A Lebanese salad called "Khyar bi Laban" made of diced fresh cucumber in a vegan natural yogurt with dried mint and crushed garlic. A very refreshing salad that is perfect as a side or dip for many dishes.
It’s taken me a while to post this one up because I just didn’t like the taste of the available plant-based yoghurts, but now I am delighted to be able to release this refreshing vegan Lebanese cucumber yogurt salad. See ingredient notes below.
We call this “khyar bi laban” in Arabic which translates to “cucumbers in yoghurt” and it’s the most wonderful taste of cucumber freshness, yoghurt tanginess married with garlic.
Lebanese cucumber yogurt salad is paired with many delicious foods, I especially love it with any type of mujadara or mujadara hamra. It also pairs well with Lebanese vegetable and nut rice, Lebanese spinach triangles, upside down rice called Maqlouba, vegan shawarma wrap or purslane pockets.
There are several variations of this salad found in differing cultures. It’s called Raita in India, Tzatziki in Greece; Gurkensalat in Germany; and Mizeria in Poland. Each region offers a different way of making it, but the main ingredients of cucumber and yoghurt are always there.
😋Why you’ll love this recipe
- Vegan and gluten free
- It’s light and very refreshing
- Super easy to prepare
- A versatile Lebanese salad that pairs with many dishes or can be enjoyed as a dip with your favourite crackers.
✔️What You’ll Need
Cucumbers whilst my family always uses Lebanese cucumbers for this salad, you can use similar ones such as a telegraph (continental) cucumber. Avoid cucumbers with hard seeds, if you can’t avoid this, then scoop out the seeds and work with the flesh only. Another salad with these cucumbers is my vegan brown rice salad.
Cucumber skin can be left on or peeled off. I generally will leave my skins on after a really good wash.
Natural plain yoghurt - be sure to purchase a no added sugar plant-based yoghurt, avoid ones that have strong tastes e.g., some coconut yoghurts. The Lebanese cucumber with yoghurt salad is traditionally made with “laban” a natural plain yoghurt.
I have recently found a brand that makes a plain kefir coconut yoghurt that has a nice mild sourness to it, this is the brand*. I was sceptical at first, as I haven’t been able to find one with a more neutral flavour, but this one surprised me. Whilst this brand only delivers within Sydney, I recommend finding something similar; Kefir is sour, which works perfectly in this vegan salad.
Garlic should be fresh, generally, one decent sized crushed garlic clove gives great flavouring, however, you can adjust the amount of garlic in this Arabic salad.
Dried mint is typically what my family uses within this salad, however, you can use fresh finely chopped mint too. I prefer the dried mint, which is ground up and easier to work with, one less item to chop up. It also makes this cucumber yogurt salad interesting to look at with all the tiny dark specks running through it.
Salt - my go-to is pink himalayan salt* (it has health benefits), but sea salt works well too.
Let’s get to how to make cucumber yogurt salad;
Step 1 - Finely dice one large cucumber and place it in a salad bowl. Add 1 cup of vegan plain yogurt, ½-1 teaspoon of dried mint, 1 crushed garlic clove, ½ teaspoon of salt and mix together.
Step 2 - Adjust salt if required and serve cold.
Finely diced cucumber gives a crunchy texture and is easy to eat. Typically the cucumbers are cut immediately and not drained of their water content. It’s part of the appeal to eat this Arabic salad during hot weather.
If the yoghurt you choose is too thick, it can be watered down by adding one tablespoon of water at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
On very hot days, my mother will water this salad down into more of a soup consistency. We slurp this down - so refreshing!
To do this, just add filtered water until it is very runny. Adjustment of the ingredients may be needed to ensure the flavouring is good.
Yes, cucumber yogurt salad can be store in an air-tight container in the fridge for a day or two. However, do note that the cucumbers will become soggy the longer it is stored.
Lebanese cucumbers have dark thin skin, small seeds and crisp sweet flesh that is juicy. They are generally around 10-15cm long and have a low acidic content.
As mentioned previously khyar bi laban can be served with many Lebanese foods, such as falafel, mujadara, vegetable rice, vegan shawarma and so much more.
I also like to use it as a dip with roasted artichoke.
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Vegan Lebanese Cucumber Yogurt Salad (Khyar Bi Laban)
- 1 large Cucumber finely diced
- 1 cup Dairy free natural plain yoghurt no added sweetener
- ½-1 teaspoon Ground mint heaping
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine.1 large Cucumber, 1 cup Dairy free natural plain yoghurt, ½-1 teaspoon Ground mint, ½ teaspoon Salt, 1 clove Garlic
- Adjust salt if required. Serve cold.