Let’s Talk Tzatziki

By brett collins

tzatziki sauce in a bowl with pita chips

A light, refreshing, versatile dip

Tzatziki is a very popular Greek yogurt condiment. In this Tzatziki recipe, I use a thick, probiotic rich, Greek strained yogurt that delivers a thick, creamy texture. Fresh, grated cucumber is then added to the yogurt, along with lemon juice, garlic, and fresh herbs. The result is a delicious, healthy, cucumber sauce that is incredibly versatile.

For the love of lamb
These lamb chops are seasoned simply with fresh garlic, salt and classic herbs then grilled to perfection.

Tzatziki is so versatile that it is served alongside everything from raw vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms and carrots, to savory meat dishes such as grilled chicken and lamb. It’s uses and application don’t stop there. It’s also widely used as a spread on sandwiches, and frequently found on mediterranean style platters accompanying pita bread, olives, feta, and stuffed grape leaves.

This delightful yogurt dip can be found on the shleves in most grocery stores, but none of them taste as good as home made, especially in summer when cucumbers are abundant and at the peak of their flavor.

The secret to Tzatziki success

tzatziki dip
Although thick & creamy, Tzatziki is actually low in calories and sugar, and loaded with probiotics. It’s a great snack for those on a Keto diet and anyone who is Gluten-free.

The trick to making Tzatziki is getting the texture nice and thick. Cucumbers are full of water and when using salt, the salt will pull even more moisture out. Yogurt varieties also differ in thickness, and using one that has excess liquid can contribute to a watery dip. But it’s very easy to avoid watery dip. Here’s how:

  1. Select & Strain the yogurt. Don’t use anything less than 2% milk fat. Open the yogurt before you get started and if you notice excess liquid, drain it using a fine mesh sieve, lined with cheesecloth, set over a large bowl. Let it drain in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight, until significantly thickened.
  2. Shred & squeeze the Cucumbers. Use the large holes on a box grater to shred the cucumber. Then get rid of the moisture. There are several ways to squeeze excess water out of vegetables such as shredded cucumber. You can roll them into a clean tea towel and twist to squeeze out the excess water. You can use paper towels. Or you can use a nut milk bag, which is my preferred method.

Kitchen Tip

When needing to squeeze out excess moisture from vegetables such as frozen spinach or shredded cucumbers, use a nut milk bag. They are reusable, the least messy, and the most effective of any method I have tried.

Simply load up the mesh style bag and squeeze. Watch the excess water flow out. You will be amazed at how well this trick works! Nut Milk bags are sold on Amazon (what isn’t?), Whole Foods, & culinary supply stores. (Game changer for making spinach dip!)

How to make Tzatziki

Tzatziki Sauce in a bowl with pita chips

Tzatziki

Tzatziki is a very popular Greek yogurt condiment. It is made using thick, probiotic rich Greek strained yogurt to ensure a thick, creamy texture. Fresh, grated cucumber is then added to the yogurt along with lemon juice, garlic, and fresh herbs. Serve with pita, raw vetables, on sandwiches and alongside grilled meats, such as lamb chops.
Prep Time 15 mins
Course condiment
Cuisine Greek, Mediterranean
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 -3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • drizzle extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Open the Greek yogurt. If it is wet with excess liquid, drain it using a fine mesh seive lined with cheesecloth set over a large bowl. Let it drain in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes, or until significantly thickened.
  • Grate the cucumber on the large holes of your box grater.
  • Squeeze the excess liquid of the cucumber using a tea towel to squeeze liquid or multiple sheets of paper towel. (I use milk nut bags to drain things like cucumber or spinach.) Ensure as much moisture as possible has been removed without severly overworking the shredded cucumber.
  • Transfer the squeezed cucumber to a cutting board and give it a rough chop.
  • Transfer the cucumber to a serving bowl.
  • Mix the yogurt, herbs, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Taste and add additional seasoning as needed.
  • Before serving drizzle with olive oil. Leftover tzatziki keeps well, chilled, for about 4 days.
  • If not serving immediatly, store in a mason jar or other air tight container and refridgerate for 1-3 days. Drain off any excess liquid before serving.

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