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Sweet, saffron, roasted tomatoes with labneh

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

The secret to great salads are fresh and wonderful ingredients brought together with balance. This salad has some amazing ingredients: saffron, spicy harissa paste, creamy garlic yogurt and the sweet caramelized summer tomatoes. They come together beautifully.

This salad is off the charts packed with flavor. The wonderful sweet roasted tomatoes, scented with saffron and spiced with harissa paste, the creamy yogurt and blanched almonds come together beautifully. You could serve it as a salad with some lettuce and pita bread, as in this picture, or as a side dish with grilled meats or a slow braised stew. This dish is definitely one that I will make again.

This was my first Diana Henry cookbook, and after making a couple of recipes from it, I was addicted to her cooking. There are flavors and cuisines from a round the world and her writing style is fun and easy. Like this recipe, the recipes step away from the ordinary and are just amazing.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


For the yogurt sauce:

1 cup labneh or Greek yogurt

2 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons mint, cilantro or parsley or a mix of any or all of them

Salt to taste

White pepper

For the tomatoes:

1 lb cherry tomatoes, or other small sweet tomatoes, halved

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 tablespoons harissa paste, commercial is fine

A generous pinch of saffron threads

1 teaspoon sugar, only if the tomatoes are not sweet

Salt to taste

To serve:

Lettuce (Optional)

Bread of choice, pita, Arab or Afghan flatbreads

1/2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime

A drizzle of EVOO

1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

To roast the tomatoes:

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and layer, in a single layer if possible, the mix on a lined baking sheet. Roast for about 25-40 minutes, till the tomatoes are soft and they are beginning to show slight signs of caramelization. Remove into a bowl collecting all the delicious juices from the pan.

To make the yogurt:

Add all ingredients to a small blender and purée to smooth. The author asks that you mix all the ingredients into the yogurt and hang it in a cheese cloth to get a thick yogurt, however, I am usually too lazy or in a hurry to do this step. I find the sauce is just as delicious as is. If you can find labneh, in any Mediterranean store, you can mix the ingredients into this thick yogurt and you should be set.

To serve:

I like to serve this with some lettuce for some crunch. Layer the lettuce leaves around a wide shallow bowl. Add the roasted tomatoes to the center and drizzle or add the formed labneh mix over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the slivered almonds and cilantro. Serve with bread on the side.

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