Tzatziki is the traditional sauce used as a dip and as a topping in Greek dishes, like souvlaki and gyros. The yogurt, cucumber flavor is so fresh, and with the availability of cucumbers all year long, you can make it anytime. We use it on our Greek pita sandwiches, usually made with chicken or beef. The flavor compliments the grilled meats and vegetables so well.
There are many versions of tzatziki but they all share the same basic ingredients. The only variations you find in Greek restaurants or Greek homes would be the proportions, based in your taste. Once you try this basic recipe, you might adjust it to be a bit more dilly, or minty, or lemony. Watch the additional liquids, though. Too much and it will be too thin.
Yields: 2 Cups
1 English Cucumber, about 2 cups grated
1 ½ cups Plain Greek yogurt. Use the thicker strained yogurt or your tzatziki will be too thin.
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, grated or finely minced
2 Tablespoons Dried Dill Weed
1 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Spearmint. You can use dry if you can’t find fresh.
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper, or to taste
Cut English cucumber lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a small spoon. (The English cuke has less moisture than a regular cuke so you don’t have to squeeze all the water out.) Grate the cucumber in a box grater using the large holes.
In a medium bowl, add the cucumber, yogurt, olive oil, garlic, dill weed, mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine well. Adjust the salt and pepper if desired. Let rest in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to let the favors develop.
Serve with pita bread or as a dip for your vegetables. Use as a topping for your Greek souvlaki, kabobs or gyros. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.