RECIPE: Tzatziki Sauce

tzatziki

In lots of traditional Greek dishes, tzatziki sauce is used for extra flavor and texture.  It goes great with a gyro, grilled chicken, lamb chops, or even just toasted pita bread as a dip.  In my family, I’ve become the designated person to make the tzatziki whenever we have a dinner that “requires” it.  I’ve never really measured my recipe, as I grew up eating it and sort of just know the taste and add ingredients to achieve it.  However, I have general amounts that I’ve estimated to be my recipe, and it should be like mine.  I usually make a lot so if you want less, you can always cut this recipe in half, but especially if you intend to use this as a dip with pita bread, more is always better.

What You’ll Need:

2 cups Greek yogurt

1 cucumber

2-3 cloves of garlic, depending on how large they are

1 1/2 T dill

2 T lemon juice

This recipe is very simple, but does require a little bit of prep work.  First, start with the Greek yogurt.  If you’re thinking, “hey, I could just replace this with the sour cream I already have in the fridge. It’s close enough.”  Well, you’d be wrong.  If you want your tzatziki to be runny and taste wrong, then sure, use sour cream.  But you don’t want that at all, so just get the Greek yogurt.  I usually buy a huge tub of it at Costco and use about half for this recipe.  You can use the other half for breakfast and snacks with some honey and fresh fruit.  It’s high in protein and basically everything else that makes yogurt good for you, so if you’re not convinced at this point to use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, then I don’t know what else to tell you.  It’s worth it, that’s all.

So, back to this recipe.  I like to make this all in one bowl that I can cover and keep in the fridge, but is large enough that I can mix it all together inside.  Once you have that bowl, add your yogurt to it.  Then grab a cutting board, a knife, a vegetable peeler, and a spoon.  First, peel the cucumber.  Then cut it in half (longways) so that you can use the spoon to remove all of the seeds.  Then, chop it all up in a food processor and dump it onto a paper towel to squeeze out the extra juice.  Once it’s pretty much strained, add the chopped cucumber to the bowl of yogurt.  Then, use the food processor again to chop the garlic.  In any other recipe, I’d chop the garlic by hand with a knife, but with this you want to make sure there’s no extra large chunks, because it’s not always a great surprise to bite into a chunk of garlic.

Once you have the chopped cucumber and garlic added to the yogurt, mix it all together to make sure it’s evenly distributed.  Then, add the dill and lemon juice and stir it all together again.  Some recipes add olive oil to this, but that’s something no one in my family has ever done, so neither have I.  I don’t know if it would add a ton of flavor, but I generally don’t like how olive oil separates from foods when refrigerated, and since I tend to make larger batches of tzatziki and refrigerate them to eat later, I don’t think it would work for me.  After I mix together all of my ingredients, I like to refrigerate the mixture for a few hours before eating it, to let all of the flavors marinate.  It makes for a much stronger flavor, but be warned that after a few more days, it will definitely get more garlicky as it sits in the fridge!

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