Zero-Waste Cooking: How To Make Labneh And Fermented Salsa

This is an unlikely pair, but in the spirit of zero waste cooking you’ll come to see how I discovered it, and I’m glad I did, as it’s a match made in snacking heaven.

When I'm in the kitchen 'banging about' as its so often, and lovingly, referred to I'll often make something and then stare at the by product until I'm hit by a light bulb moment.

These recipes, made on the same day now as a matter of course, were no different.

I've been making labneh for years now, it's a delicious Middle Eastern style cheese made from yogurt that can compliment any dish (think spiced mushroom risotto with a dollop of fresh labneh, or barbecued seasonal veg with labneh balls and seeds).

In the process of making labneh, you are left with 'whey' the bi-product of the yoghurt, so the other week while I was brainstorming, I came up with a recipe to use up that whey.

So here are your two complimentary recipes, and together, they're the perfect pre-dinner party snack that your guests will adore you for.

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Important tip: you'll need to start your labneh 24 hours in advance, and the salsa takes 2 days to ferment.


  • 1 litre of plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Pepper corns (optional)
  • 2 fresh chillies (optional)
  • Bay leaf (optional)
  • Fresh raw garlic (optional)


  • Cheesecloth
  • String
  • Large sieve
  • 2x 1 litre Jars (using a jar is important for the second recipe!)


1.Add the salt to your yoghurt and stir in

2.Place the sieve above one of your jars and line it with cheesecloth in a cross formation (so you have two clothes)

3.Scoop the yogurt into the cheesecloth

4.Gather the edges of your cheesecloth and tie up with string

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5.Gently squeeze as much liquid as you can out

6.Leave it sitting to drip for 24 hours3.With your other jar, half fill it with 150ml of olive oil, add pepper corns, chilli, bay leaf and garlic put lid on and place in a cool dark place (you can skip this step if your not using optionals)4.24 hours later

7.Take cheesecloth parcel out of the sieve and place on a chopping board6. Put the lid on the jar it was dripping into (this is your whey) and put it aside for your next recipe7.Take the labneh out of the cheese cloth, it should be firm enough to roll

8.Get your jar with oil

9.Start rolling balls of labneh and placing them in the jar

10. You may need to top up extra olive oil to submerge the labneh balls

Middle Eastern Spiced Fermented Salsa

It's a mouthful, a delicious, mouthful.


  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (you can use fresh ones, around 1kg but you have to core them, skin them, and soften them)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 large red capsicums
  • 5 baby eggplants
  • Your jar of whey
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • Salt & pepper (couple of pinches of each)

*You can mix up your spices depending on what you have in the cupboard; I had these on hand and was going for middle eastern flavours


  • Food processor
  • Sharp Knife
  • Oven
  • Measuring cup

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1. Pour half a cup of whey from the jar, into your measuring cup and transfer the rest into a smaller jar.

2. Sterilise the jar you had they whey in, important step do not skip!

3. Chop up your garlic and onion, and put it to the side

4. Chop your eggplant and capsicum, small but roughly, and toss them into the food processor

5. Put half a can of tomatoes in, turn the processor on low and slowly add the rest of the tomatoes.

6. Add the herbs, and salt and pepper and give it another 30 second to a minute to mix in spices

7. Pour the mixture into your jar

8. Add garlic and onion and give it a good stir (don't put these in the food processor as they'll go bitter)

9. Pour in your whey, and stir that through

10. Place the lid tightly on the jar and set it aside for 2 days at room temperature

11. Each morning, open the jar and give it a good stir

12. After 48 hours, give it a taste. If you're happy, pop it in the fridge (if not, give it another day), and once it's cooled down serve with labneh on pita bread!

Now you can both enjoy and boast about your zero waste, Middle Eastern appetisers.

While the two recipes take a few days to sit, they're super quick to whip up a couple of days before a dinner party.

Serve them together, or have them separately, as much as they compliment each other they're delicious on their own.

Paloma Brierley Newton Former Content Creator Suggest an article Send us an email

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