Take a dip.
We can thank the Greeks for many things, like water mills, the Olympics, and amazing, Mediterranean food so fresh and nourishing that one island achieves Blue Zone status for longevity. Tzatziki, a simple condiment of yogurt, fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon, is an essential Mediterranean recipe. This thick and creamy cucumber tzatziki tastes wonderful as a dip, or as a sauce on everything from grilled salmon to lamb burgers.
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Tzatziki Tastes Great. Bonus: It’s Healthy.
Tzatziki, like many Mediterranean recipes, relies not on fat or salt for flavor, but on the freshness of the ingredients. Tzatziki gets its flavor from creamy, tangy Greek (what else?) yogurt, but also bright lemon juice, garlic, and the combination of fresh mint and dill. A pinch of salt rounds out the flavor, while cucumber adds coolness and crunch.
Further, tzatziki packs a lot of nutrition into a little bowl. Greek yogurt contains protein, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and lots of important probiotics, which help regulate digestion, inflammation, and immune function.
Recipe Notes: Thick and Creamy Cucumber Tzatziki
There are a couple of important notes to making this creamy cucumber tzatziki recipe.
- First, use plain Greek yogurt, preferably full- or low-fat, but not fat free. Regular yogurt is too thin, and will create a runny tzatziki, especially once the cucumbers release some moisture.
- Salt the cucumbers for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours in the fridge. Salting the cucumbers sweats out some excess water, and adds flavor. The cucumbers will be even crunchier.
- Some recipes call for grating the cucumber, but I recommend small dicing the cuke because it adds a satisfying crunch
- I add chives, which are not wholly authentic, because I like the subtle flavor. These are optional.
- Think about making tzatziki in advance. Tzatziki tastes even better the next day, after the flavor from the herbs and garlic meld even more into the yogurt.
How do you make your tzatziki? Share in the comments.
Thick and Creamy Cucumber Tzatziki
- 1 cup full-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 English hothouse cucumber, cut into a small dice (no need to peel)
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, from about 1/4 lemon
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, plus more to garnish
- 1 tablespoon finely-sliced fresh mint, plus more to garnish
- 1 tablespoon finely-minced chives (optional)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- Toss the cucumber with one teaspoon of salt and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Do not rinse or pat dry.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, yogurt, mint, dill, chives, garlic, and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
- Gently pat the cucumbers dry with a paper towel. Add the cucumbers and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning. It may need another pinch of salt or a touch more lemon. Garnish with a handful of fresh herbs on the side, and serve with pita chips, crudités, or use as a sauce. Will keep several days, refrigerated.