Reading: sauce tzatziki
Tzatziki! Tsaht-ZEE-kee! Otherwise known as that yogurt and cucumber sauce you love at Greek restaurants but worry about mispronouncing (hear the correct pronunciation here).
Tzatziki is made simply with yogurt, drained cucumber, olive oil, fresh herbs (usually mint or dill), garlic, lemon juice and salt. It’s a refreshing chilled sauce, dip or spread.
I traveled to Greece last fall and ordered tzatziki at every restaurant. I’m serious. I enjoyed tzatziki with every single meal, even breakfast. This recipe tastes just like authentic tzatziki.
I tend to associate tzatziki with Greek food, but you’ll find it served across the Mediterranean and Middle East, sometimes under different names or in slightly different forms.
Tzatziki is often served with grilled meats and gyros, but I can’t think of a grilled or roasted vegetable it wouldn’t play nicely with. You can also serve up some tzatziki with your next appetizer spread. Let’s make some already!
Uses for Tzatziki
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
- Corn on the cob
- Toasted pita wedges
- Crisp raw vegetables
- Cheese and crackers
- Zhoug or Shatta (Middle-Eastern hot sauces)
Falafel, Sandwiches and Salads
- Pita sandwiches (you could use it instead of the avocado in that recipe)
- Lentil salad
- Chickpea salad
My Tzatziki Technique
Fortunately, tzatziki is super easy to whip together. The only trick is to properly drain the cucumber before mixing it into the yogurt. Otherwise, cucumber waters down the sauce too much. Salting the grated cucumber and letting the excess moisture drip out takes a while.
Read more: Egg Stew (Nigerian Egg Sauce)
The easiest and most efficient way to get rid of the excess moisture is to lightly squeeze the grated cucumber over the sink. The only wait required in my recipe is to let the tzatziki rest for five minutes after you mix it all together, to let the flavors meld. At that point, you can serve it right away or chill it for later.
Tzatziki Nutrition & Yogurt Notes
Nutritionally speaking, tzatziki is a creamy but light sauce. You can dollop it generously on your food without adding a lot of calories (unlike, say, mayonnaise or ranch dressing). It’s made mostly with Greek yogurt and cucumber, after all.
I haven’t found a noticeable difference in texture whether I use whole-milk yogurt, low-fat or non-fat, so any of those will work. Traditional Greek tzatziki is made with strained goat or sheep’s yogurt, but it’s hard to find those here. The Greek yogurt sold here in the U.S. is strained yogurt (that’s why it’s thicker and higher in protein than regular yogurt), so I use that.
As always, please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I’m excited to hear how it turns out for you and how you serve it.