A simple way to season any food is using the tzatziki sauce homemade. It’s an authentic taste of Greece, perfect for dipping and drizzling on as many dishes as you can imagine.
What is tzatziki sauce
Tzatziki sauce is a creamy Greek sauce popularized both in the Mediterranean regions of Europe and the Middle East. With a fresh cucumber yogurt sauce base, the traditional Tzatziki sauce recipe is typically seasoned with dill, salt and pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Although there are plenty of variations on the classic. Especially in Greece, it is most commonly used as a Greek sauce for gyro, as an accompaniment to souvlaki, or as part of a mezze.
The Mediterranean diet stands out for how healthy it is. And the Tzatziki sauce, being a Mediterranean yogurt sauce, is surprisingly good for you.
Its Greek yogurt base is naturally high in protein. And the additional fresh ingredients are generally rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Tzatziki sauce is naturally low in calories, low in cholesterol, and high in vitamin A and calcium.
What to eat with Tzatziki sauce
- As an appetizer/dip with raw vegetables or Greek pita for dipping.
- To dip with French fries and potato wedges, even fried potatoes with zucchini or aubergine.
- Spread on sandwiches, burgers or wraps.
- It is served as part of a mezze plate along with dishes like dolma, Greek salad, etc.
- As part of a grain bowl along with your choice of grain, fresh vegetables, olives, etc. You can also use it as a tzatziki dressing.
- Serves as a garnish for stuffed vegetables (Gemista/Yemista) and other Greek foods.
- On fish or shellfish, Milanese, etc.
The ingredients of the Tzatziki sauce
Cucumber – It is best to use seedless or small-seeded varieties of cucumbers such as English cucumbers or Persian cucumbers. These won’t get mushy too quickly. If all you have is a seeded cucumber, remove the seeds first.
Plain Greek Yogurt – Full-fat Greek yogurt is the best choice for this recipe (although sheep’s milk yogurt is the most authentic). However, you can also use regular plain yogurt and strain it for a couple of hours.
Dill – Lots of fresh dill is the key to packing tons of flavor. Only use dried dill if necessary.
Garlic: Crushed or minced. A authentic tzatziki sauce it must be strong. However, feel free to adjust the amount of garlic to your liking.
White Vinegar – For an authentic taste, use white vinegar. Alternatively, you can use apple cider vinegar or even lemon juice. However, the taste will vary.
Olive Oil: This will add a smooth mouthfeel and is perfect for garnishing.
Salt: To enhance the flavor.
- 3 cups of Greek yogurt
- 1 large English cucumber or other small-seeded/seeded varieties
- 1 cup chopped dill
- 2 large or 4 small garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Optional Add-Ins: Dried Mint
- Grate the cucumber and optionally sprinkle with salt (this will help draw out excess liquid). Set aside for 10 minutes. Place the resting cucumber on a blanket and squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Finely chop the dill and grate or mince the garlic.
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
For the best flavor, marinate the Greek sauce in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but even better overnight. This will give the flavors a chance to meld properly and it will taste better than it did right after making it.
Before serving, taste it one last time and adjust any of the ingredients if necessary (more salt, acidity, etc. Then drizzle with some additional olive oil and enjoy!
How to Store Greek Tzatziki Sauce
If you have carefully drained the cucumber, the leftover tzatziki sauce will last, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Allow the tzatziki sauce to marinate, as this allows all the flavors to blend. Raw garlic will also soften the longer it sits in the yogurt.
Optional Add-ons and Variations
- Herbs: dried mint (better than fresh, which will change color), dried oregano, chili flakes, cumin, fresh parsley (for garnish), black pepper, etc.
- Vegetables: grated carrot, onion or even lemon zest. You can also add legumes like white beans or chickpeas to increase the volume of the sauce.
- Optional toppings: pomegranate seeds, fresh or roasted tomatoes, crushed walnuts (also usable inside tzatziki sauce), sesame seeds, olives, etc.
- vegan tzatziki sauce– For dairy-free tzatziki, all you need to do is substitute a dairy-free alternative for the dairy yogurt; Greek style would be best. Otherwise, coconut-based yogurt would work; you’ll likely need a little more lemon/vinegar to add “tang” or use a non-dairy yogurt and sour cream combo.