It’s still possible to make but will take longer and produce a smaller yield.
That being said, you can make labneh from any kind of yogurt made from any kind of milk! Think of the flavor possibilities!
Making Yogurt for Labneh at Home
To follow this recipe you will need to make your own soy coconut yogurt. The simplest way to do this is to use an instant pot. The instant pot has a yogurt function that keeps the temperature that keep the temperature around 40c or 104f.
But what if you don’t have an instant pot?
You simply need to store your milk with some yogurt (the yogurt works like a starter, like in making sourdough) in a warm place that is around 100f for half a day!
Humans have been making yogurt for thousands of years without any devices. Regardless of the type of milk you choose to use, there are so many ways you can improvise to make yogurt!
-One option is to place a jar of the milk into your oven and leave the oven light on overnight.
-Another option is to wrap a towel around your jar and place it next to a heat vent.
-You can also fill a slow cooker with water, set it to keep warm, and add your jar of milk.
-Or if it is a hot sunny day, leave it in the window and let the sunlight keep it warm!
Many of these tricks I learned from the book “Homemade Vegan Pantry” by Miyoko Schinner from her yogurt recipe.
As mentioned before, if you use a low protein milk it will not thicken like classic yogurt. Even if your yogurt is thin, you can always strain it to get that lovely labneh.
Tools to Make Dairy Free Labneh
Whether you make your own yogurt or are using a premade is totally up to you! However you will need a cheesecloth! A cheesecloth is a thin cotton fabric that is used for straining curds from whey. A thin tea towel can work in the place of a cheesecloth (they are pretty much the same thing). Line your cheesecloth with a strainer. You can use any kind of strainer for this, just make sure it’s lined with your cheesecloth.
You want to have a bowl underneath the strainer to collect the whey, the liquid by product of making cheese. This tangy liquid is probiotic and has many culinary applications.
Ways to Use Whey
Whey is the liquid byproduct from straining the yogurt. The flavor of whey is acidic and similar to buttermilk. It can be used in place of buttermilk in baking recipes, it can be added to salad dressings, add it to your bread dough as a leavening booster, or you can add it to soup to make a tangy broth.
Try reusing your whey to make another batch of yogurt! Simply add the whey to more milk and let it sit in a warm spot for a few hours (or using your instant pot’s yogurt function).
Labneh vs Cream Cheese
Labneh and cream cheese are very similar in flavor and texture. However most commercial cream cheese is pasteurized- which means all that beneficial probiotics are killed. Cream cheese is also milder in flavor and higher in fat where labneh tends to be tangier.
Here’s my recipe for a cultured sunflower cream cheese that is similar to this labneh recipe. This cream cheese is made from sunflower seeds and has coconut oil added to it for extra richness and to cut the tangy flavor. It’s milder than the labneh here yet is nuttier in flavor from the sunflower seeds. Both of them are gut healthy and full of probotics- it’s all up to you on what flavors you prefer!
- Add all the ingredients to your instant pot. Set to yogurt setting on low and let it culture overnight.
- Line a strainer with cheese cloth and pour the yogurt over it. Let it drain for at least 3 hours, or overnight in the fridge.
- You can serve it plain, use as a spread, or you can serve it topped with olive oil, zatar, and pomegranate