Za’atar Sweet Potato Fries with Brown Butter Labneh


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The start of a new year typically brings about a desire to make healthier eating choices. For some reason, my January has been focused on eating fries. Like not just one indulgent occasion, but enough to say that I’ve had some type of fry at least every other day in 2019. And while eating more fries wasn’t my resolution (though it’s a solid backup), it did help inspire this recipe to take the classic crispy spud and give it a makeover.

Sweet potatoes are sliced up and baked until golden with a healthy sprinkling of za’atar for a *kiss* of Middle Eastern flavor. This spice blend has truly become my go-to seasoning. Made up of oregano, thyme, sumac and sesame seeds, it’s equal parts herbaceous, tangy and nutty, making it good on just about any protein or veggie. Needless to say, our team of editors found the same passion for fries that I have been experiencing at first bite. And while most spice shops and specialty grocery stores sell a blend, if you can’t get your hands on it, feel free to substitute it for 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, dried thyme and sesame seeds.

Now, let’s talk about this dip. I’m not going to lie to you, this brown butter labneh is going to change your life, increase your credit score and give you better vision. If you’re unfamiliar with labneh, it’s Greek yogurt’s more talented sibling. The reason? More of the whey is strained for a richer, creamier yogurt that lends to a decadent dip. And, with only a few things you probably have in your kitchen, you can make it! Head here for a tutorial that will have you preaching the glory of labneh to all of your loved ones in no time! In this recipe, brown butter (FYI, head here for a video to show you two quick and easy ways to make it), honey and lemon zest gets stirred in for extra richness and a hint of zing. It’s inspired by an appetizer at one of my favorite Middle Eastern restaurants in Brooklyn, Miss Ada. They serve a bowl of whipped ricotta drizzled with brown butter and honey that’s as simple as it is perfect. This accoutrement is just as flawless, leaning on that less-is-more mantra. But don’t just reserve it for your fries. Add it to your next crudite board or use it as a spread for sandwiches and you’ll see just how versatile this labneh creation can be.

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  • Recipe Card
Prep time 10mins
Cook time 35mins
Serves or Makes: 4

Recipe Card


  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch wide batons
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup labneh
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon, zested


  • Step 1

    Make the fries: Preheat oven to 450°F. On a sheet pan, toss sweet potatoes with oil, za’atar, salt and pepper until well coated.

  • Step 2

    Roast, tossing halfway through, until golden and crisp, 40-45 minutes.

  • Step 3

    While the fries are roasting, make the brown butter labneh: In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until brown in appearance and nutty in aroma, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons in a separate bowl for garnish.

  • Step 4

    To the brown butter, whisk in the labneh, honey, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Scoop into a serving bowl and drizzle with the reserved 2 tablespoons brown butter.

  • Step 5

    Transfer fries to a platter and serve with brown butter labneh.