Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

Smashed Figs with Labneh, Walnuts and Sumac | Simple Provisions

12 weeks ago my previous existence was thrown up into the air with the birth of baby Nell, and it’s now slowly resettling in a different configuration. My hair (and the rest of me, to be honest) doesn’t get washed as often, I now go down the baby aisle of the supermarket and my approach to cooking has simplified even further.

When time and available hands are restricted, good quality ingredients and big flavours come to the fore. I find myself buying interesting or strong flavoured ingredients to base a meal around, using pantry staples, frozen homemade stock and home-grown tomatoes, lettuce and herbs to fill it out. Halloumi and feta make simple salads more flavoursome, and having a bowl of cooked grains like quinoa, cous cous or freekeh in the fridge means the start of a meal is already done.

Using the produce of the season will help a simple meal pack a flavour punch. Fig trees are currently heavy with fruit, and I’m not one to miss an opportunity to relish the soft, deep purple and crimson sweetness on offer.

It’s the time of year when Summer is hiccuping out the door as Autumn stumbles in. Both seasons exist at once, with chilly mornings developing into glorious sunshine and days flip flop between warming soup or cooling salad weather. What better way to bridge the seasons than a salad full of earthy flavours and autumnal delights.

This middle eastern inspired salad requires no cooking, and barely any assembly. It combines the sweetness and texture of figs with a creamy smear of labneh, the woody crunch of walnuts and the zesty appeal of lemony sumac.

It would make a lovely starter, or a light lunch, especially if you added a bit of prosciutto. I use labneh as the base, as I’m a fan (see how to make it here, and turn it into a healthy dessert here), but you could use greek yoghurt or goats curd just as well. If you can’t find sumac in the herbs and spices section of your local store, then lemon zest and salt can be substituted in. And while we’re at it, pistachios could replace walnuts if you didn’t have any on hand.


Thank you to the wonderful guest bloggers, Saskia, Jonny and Ali, Sam, Louisa and Zoe,  who provided gorgeous recipes, words and photos to keep things ticking along while I was getting to grips with motherhood. I am very grateful! Also thank you for all the well wishes on the birth of Nell. She’s turned life on its head in the most wonderful way. It’s good to be back!

Smashed Figs with Labneh, Walnuts and Sumac


Smashed Figs with Labneh, Walnuts and Sumac

Ingredients (per person):

  • 1 ½ – 2 figs
  • 1 generous tablespoon labneh (or greek yoghurt or goat curd)
  • Half a handful of toasted walnuts (or pistachios)
  • A big pinch of sumac (or lemon zest and salt)
  • A good glug of quality olive oil


Smear the labneh on a plate in a nice circle. Cut figs in half and pinch the skin-side to push forward the gorgeous inner fruit. Smash some halves to form the base and lay the prettier looking halves on top. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the plate, followed by the sumac and then drizzle the lot with olive oil.

Serve as a starter, or add some prosciutto to make it stretch to a light lunch.


45 thoughts on “Smashed Figs with Labneh, Walnuts and Sumac

  1. Congratulations, Amelia! Having a baby does change things….. One is discovering quick and easy meals…. I love this simple recipe.

    1. Amelia says:

      It changed all the things Aruna! I’m glad you like the recipe.

  2. aliradloff says:

    This looks so delicious Amelia! Some of my favourite foods all on one plate. I can’t believe that Nell is already three months old – we’ll have to drop by soon to see you, and have some cuddles!

    1. Amelia says:

      Yes! When you two are not off jet setting we’d love to have you visit x

  3. Hagen Reedy says:

    Congratulations! This is beautiful!!

    1. Amelia says:

      Thank you Hagen!

  4. Lisa says:

    Looks delicious! I wish I could find fresh figs where I live. So beautiful!

    1. Amelia says:

      Fresh figs are beautiful Lisa.

  5. This is lovely. I’m half Middle Eastern and this reminds me of my grandmother’s cooking. I just tweeted it. Such beautiful photos too!

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks so much for sharing it Jill

  6. Stunning plate of food! The figs look so lovely. I don’t have any kids but even my life often gets in the way of blogging. I try my best not to feel any guilt. It’s not worth it.

    1. Amelia says:

      I second the vote for no guilt about lack of blogging!

  7. Anita Menon says:

    You are absolutely sorted with your quick nutritious meal planning. I wish I was this sorted when I was having mine. We love labneh and use it as a spread. A salad idea like yours sounds just perfect

    1. Amelia says:

      I love labneh as a spread too Anita!

  8. Mika says:

    Yum! Figs have started popping up in markets around Johannesburg and this is the perfect excuse to finally learn how to make labneh. Thanks for the recipe :)

    1. Amelia says:

      You’re welcome Mika!

  9. Baby-coos, baby sweet breath, baby smile…all these special moments make up for a mother’s sleepless nights. Congratulation and enjoy your special time with Baby Nell. I am glad you have some time to post. This recipes looks delicious. I love all thing figs. Yogurt, figs, and walnuts- yum! (I wish I have a fig tree too!)

    1. Amelia says:

      Thank you Tina!

  10. I love the little sprinkle of sumac here, would never have thought to use it in a ‘sweet’ dish, can’t wait to give it a try. Oh, and a huge congratulations on the birth of your child. Glad to hear you’re coping well with the big change. X

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks so much!

  11. Figs are my favorite fruit…. :)

  12. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Welcome back Amelia! This looks creamy, nutty and fabulous. I have a good amount of sumac left over from making a massive batch of Za’atar and have been wondering what to do with it. You’ve inspired me to have a good sprinkle! Lovely inviting photos, as always. It won’t be long before chubby little fingers will be reaching in for a handful of your creations.

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks Saskia. I use sumac on white beans fried with onion and leeks with crumbled feta on top. Nice quick meal and the sumac gives it a good lift.

  13. annmahnet says:

    Congratulations and welcome back, Amelia! Ach, those little people, they sure change things, don’t they? I’m just coming out of a spate of winter weekends spent in whirlwind cooking sessions — it’s so helpful to have a stocked freezer! :) Can’t wait for fig season to try this luscious simple recipe.

    1. Amelia says:

      They sure do Ann! I’ve just polished off the last of the frozen meals friends and family stocked us up with, so I need to get batch cooking this weekend. What did you cook?

  14. Welcome back and above all congratulations! your recipe looks really yummy and I’m sure good quality of food is the best choice, even when you don’t have so many time to spend cooking!

  15. Congrats on the new little one!

    This is such a simple plate, but wow, lots of flavors going on there. Love it!

  16. That looks outstanding!

  17. Congrats on the new baby. Great simple recipe! Is there a big difference in flavor between labneh and greek yogurt?

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks! There is more a difference in texture than taste between labneh and Greek yoghurt. Labneh still has the tang of yoghurt but has the consistency of cream cheese.

  18. What a beautiful autumn dish! Figs are beautiful in the Adelaide Hills this year, despite a punishing summer, so I’ll look forward to trying out your recipe. Your photos make those figs look so inviting!

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks Sam. I’m sure a nice glass of wine from South Australia would accompany this well ;)

  19. Your recipe sounds like summer! Makes me look forward to warmer weather and eating outside! I hope you enjoy every minute with your little one – the time goes by all too quickly. Congratulations also!

    1. Amelia says:

      You’re right, it’s already going quick!

  20. Congratulations and welcome back! These figs are simply gorgeous! I hate that I have to wait until September to have some!

  21. laurasmess says:

    Congratulations on the new addition of Nell to the family! What a gorgeous name… I love it. Thinking of you in this time of sleep deprivation and adjustment! Anyway, back to this beautiful simple dish. LOVE everything about it… it perfectly embodies what I have always associated with this blog. Fantastic fresh, unadulterated, respected ingredients that combine together perfectly to create something spectacular :) Wonderful photos too Amelia! xxx

    1. Amelia says:

      Thank you so much Laura for those really sweet words! We’re settling in well. x

  22. elamb says:

    I have no idea how I missed this… but it looks absolutely fantastic! Those are some grate flavours you have put together.Bookmarking this for when figs come back into season :)

    1. Amelia says:

      Thanks! I’m also now waiting for the next fig season.

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