A traditional Greek sauce, tzatziki consists of plain yogurt, grated cucumbers, minced herbs, olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and seasonings like garlic. In Mediterranean cuisine, it's used as a dip; a condiment for gyros; a sandwich spread; and a topping for grilled meats, fish or poultry. Start your tzatziki several hours before you plan to serve it since you'll need to allow ample time to drain the cucumbers of moisture and chill the finished sauce.
Things You'll Need
Measuring cups and spoons
Large mixing bowl
Plain Greek yogurt
Large mixing spoon
Garlic cloves, crushed or minced
Fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, optional
Use 1 1/2 medium-size cucumbers to yield adequate cucumber for 1 3/4 cups of tzatziki, or enough for 14 servings at 2 tablespoons each.
Wash the cucumbers. Peel each and cut off the ends. Slice the cucumbers in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds from each half with a spoon.
Grate the cucumbers and arrange the strips in a single layer on two layers of paper towels. Use 1 cup of grated cucumber for 1 3/4 cups of dip.
Sprinkle the grated cucumber with salt, using 1/8 teaspoon for every cup of cucumber. Let rest, undisturbed, for approximately 30 minutes.
Put the cucumber into a mixing bowl. Stir in twice as much plain Greek yogurt as cucumber -- 2 cups for every cup of cucumber.
Add crushed or minced garlic cloves, minced fresh dill, freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Use 1 part each garlic and dill -- approximately 1 tablespoon for 1 3/4 cups of tzatziki -- and 2 parts each lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well to combine.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
If you can't find plain Greek yogurt, you can drain regular yogurt in a fine-mesh sieve to produce yogurt with a thicker consistency. Plan on 2 hours of draining time. Each cup of regular yogurt will give you about 1/2 cup of Greek-style yogurt.
For lower-fat tzatziki, use low- or nonfat Greek yogurt.
Try garnishing the finished tzatziki with a sprinkling of smoked paprika or chopped fresh mint leaves.
Don't try to make tzatziki without seeding and salting the cucumber. Otherwise, you'll end up with thin, watery-tasting tzatziki.