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Summer has filled her veins with light and her heart is washed with noon. ~C. Day Lewis
In Greek, Tzatziki means “that which you dip bread into.” Tzatziki, (pronounced tuh·zee·kee) is a classic Greek cucumber yogurt sauce that is easy to make at home. And if I had to pick one dip or sauce that I make the most, it would probably be this. It is cool, refreshing and healthy and the flavors go with so many things! For dinner, Tzatziki becomes a delicious topping for grilled salmon or kabobs. At lunch, it becomes a spread for sandwiches or wraps. And during the summer months, when cucumbers are aplenty, we make this Tzatziki recipe weekly and have it on hand, often with hummus, or baba ganoush as a quick snack or dip, along with veggies and pita bread.
How to make Tzatziki | 45-sec Video
Tzatziki SAuce IngredientS
- Cucumbers – Thin-skinned cucumbers are nice here- no need to peel! English cucumbers, Turkish cucumbers, Persian Cucumbers.
- Yogurt- Thick Greek yogurt or strained yogurt (Goat or sheep’s milk yogurt is especially nice here) To keep this lower in fat and calories, you can use a low-fat yogurt.
- Garlic – grate cloves of garlic for a little punchy bite!
- Olive oil – to add a little richness to the Greek tzatziki sauce!
- Herbs- Fresh dill and fresh mint are lovely here (or a combo of both is nice). You can use dry dill in a pinch. Some people prefer dill, some people prefer mint. I like both! Depending on your tastes, all of these options are just fine. No rules here, it is all about preference. Do what makes your taste buds happy. 😉
- Lemon– a squeeze of lemon adds a little brightness.
Homemade Tzatziki Sauce (STEP-BY-STEP Instructions)
This tzatziki sauce recipe is a classic Greek version, where we salt and grate the cucumbers. This little extra step, only takes a few minutes, but makes a world of difference here! I highly recommend it!
Step one: Grate the cucumber. If using thin-skinned cucumbers, like English Cucumbers, Persian or Turkish Cucumbers, leave the skin on. If using a waxy, thick-skinned cucumber, peel, and scoop out seeds if large. You’ll need two cups of grated cucumber which translates to about one medium English cucumber, or 3-4 Turkish cucumbers. Grate by hand,( quick and easy) or use a food processor with the grater attachment, which I find is more trouble than it is worth unless you make large quantities like we do when catering.
Step two: salt the cucumber. Mix the cucumber with salt to help it release its liquid, and then place it in a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl. It will drain off much liquid. Let this stand 10-15 minutes, while you whip up the remaining ingredients. Squeeze out the excess moisture by pressing down.
Step three: Make the yogurt sauce. In a medium bowl, add 1 cup of thick Greek yogurt. Here I’m using full-fat, extra-thick Greek yogurt. I really love using sheep or goat milk yogurt (very authentic) here. If you don’t have thick yogurt, you should strain the yogurt through a thin kitchen towel to thicken, or use part labneh, sour cream or creme fraiche. Thick vegan yogurt will work well here too.
Stir in fresh chopped dill or fresh mint, or a combination of both. Add one to two cloves garlic, that has been finely minced or grated. You can always add more to taste but perhaps start with one.
Step four: Stir in the cucumber. By now the grated cucumber will have released its beautiful liquid. Two cups will have reduced to one cup. Press down on the cucumber to further release its liquid through the strainer. Then add the grated cucumber to the bowl and give a good stir.
Step five: Season! At this point taste and season with salt and pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Because yogurt has such varying degrees of tang and sourness, I don’t like to dictate how much lemon juice to use. Sometimes I’ll use just a little squeeze, like a teaspoon or two, sometimes more, sometimes none at all. So taste and determine.
How to store Tzatziki
Tzatziki will keep up to 5 days in an air-tight container in your refrigerator. Feel free to make this up to 1 day ahead for an event.
Is tzatziki healthy?
Tzatziki is chock full of beneficial probiotics from yogurt which supports our microbiome. It’s low in carbs, and low in calories. Fresh garlic is good for the immune system – so yes, we think tzatziki is healthy.
Tzatziki Serving Suggestions
Tzatziki pairs well with many dishes you’re already making. Serve tzatziki with:
- Create a mezze platter with Hummus, Baba Ganoush, fresh veggies, olives, pita, etc.
- Serve with these Zucchini Fritters!
- Use as a sandwich spread for Gyros, pita sandwiches, Falafel Pitas , and wraps
- Use as a Greek yogurt sauce for Greek Chicken or Greek Salmon bowls
- Serve with a selection of salads! Classic Greek Salad, Tabouli and Israeli salad
- Serve tzatziki as a quick snack with Pita Bread, or pita chips and fresh vegetables.
- Use in bowls: Falafel Bowls,Grilled Salmon Tzatziki Bowls
- Serve with these Greek Lamb Tacos
Give this delicious, cooling Tzatziki Sauce a try this week and be sure to let us know what you think! It brings me back to some of my favorite Greek restaurants in the beautiful islands of Greece. For a colorful twist, try this Beet Tzatziki!
How to make the BEST Tzatziki Sauce! An easy, healthy, Greek cucumber-yogurt sauce to use in mezze platters, wraps, gyros, or as a simple dip for pita, or as a delightful side to Mediterranean dishes. This SIMPLE recipe can be made in 15 minutes!
- 1 English Cucumber ( or 3–4 Turkish cucumbers), two cups grated (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Greek yogurt ( thick, whole milk, full fat) or sub vegan yogurt or thick low fat yogurt.
- 1 fat garlic clove, finely minced (use a garlic press)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or mint (or a combo of both)
- a squeeze of lemon to taste
- drizzle of olive oil
- If using thin-skinned cucumbers, there is no need to peel. Grate the cucumbers using a box grater, and place in a fine mesh strainer. Toss with the salt and place the strainer over a bowl and let sit 10-15 minutes to allow cucumbers to release their liquid, while you prep the remaining ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, garlic and fresh herbs.
- Pressing down with your fingers, remove any more liquid from the cucumber that you can. You will end up with one cup of cucumber. Fold the strained cucumber into the yogurt mixture.
- Taste, adding lemon juice if you like) to taste. Yogurt can vary in tartness, to adding lemon to taste is important. Season with pepper and more salt if needed. If you want more richness, stir in a drizzle of olive oil. You can also drizzle olive oil over the top in a circular motion right before serving.
- Garnish with fresh herbs and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Tzatziki will keep 4-5 days in the fridge and can be made one day ahead before an event.
If using thick-skinned, waxy cucumbers, make sure to peel. Sometimes waxy cucumbers also have large seeds, feel free to remove them.
If using non-fat or low-fat yogurt stir in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. I really don’t recommend non-fat yogurt here, but you do you. 😉
***This works with vegan yogurt.
In a pinch, dry dill or dry mint will work- not quite as good, but better than nothing!
- Serving Size: ¼ cup
- Calories: 39
- Sugar: 1.9 g
- Sodium: 158.5 mg
- Fat: 1.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 2.6 g
- Fiber: 0.2 g
- Protein: 3.4 g
- Cholesterol: 4.6 mg
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