Throw away your ranch dressing! It’s awful for you.
Well, at least try this first.

This is one of the easiest, most delicious, healthy, versatile dips/sauces you can make, and I urge everyone to give it a fair chance.

Tzatziki: Tzatziki, tzadziki, or tsatsiki (Greek: τζατζίκι [dzaˈdzici] or [dʒaˈdʒici]; English pronunciation: /zæˈdziːkiː/)
You’ve probably seen tzatziki on top of your gyro, or served along side pita wedges as a part of a mezze.  Greeks do meze / mezze / mezzedes  like the Spanish do tapas:  small plates of food shared amongst diners.

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Cucumber, lemon, fennel, yogurt

There are variations on this dip, but in general these are the ingredients:

  • Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani, which I love and is fat-free.  I also love the Total/Fage brand.  Whichever is on sale)
  • Diced cucumber, and additional sliced cucumber to dip/garnish
  • Garlic or garlic powder (if you don’t have time to let it sit overnight, use powder)
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt, pepper
  • Optional but delicious: dill or Fennel (I used fennel and loved this). I highly recommend these herb scissors I just received as a gift from my mom ( Beach Dazed) as they have 4 blades that slice your fresh herbs right into your bowl–no waste of flavor or herbs, and quite a time saver.
    IMG 12741 300x225   Tzatziki (Greek yogurt / cucumber dip)

    Fennel leaves

  • Parsley, mint, and olive oil are all optional enhancements.  Feel free to play around.

Greek yogurt, which is frequently fat-free, is high in protein (higher than other yogurts), has a thicker, creamier texture than other yogurt, and can be used as a substitute for cream and other products in baking and cooking.  For instance, replace cream, cheese, or coconut milk in a curry with Greek Yogurt.  It works, and is delicious. I’ve done it many times.
How I made this batch of tzatziki that had me “mmmmm-ing” with everything I dipped into it (zucchini fritters, dolmades / stuffed grape leaves, cucumbers, keftedes / meatballs, bread… etc.):

  1. Get a large container of greek yogurt and transfer to a larger bowl.
  2. Peel 1/2 of a cucumber, dice and add to the yogurt.
  3. Take the other 1/2 of the cucumber (skin on, if you like) and slice it thickly for dipping/garnishing
  4. Add a healthy squeeze of lemon (1/2 a lemon or less will do, to taste) to the yogurt dip
  5. Sprinkle in a little garlic powder (to taste, again, but tzatziki should be garlicky). You can add fresh minced garlic if you have time to let the dip sit overnight, to absorb the flavors.
  6. Chop 1/3 cup fresh fennel leaves into the dip, or dill if you have that.  I recommend using these herb scissors, they made my life SO much easier (above).
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste
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sliced cucumber, and tzatziki before mixing

Enjoy!! Use as a dip for raw veggies, meze foods, fritters, meatballs, pita or bread.  The prep time is only 5 minutes!

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Tzatziki served with Dolmades (grape leaves), Keftedes (meatballs), and Zucchini Fritters

May 3, 2011