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Caramelized Corn and Sumac Over Labneh

Caramelized Corn and Sumac Over Labneh 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post

Aug 2, 2021

Labneh (or labaneh in the Palestinian dialect) is a staple on most Levantine tables. It’s what mothers spread on bread, often with za’atar, for school lunches, and it’s what cookbook author Reem Kassis’s father, like many others, has scooped up with bread for breakfast for the past 70 years. This recipe takes corn, an unusual ingredient for the Arab world, and pairs its sweet crunch with the tangy creaminess of labneh for a treat that is just as good scooped up with bread as it is spread on a cracker or eaten alongside grilled meats.

Total time: 15 mins

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 days. To keep longer, for up to 5 days, store the labneh and corn separately, and assemble the portion you need right before serving.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) labneh (see NOTE)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac
  • Pita bread, for serving
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

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Place the corn cob horizontally on a large cutting board and, using a very sharp chef’s knife, cut the kernels off as close to the cob as possible. You should get about 1 cup (5 ounces) of kernels.

In a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the corn in a single layer and cook without stirring until the kernels sizzle and pop and start to caramelize, 3 to 4 minutes. Toss the kernels well — they will have browned in spots — and spread out in a single layer again. Cook until the kernels are browned all over, about 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

While the corn is cooking, in a medium bowl, whisk together the labneh, lemon juice and salt until combined.

To serve, spoon the labneh into a shallow serving bowl and use the back of a spoon to make a well in the center. Place the corn in the well, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the sumac.

Serve with pita, with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing.

NOTE: Labneh varies drastically from brand to brand, but traditional varieties eaten across the Arab world are usually made out of sheep or goat milk and tend to be quite tangy and salty. In the United States, most labneh is not as salty or tangy, hence the added salt and lemon juice in this recipe. If you like the way your labneh tastes, feel free to omit the salt and lemon. You can also make your own labneh by straining plain yogurt in a cheesecloth overnight and then adding salt.

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Recipe Source

From food writer Reem Kassis.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (about 1/4 cup corn and 1/4 cup labneh): 142

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 10g 15%

Saturated Fat: 5g 25%

Cholesterol: 30mg 10%

Sodium: 459mg 19%

Total Carbohydrates: 9g 3%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 7g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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