Grilled Carrots & Leeks with Labneh

published Sep 24, 2022
Grilled Carrots and Leeks with Labneh Recipe

Ease into autumn with carrots grilled to caramelized smokiness then propped on a bed of creamy labneh with a shower of fresh herbs.

Serves4 to 6

Prep15 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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grilled yellow and orange carrots on a plate of labneh with herbs
Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

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As summer winds down into autumn, something wonderful happens: The sweltering August heat begins to subside enough to consider, once again, eating outdoors. At the same time, high summer produce begins to give way to fall favorites, including root vegetables like carrots, beets, and turnips.

While leeks are considered a spring vegetable, I can easily find them year-round in the grocery store, and I love pairing them with early fall produce — especially carrots. The grassy, onion-y flavor of the leeks is a perfect complement to the carrots’ sweetness. Here, I throw both on the grill, letting them develop a caramelized smokiness, then serve them on a bed of labneh with a shower of fresh herbs.

Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

What Is Labneh?

Labneh is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine that’s made by straining yogurt for a day or two until it achieves a thick, spreadable consistency. It’s often served as a dip, swirled with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs and spices, but I also love it for sandwiches and çılbır, Turkish-style poached eggs. Look for labneh at Mediterranean markets, or make your own. If you’re making labneh for this recipe, consider doubling it so you have some on hand for other applications. You can store the surplus in a deli container for up to three weeks in the fridge.

If You’re Going to Grill Carrots, a Couple Tips

  • Don’t rush the vegetables on the grill. You want to coax deep flavor from the carrots and leeks, so make sure to give them plenty of time on the grill. This recipe calls for 15 minutes on the grill, but test the vegetables to make sure they’re tender first before plating. If not, let them hang out on the grill for a while longer.
  • Grill the vegetables first. When I’m grilling for a crowd, I like to start the vegetables first because there’s more flexibility in their cooking time compared to meat. I can give them a few extra minutes, or pull them earlier while I devote my attention to the rest of the grill.

Grilled Carrots and Leeks with Labneh Recipe

Ease into autumn with carrots grilled to caramelized smokiness then propped on a bed of creamy labneh with a shower of fresh herbs.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the labneh:

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 2 cups

    plain whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

For the vegetables:

  • 1 pound

    carrots, preferably thin

  • 4

    large leeks

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 3 to 4

    fresh dill sprigs

  • Aleppo chile flakes, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Make the labneh:

  1. Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a clean, lint-free kitchen towel and place over a bowl.

  2. Juice 1/2 medium lemon into a small bowl until you have 2 teaspoons. Add 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and stir to combine. Transfer to the strainer. Refrigerate uncovered at least overnight or up to 2 days. The longer you strain it, the thicker the labneh will be.

Make the vegetables:

  1. Heat and outdoor grill for medium-high, direct heat. Meanwhile, peel 1 pound carrots and trim the stem ends. Trim the root end and the dark green tops from 4 large leeks so only the white and lightest green parts remain (save the tops for stock), and remove the outer leaves. Halve the leeks lengthwise. Place in a bowl of water. Working with 1 leek at a time, use your hands to ruffle the layers of the leeks in the bowl of water to remove any sediment. Lift the leeks out of the water and dry on a kitchen towel.

  2. Place the carrots and leeks on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, season with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and toss to coat. Cut 1/2 medium lemon into 4 wedges.

  3. When the grill is ready, scrub the grill grates clean if needed. Place the carrots and leeks cut-side down on the grill grates. Cover and grill undisturbed until grill marks form on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes.

  4. Flip the carrots and leeks. Place the lemon wedges cut-side down on the grill. Grill uncovered until the carrots and leeks are fork tender, about 5 minutes more for the leeks and lemons and 9 to 10 minutes for the carrots. Meanwhile, pick the leaves from 3 to 4 fresh dill sprigs until you have 1 tablespoon and coarsely chop.

  5. Spread the labneh on a serving platter, and arrange the grilled carrots and leeks on top. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge over the top and garnish with the dill. Sprinkle with Aleppo chile flakes if desired and serve with the remaining lemon wedges.

Recipe Notes

Herb substitutions: Instead of dill, any fresh, green herbs can be used as garnish. Parsley, chives, and basil all work well with these flavors.

Make ahead: The labneh can be made up to 1 week in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Stovetop: To prepare on the stove, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and follow the grilling instructions.

Roasting: To prepare in the oven, place the carrots and leeks on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 400ºF until fork tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.