This Lebanese salad, called Khyar Bi Laban, is a creamy yogurt salad made with cucumbers, dried mint and crushed garlic. It uses just 6 ingredients and works great as a dip or side dish for rice and grilled meat dishes.
Khyar Bu Laban is a Lebanese dish often found in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is really versatile and can be altered depending on your taste.
It is similar to the popular Greek dip tzatziki, but more of a salad than a dip.
Variations of this dish typically use different herbs and spices local to their region. For example, Gurkensalat in Germany and Mizeria in Poland.
Different regions make it in different ways, but the main ingredients of cucumber and yogurt are present throughout.
Why You Should Try This Recipe
- Easy to prepare.
- Light and refreshing dish.
- Gluten-free and vegetarian.
- Uses minimal ingredients.
- Super versatile and pairs nicely with rice, breads and grilled meats.
- Healthy and high in protein.
Tzatziki vs Khyar Bi Laban
Although they use similar ingredients and are prepared similarly, there are some differences between the two:
- Different Yogurts: Tzatziki uses Greek yogurt, which is thicker and creamier, whereas Laban bi Khyar uses regular yogurt. It is sometimes thinned out with some water.
- Preparation of Cucumbers: Tzatziki grates the cucumber, then drains them. Khyar Bi Labam dices the cucumbers and adds them straight in.
- Different Herbs: Tzatziki traditionally uses dill, whereas Laban Bi Khyar uses dried mint.
- How It’s Served: Tzatziki is generally used as a sauce or dip for Greek staples such as gyros, whereas Laban Bi Khyar is traditionally paired with rice dishes or grilled meats like kafta.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this Lebanese cucumber yogurt salad:
- Yogurt: Choose plain, unsweetened yogurt, preferably from a Middle Eastern store if you want to keep things traditional. However, plain yogurt or Greek yogurt are great choices too.
- Cucumber: If you prefer to cut up the cucumbers then you can, but traditionally the skin is left on and gives it a bit more crunch. Smaller varieties such as Persian cucumbers, are more suitable, as they are less watery, fewer seeds and have a sweeter flavor. However, any kind of cucumber will do.
- Mint: Dried mint is important to blend the minty flavor into the yogurt with the minty flavor. I like the visual asethtic the specs gives the dish too. You can use fresh mint more as a garnish but it’s not necessary.
- Lemon Juice: Although traditionally freshly squeezed lemon juice isn’t used, it adds some extra acidity and freshness that is a definite bonus.
- Garlic: Use fresh for the best flavor. You can adjust the amount of garlic depending on your preference.
- Salt: Enhances the flavor of the herbs and spices. Be sure to choose a good quality salt like sea salt.
Substitutions and Variations
- Red Onion: You’ll often see red onions in other cucumber salads. They add some nice crunch and pair nicely, but it is not traditional. Feel free to throw some thin slices into the salad if you’re not too fussed about keeping it traditional.
- Sugar: A pinch of sugar can add some nice sweetness to balance the yogurt and acidity of the lemon juice.
- Legumes: Another non-traditional ingredient, beans and chickpeas are a great addition if you want a more substantial salad, adding extra plant-based protein.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A little drizzle of olive oil can also add some extra flavor to the salad.
- Fresh Mint: Although you’ll want to use dried mint so that the yogurt has that deep minty flavor, fresh mint can add some nice freshness as a garnish.
How to Make This Lebanese Cucumber Yogurt Salad
To make this salad is very simple – it’s just a case of cutting everything up and mixing in a bowl, before chilling and serving!
1. Prepare the Ingredients: Wash the cucumbers thoroughly under cold water. Dice the cucumbers into small, bite-sized pieces. Peel the garlic cloves and mince them finely.
2. Mix the Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients until everything is well coated. Taste and adjust for salt if needed, depending on preference.
3. Chill and Serve: For the best flavor, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least an hour. This allows the flavors to meld and the salad to get cold. Before serving, give the salad a quick stir to mix any settled ingredients. Serve as a dip or with pita bread or flat bread.
How to Serve
Khyar Bi Laban is a simple yet flavorful dish that can be served in a variety of ways.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, a mezze spread is a collection of small appetizers served before the main course. Khyar Bi Laban can be an essential component of this spread.
Serve it in a bowl, surrounded by other mezze items like hummus, baba ganoush, tabbouleh, and pita bread.
The creamy nature of Khyar Bi Laban complements grilled meats, particularly lamb or chicken nicely too. It can be used as a dip for kebabs or drizzled over grilled dishes as a sauce.
You can also use it as a dip for fresh pita, naan, or any flatbread. You could even pair it with some crispy breadsticks or crackers.
More Delicious Mediterranean Salads & Dips
Try some of these dishes below for a taste of the Middle East:
- Mutabal (Middle Eastern Roasted Eggplant Dip)
- Zaalouk (Moroccan Roasted Eggplant Salad)
- Italian Zucchini Salad
- Basil Pesto
- 3 cups (750g) yogurt
- 3 cucumbers, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- Juice ½ lemon
- Prepare the ingredients: Wash the cucumbers thoroughly under cold water. Dice the cucumbers into small, bite-sized pieces. Peel the garlic cloves and mince them finely.
- Mix: In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients until everything is well coated. Taste and adjust for salt if needed, depending on preference.
- Chill and Serve: For the best flavor, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least an hour. This allows the flavors to meld and the salad to get cold. Before serving, give the salad a quick stir to mix any settled ingredients. Serve as a dip or with some bread, rice or grilled meats
Amount Per Serving Calories 102Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 6mgSodium 261mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 1gSugar 10gProtein 12g
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