I’m super excited to have entered another recipe contest. This was a bit challenging for me as I have not had prior experience using the star of this show, Karoun Dairies’, Labne. My Serbian heritage automatically drew me to lamb, and my LOVE for cevapi. Kofta is quite similar. Flavors of the world unite with this unique recipe for Kofta Kabobs with Labne Tzatziki. Your tastebuds will be doing a dance. I absolutely enjoyed creating this phenomenal meal combining ingredients and techniques from global cuisines.
WHAT IS LABNE (LABNEH)?
Labne (labneh) is a tangy and thick, fermented dairy product. Not only is labne creamy and delicious, it is also packed with probiotics and key nutrients. Honestly, I just knew the incredible flavor profile of the labne would make for one amazing Labne Tzatziki Sauce.
In keeping with a “traditional, healthy Mediterranean diet, one that is rich in nutritious cheeses and yogurts,” Karoun Dairies’ food products are only made using “fresh, growth hormone-free, real California milk.”
For a list of Karoun’s product offerings, click here. To find these amazing products locally, click here!
Be sure to follow Karoun Dairies on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
WHAT IS TZATZIKI SAUCE?
Tzatziki is a dip, sauce or soup found in Middle Eastern and Southern European cuisines. This tangy, smooth sauce typically contains a blend of strained yogurt, cucumbers, salt, olive oil, fresh dill and lemon juice. For this tzatziki sauce recipe, traditional Greek yogurt was substituted with Karoun’s labne. Oh, and if you know me, just a few of my own special touches.
As a delicious dip, this Labne Tzatziki recipe is a perfect accompaniment to gyros and souvlaki (kabobs).
TIPS ON MAKING THE BEST LABNE TZATZIKI
Labne Tzatziki should be smooth and creamy with just a bit of texture from the grated cucumber. Cucumbers have a high water content. So, it’s imperative to draw out as much water as possible.
Do you have to peel the cucumbers prior to preparing Labne Tzatziki? Absolutely not. It’s all a matter of preference!
Here are few tips to achieve the perfect consistency to this fabulous Labne sauce.
- grate the cucumbers on a box grater (alternatively use a vegetable peeler and chop)
- place cucumbers in a mesh strainer over a bowl for at least 15 minutes.
- squeeze as much of the remaining water out of the cucumbers
- use a food processor or an immersion blender to create a smooth labne tzatziki sauce
- fold in the cucumbers after the sauce has processed
- taste for salt
- place in fridge while preparing the lamb kofta kabobs
Alternative methods to grilling kofta kabobs
If you do not have access to a grill, utilize the stovetop using a cast iron pan, grill pan or you can even an electric griddle. Additionally, if you are using one of these alternative cooking sources, you will want to forgo using the wooden skewers.
HOW TO MAKE KOFTA KABOBS
As mentioned above, I grew up Serbian. Cevapi is considered the national dish of Bosnia, and is quite similar to Koftka (Kofte) Kabobs. Imagine a skinless sausage made of minced meat (typically lamb and beef) married with spices and grilled to perfection.
So, I used a lot of what I know about making cevapi to make this version of Kofta Kabobs with Labne Tzatziki.
Here are a few tips:
- use quality ingredients
- lamb is a must
- a combination of lamb and beef (85/15) will provide for the most flavor
- grate the garlic and onion
- use Middle Eastern spices to amp up the flavor profile (za’atar is a beautiful blend of herbs)
- baking soda and warm water replace a beaten egg to bind
- do NOT over mix the mix
- allow the meat mixture to sit in the fridge for at least an hour
- if using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them for about an hour in water
- metal skewers can be used instead of wooden
- once formed into sausages, place back in fridge to firm up prior to grilling
- grill to only medium/medium-well (130° – 135°)
HOW TO SERVE KOFTA KABOBS with LABNE TZATZIKI
Honestly, one could just dip these fabulous lamb and beef sausages in this tasty Labne Tzatziki.
However, wrapping the kofta inside warm homemade pita bread and drizzled with this tangy labne sauce is the perfect way to enjoy this dish. Tuck in a spoonful of a fresh tomato and red onion salad for the perfect bite. Additionally, serve with lemon wedges.
Leftover tzatziki can be used as a dip with pita bread, or even as a dressing for your favorite garden salad.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER KOFTA KABOBS WITH LABNE TZATZIKI
The good news is that both the Lamb Kofta Kabobs and the Labne Tzatziki will last up to four days in the fridge. Place the tzatziki in an air-tight container prior to storing. Remove the skewers from the lamb kabobs. Wrap the kofta tightly in plastic wrap or tin foil and store in the fridge.
Fresh is best when serving tzatziki sauce. So, freezing is not recommended. Kofta Kabobs (uncooked) can easily be flash frozen and will last up to four months. Grilled kabobs can also be frozen if sealed and stored properly and will last up to two months.Print
Kofta Kabobs with Labne Tzatziki
- Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
Flavors of the world unite with this unique recipe for Kofta Kabobs with Labne Tzatziki. Your tastebuds will be doing a dance.
FOR THE LABNE TZATZIKI:
- 1 cup Karoun Labne
- 2 mini cucumbers
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 glove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped (plus more for garnish)
- zest of one lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
FOR THE KOFTA KABOBS:
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1/2 white onion, grated
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Za’atar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 10 to 12 wooden skewers
- fresh pita bread
- lemon wedges
- Add the ground lamb and beef to a large bowl.
- Add in the remaining ingredients (except the skewers).
- Mix until just uniform and combined (try not to over mix).
- Cover and place in fridge for at least an hour to overnight.
- Grate the cucumbers and allow to sit over a bowl in a mesh strainer for 15 minutes.
- Squeeze out any remaining water.
- In a food processor, combine the Karoun labne, Greek Yogurt, sour cream, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Pulse to form a creamy mixture.
- Pulse in about 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Add mixture to a bowl and fold in the grated cucumber.
- Cover and place in fridge to chill.
- Remove kofta mixture from the fridge and form into sausages (about 3″ long).
- Place soaked wooden skewer through one end and place onto a platter (use two, if necessary)
- Once all sausages are formed, chill in fridge while warming up the grill.
- Coat grill grate will non-stick spray.
- Place skewers. Rotate often until the internal temperature reaches 130°-135°.
- Remove from grill.
- Discard skewer and place kabobs onto a serving platter.
- Stir the labne tzatziki. Spoon into a serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh rosemary.
- Place a kabob, or two inside a warmed pita with an optional fresh salad of tomatoes and red onion.
- Spoon on plenty of labne tzatziki.
- Optionally serve with fresh lemon wedges.
SEE POST FOR NOTES AND TIPS!
- Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Moderate
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
- Serving Size: 1 serving
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