These Middle Eastern inspired Deviled Eggs are mayo-free, tangy and filled with unexpected flavor with labneh, za’atar, sumac and dressed with pickled turnips.
I love deviled eggs as many Americans do, especially around holidays. I thought I’d jazz up a traditional deviled egg recipe and add some new flavors while also making it a bit healthier with the use of yogurt in place of mayo.
Ingredients for Yogurt Deviled Eggs
Simple ingredients for this fun appetizer, if you’re already subscribed to my newsletter you have a Middle Eastern Pantry Staple guide and all these spices are listed there for you. If not, don’t miss out – sign up and get a download free!
- Labneh – Labneh is our staple yogurt in Arab households. It’s tangy and thick, very similar to Greek yogurt but tends to be slightly thicker and often tangier in flavor. You can purchase labneh at most middle eastern grocery stores, make your own or simply sub for Greek yogurt in the recipe.
- Za’atar – Za’atar is a blended spice which includes a particular strain of oregano/thyme grown in Arab countries, it’s then mixed with toasted sesame seeds, sumac and salt to create an incredible blended spice. You can purchase online or at a middle eastern grocery store. If I purchase pre-mixed I will also enhance but adding additional sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt to enhance the tanginess. You can check out this video for more on the spice.
- Sumac – Sumac is a lemony spice that is found in za’atar but can be used on it’s own in many dishes. It’s fragrant and bright. You can also find this spice online or in a middle eastern grocery store. Here is more information about the sumac spice.
- Pickled turnips – Common in Arab cooking, you can also find these jarred or sub in a pickle or any pickled veggie to top. Check out my friend Mai’s recipe for pickled turnips.
See recipe card for quantities.
Making deviled eggs is so simple and yield such a lovely presentation. Simply hard boiling eggs and removing the yolks is the hardest part. I am partial to steaming the eggs to get the perfect yellow yolk but you can use whatever method works best for you. Here is a great guide to help you find the best method, including Instant Pot cooking.
- Begin by preparing your hard boiled eggs. My favorite method is steaming the eggs. Simply place a pot of water with a steamer basket and allow to come to a boil. Once boiling, place your eggs gently into the basket. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and steam for 15 minutes.
- Remove eggs from pot and place in an ice bath to cool down quickly.
- Once eggs are cooled, begin peeling individually. Peeling in the water is helpful and ensures they peel completely.
- Once your have your eggs entirely peeled, cut each egg in half lengthwise and place yolks in a bowl.
- With a fork or potato masher, break up your egg yolks until fully broken apart.
- Add in your labneh, za’atar, sumac, salt and pepper.
- Mix until fully combined and smooth.
- Place your filling into a piping bag or simply fill into a quart or gallon Ziplock bag and cut one corner to create an opening. Pipe filling into each egg half.
- Finally, top with chopped scallions and a pickled turnip. Serve chilled.
Hint: Begin with the least amount of labneh/yogurt and add gradually to create the right consistency.
I love this recipe so much because it doesn’t use traditional mayonnaise which can often be heavy and overpowering. Here are a few substitutions if you can’t locate some of the ingredients.
- Labneh– Use Greek yogurt or simply plain yogurt in it’s place.
- Sumac– Sumac is already blended into the za’atar mixture but I like to add a bit extra for tang. You can add in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard or a squeeze of half of lemon to replace.
- Pickled Turnip (lifit)– I like a bit of that pickled veggie crunch on top for flavor and decoration, but you can certainly top with a pickle, pickled cauliflower, carrot or whatever you have on hand – even a jalapeño!
Feel free to vary the recipe to suit your needs! Here are a few suggestions.
- Spicy – Add some diced jalapeños into your mixture to give it a little heat. Or add in some Aleppo pepper for a more mild kick, similar to a paprika.
- Herby – I love the addition of fresh herbs in the yolk mixture, try chopping some fresh oregano to enhance the za’atar flavor.
- Pickled Eggs – Even more zing? Try pickling your eggs before deviling them for an extra pop of flavor.
This recipe can’t be simpler in terms of equipment, a pot, steamer basket, a bowl, Ziplock bag or piping bag if you want to get fancy. I often like to cook my eggs in the Instant Pot which is a fabulous kitchen tool but totally not necessary.
How to Store Deviled Eggs
These eggs should be stored in the fridge and best up to 5 days. Do not freeze!
Check your consistency of your mixture, add a little more or less yogurt to get the right texture. Depending on the texture of the yogurt you use, it may need a little more or less. Start with less and add as needed.
Absolutely! I actually recommend making them the day before and garnishing before serving. The flavors meld together quite nicely after refrigerating.
I do find the steaming method I share above to help with this. Also, peel your eggs under cold water or in a bowl of cold water. The trick is to really get under that membrane and then the rest should come off easily.
They are not – deviled eggs are made from hard boiled eggs. Deviled eggs are hard boiled eggs with yolks removed, seasoned then placed back into the cooked white part of the egg. They are more like a fancy one bite egg salad.
Yes, the eggs should be cooled down after cooking to make your filling. You can prep the day before if you need, cooking the eggs, the separating or just plan for a quick cool down as indicated in the recipe.
Sure, you can whiz your filing in the food processor or blender for an ultra smooth mixture. I find that a fork or potato masher works quite well and once you add your labneh/yogurt it gets smooth quick.
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Other Recipes to Try
Batata wa Bayd – Lebanese Potatoes and Eggs
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
These deviled eggs are a variation on tradition – filled with Lebanese spices, za’atar, sumac and mixed with tangy labneh – you won’t miss the mayo, I promise!
- 12 large eggs
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup labneh, Greek yogurt or plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon sumac spice
- 1 Tablespoon za’atar spice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt*
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- scallions, chopped
- pickled turnip, sliced
- Begin by cooking your eggs, my favorite method is steaming. Simply place a medium sized pot on the stove, add water and insert a basket steamer. Once the water comes to a boil, place your eggs gently into basket steamer, lower heat to a simmer, cover and steam for 15 minutes.
- Once eggs are done, place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and cool down quickly. I leave them in for about 10 minutes to ensure they are cool enough to handle and add ingredients.
- Peel your eggs, the easiest way to peel the eggs is right in the water. You want to ensure that the membrane is loosened to get the peel fully off.
- Once peeled, cut each egg in half lengthwise. This will expose the yolk.
- Remove each half of the yolk and place into a small bowl.
- Using a fork or potato masher, break up your egg yolks until smooth and crumbly.
- Add in your spices: za’atar, sumac, salt and pepper as well as your labneh. Begin with 1/2 cup and add an additional 1/4 cup as needed to create a smooth and creamy texture. If you are using labneh or Greek yogurt, you will likely need all 3/4 cup. If using plain yogurt (not thick) 1/2 cup may be sufficient. Adjust as needed.
- Mix your yolk mixture until smooth and creamy.
- You can simply spoon this mixture onto your egg white halves or fill a quart or gallon ziplock bag with your filling, cut one corner and pipe into each egg for a more uniform look.
- Top each egg with chopped scallions or chives as well as a small piece of pickled turnip (or other pickled veggie).
- Sprinkle with additional za’atar spice, chill and enjoy.
- If using table salt, half your measurement
- If you can’t locate sumac, substitute Dijon mustard or the juice of half a lemon
- Labneh and Greek yogurt will be thicker and require more for the filling (3/4 cup), if using plain yogurt, begin with 1/2 cup and add more if needed. The mixture should be smooth and creamy.
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