While in Florida after a Caribbean cruise with friends, we went for a walk around town and stumbled upon Noor Bakery & Deli. Although our friends weren’t too keen on the place or the food, Phillip and I stayed because we love Lebanese food! I remembered having a wrap that was similar to Zaatar & Lebneh at a place called Mama’s Bakery & Deli in San Diego quite a few years ago so we were excited to try this place out!
We shared a falafel wrap and two orders Zaatar & Lebneh. It was just as delicious as I remember! I grabbed a menu so I would remember to look up the recipe once I was back home.
The first step is to turn some plain yogurt into a yogurt cheese also called lebneh. You can use whatever consistency of yogurt you want for this but I used Fage Greek Yogurt.
You will need:
-Small bowl for colander to sit in
Dampen four layers of cheesecloth and place in the colander that is over the bowl. Add your yogurt and let it drain overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, dump the liquid that is in the bowl and use the now thickened yogurt!
Fun Tip- You can use yogurt cheese in dips, chocolate moose and even as a cake frosting!
Once the yogurt cheese is ready, you can now make your zaatar and lebneh.
You will need:
-Flatbread or lavosh bread
-1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
-1 1/2 Tablespoon dried marjoram
-1 teaspoon dried thyme
-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-Kalamata olives or black olives, sliced
-Tomatoes, gutted and diced (I used Roma)
-Fresh Mint, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 375°. Place bread on baking sheet and spread a light layer of olive oil on top of the bread.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the sesame seeds to toast them. Stir often for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a food processor or using a mortar and pestle grind the marjoram, thyme, sea salt, paprika and cumin until almost a powder. Add the sesame seeds and then sprinkle a light layer (to taste) onto the bread.
If using lavosh bread, bake in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes but watch it constantly! I burnt the first batch in a flash and it then became brown crackers. My husband and I ate them with hummus the other day so at least they weren’t wasted! You just want it to start to brown. It should still be slightly wiggly when you pull it out of the oven. It will harden as it cools. If using flatbread still watch it but the time might be more like 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the yogurt cheese in a bowl, add about a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and then add the zaatar seasoning to taste.
Next smear a nice layer of the yogurt cheese over the warm bread, then sprinkle olives, tomatoes and mint on top.
And finished! Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!