Can we ever have enough of appetizers in our party menu? I always lean towards making more appetizers than the main course. You nibble, sip, chat around and then come back for more snacks. It’s a good rhythm. This Fennel Roasted Strawberries with Labneh Crostini is one of those easy appetizers that you could serve at your holiday parties. The Labneh is creamy, mildly sweet from the strawberries. You spread it on tiny crusty bread slices and it’s turns into crostini.
Labneh is strained Greek yogurt and it is quite popular in Middle Eastern Cuisine. The texture is very much like cream cheese but it’s half the calories of cream cheese. It’s a perfect healthy treat. Topped with savory or sweet, it makes for a great dip or spread. I absolutely loved how gorgeous it turned out when drizzled with the roasted strawberries.
Have you ever tried roasting strawberries or any fruits with fennel seeds? I grew up enjoying the flavor of fennel seeds in several ways, sweet and savory. So, the flavor is not unusual for me and yet, every time when the aroma hits, it’s like a new discovery. I know this is not exactly the season for strawberries but I am lucky to have access to CA Strawberries, whenever I want. I created this fun treat in collaboration with CA Strawberries to create a healthy treat. Did you know that just eight strawberries a day benefits the whole body. It’s packed with vital nutrients and are versatile and can be used in sweet and savory dishes
When it comes to strawberries, we automatically tend to think of desserts. While these crostini have a hint of sweetness from the strawberries, it’s not a dessert for sure. I would suggest not spreading the labneh on the bread until its ready to serve, as it would turn the bread soggy. With the nuts, fresh mint and a drizzle of honey, every bite is quite a mouthful.
- 1 lb strawberries
- 2 cups greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon honey to drizzle
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped pistachio
- few fresh mint leaves
- baguette bread slices
- Fold the cheesecloth in half and layer it on a colander. Place the colander on the sink or a bigger bowl. Drop the Greek yogurt on the cheesecloth and tie the edge of the cheesecloth to drain out all the excess water from the yogurt. Leave the colander aside for 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 175 C
- Trim the top of the strawberries and the slice it in half or quarter. Layer it on a baking pan.
- Roughly crush the fennel seeds and sprinkle it evenly on the strawberries along with salt.
- Bake it for 15 minutes.
- The roasted strawberries can be made in advance and stored in an airtight glass jar in the refrigerator.
- To prepare the labneh dip/spread, untie the cheesecloth and put the labneh on a serving plate. Spread it on the plate and then, using the back of your spoon against the labneh, press it down lightly as you rotate the plate to create swirls. Spoon the roasted strawberries on top along with the juice. Don’t cover the labneh completely. Sprinkle the pistachio, drizzle honey and garnish with fresh mint.
- The bread slices could either be roasted using broiler in your oven or on a hot pan. Or, you could just grill the bread slices.