Spring and summer wouldn’t be complete without the cool and creamy wonderfulness that is tzatziki (tzah-TZEE-kee). Forget ketchup and ranch dressing, it’s time to move on!
If you ever travel to Greece, you will find that tzatziki is ubiquitous throughout the country. There may be some variations in terms of seasonings, but all versions have a base of creamy Greek yogurt, and most will include fresh cucumber and garlic. No matter what, tzatziki is the perfect compliment for so many foods, as well as being a tasty dip for veggies and wedges of pita bread.
Traditionally, tzatziki is served alongside grilled and roasted meats like souvlaki and lamb, as well as with grilled or fried vegetables. The garlic and herbs add a burst of flavor, and the coolness of the cucumber and the yogurt are the perfect touch for hot weather. Best yet, tzatziki is a really healthy side dish, too!
Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt & Cucumber Sauce) Recipe
- 1 pint (2 cups) Greek yogurt (do not use “Greek-style” yogurt that contains pectin or other thickeners, it should only have milk and live cultures for the proper consistency. If you can’t find Greek yogurt, follow the directions in my Greek yogurt recipe for straining regular, plain yogurt.)
- 1 large cucumber, any variety, about 3/4 pound
- 1/2 tsp. dried dill, or 1 packed tsp. finely chopped fresh dill
- 2-3 tsp. minced garlic (you may want to start with the lower amount and add more if you feel you want a more garlicy punch)
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
Peel and shred the cucumber. This is easily done with a food processor, but a regular hand-held grater will also do the job. You will want to do this over a bowl that can catch the juices.
Put the grated cucumber in a fine mesh strainer over a container and squeeze the juice out of it. You can do this by picking up a small handful of the cucumber and squeezing it between your hands. Put the cucumber into a bowl, and set aside the juices.
Add the yogurt to the cucumber, and add all the remaining ingredients except for the salt. Stir it all together until completely combined. Add salt as desired. If the consistency of your tzatziki is too thick for your preference, stir in a little bit of the cucumber juice until it reaches your desired thickness. The sauce is supposed to be thick, so don’t be too eager to make it thin. Any leftover cucumber juice tastes really good chilled, so drink it up!
Allow the tzatziki to chill and have the flavors blend. After at least an hour, you can taste it to see if you want to add any more seasonings or salt. Tzatziki lasts for a long time if properly refrigerated, assuming you don’t eat it all first!