Looking for a creamy, healthy dip for raw veggies or as a sauce for grilled meats, fish and seafood? Look no further than this homemade tzatziki sauce. The creamy comes from Greek yogurt and the garden freshness from dill, mint and grated cucumber. Tzatziki lasts 3-4 days in the refrigerator so you can make it ahead of time. It's a perfect summertime addition to your menu.
What is Tzatziki?
Tzatziki is a versatile sauce of yogurt, herbs, cucumber, olive oil, lemon and garlic. It's light, refreshing and tangy. I always think of Tzatziki as Greek, but it's found in the Mediterranean cuisines of Southeast Europe and the Middle East. Thyme and parsley are also used in Tzatziki. I love making it in summer because I have all of the herbs growing in my garden.
How to Make Homemade Tzatziki Sauce: Ingredients
With a container of plain Greek yogurt, some fresh herbs, garlic and lemon juice you can put tzatziki together in no time. When choosing yogurt, go Greek. It's richer and thicker due to a straining process, and higher in protein. Be sure to buy plain only for Tzatziki; no flavors.
If all you can find is no or low fat yogurt, try adding an extra tablespoon of olive oil for richness. Make it with 1 tablespoon then taste it. If your store carries whole milk Greek yogurt, buy that.
To keep tzatziki rich and creamy, drain excess moisture from the cucumber. Use the small, crisp Persian cucumbers for Tzatziki. If all you can get is English or field cucumbers, slice them into quarters lengthwise and slice out the seeds, then grate. Grate cucumbers onto folded paper towels and squeeze out the moisture, then add to the bowl with the yogurt and herbs.
When chopping fresh herbs, be sure they are clean and very dry. Dry herbs chop easier and don't turn into mush. To dry after cleaning, wrap in paper towels and pat out moisture, then allow to dry on the counter. You can also spin them dry in a salad spinner. Here's the one I use.
How to Use Tzatziki Sauce
Traditionally it's served with grilled meats, so try it alongside grilled chicken, beef or lamb kabobs.I love it with fish and shrimp too. But that's not all. Tzatziki is delicious and versatile. Serve it as a dip served with raw veggies like carrots, cucumber "chips", sweet bell peppers, even with endive leaves used as scoopers. Another option is gluten-free flatbread or if you're not GF, get some pita bread.
Homemade Greek Tzatziki
- 2 5-6 ounce plain whole Greek yogurt containers
- 2 mini or Persian cucumbers or half an English, seeded
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint optional
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove finely chopped and smeared into a paste
- 2 pinches sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Scoop the yogurt into a medium bowl. With a fine handheld grater, grate the cucumbers onto several layers of paper towels. Wring the cucumbers dry over the sink. Add to the yogurt and stir, then stir in the dill, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate if serving at a later time. Tzatziki will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator.