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Tzatziki is our favorite healthy cucumber yogurt sauce! It is light and fresh and can be used in tons of ways and it only takes about 5-minutes to whip together!
What is tzatziki?
Tzatziki is a common cucumber yogurt dip or sauce from the Middle East and Mediterranean region. It’s traditionally made yogurt (thick Greek yogurt, of course!), olive oil, some kind of acid (like vinegar or lemon juice), salt, and herbs. It is light and fresh and can be used in tons of ways!
How do you pronounce tzatziki?
You’d be surprised at how often I hear tzatziki mispronounced! I get it, it’s spelled in a way that doesn’t really make sense with the pronunciation for us native-English speakers.
So here’s how you say it:
- IPA: /tsaˈtsiːki/
IPA, that’s the international phonetic alphabet. But it the IPA guide doesn’t help you know how to pronounce it, here’s how I would sound it out:
Tzatziki vs Tahini: Are they the same?
No, they are not! While both are common sauces used at your local gyro place, tzatziki and tahini are super different. Tzatziki, as we said above, is a cucumber-yogurt sauce.
Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds; it has a similar consistency to peanut butter. Tahini is sometimes used as a sauce all by itself, or is sometimes mixed with herbs, garlic, and lemon juice for what you’re probably used to getting served with your gyro or falafel.
But, tahini is often used in hummus (try our Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe!) and frequently it is used in desserts! One of the more common ones, being halva. If you’ve got some tahini on hand, you should definitely try out our Dark Chocolate Pistachio Tahini Cookies, they are amamzingggg.
Is tzatziki sauce healthy?
Yes! Tzatziki sauce is super healthy, it’s made with only a handful of super fresh ingredients and is a naturally low-calorie sauce or dip! The Greek yogurt is high in protein and can be low fat if you are using a low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
Tzatziki is also keto/low-carb friendly! Plain Greek yogurt is already pretty low in carbs, but if you’d like to make it even lower in carbs you could substitute sour cream.
What to eat with tzatziki:
Tzatziki is super versatile! I love eating it with fresh vegetables, fresh pita or pita chips, it’s even delicious just with regular old potato chips! Try using it as a spread on your sandwiches, gyros, or even salads!
How to make tzatziki
Tzatziki sauce is super easy to make and no joke, can be made in about 5 minutes! It all starts with a base of plain Greek yogurt. I typically use a 0% fat yogurt, but full fat yogurt will give you a much richer sauce. But I promise, a non-fat yogurt won’t compromise the flavor too much!
You’ll add fresh lemon juice, garlic, shredded cucumber, a little bit of olive oil (makes it rich and smooothhh), freshly chopped dill, and a bit of salt and pepper. Fresh. Easy. Done!
Don’t skip squeezing your cucumber!
Okay, so this is an important step! When you’re prepping your cucumbers, you’ll start by removing the seeds from the center and then grate the cucumber. After you grate it, you’ll want to squeeze as much water out of the cucumber as possible before adding it into your yogurt.
I do this by layering together several paper towels (or you could use a dish towel) and placing my shredded cucumber inside, and then squeezing. Cucumbers hold a lot of water, so if you skip this step you’ll find that your cucumbers will start releasing water into your tzatziki and you’ll end up with a very runny sauce.
Can I substitute the fresh dill for dried dill?
I am always a huge proponent for fresh herbs over dried herbs! Especially in a dish like this, fresh dill is going to make this tzatziki really pop! But, I totally understand that not everyone has access to fresh herbs or maybe it just slipped your mind at the grocery store.
So, yes! Of course you can substitute the fresh dill for dried dill. This recipe calls for about 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill, if you’re substituting dried dill, then use about 1-1 ½ teaspoons.
Can you freeze tzatziki sauce?
Yes, technically you can freeze it, but it’s not ideal. Because tzatziki has all those fresh ingredients in it don’t expect it to be the same as when you made it fresh! The cucumbers will definitely get a little mushy when thawed out after being frozen, and depending on how the lemon juice and yogurt reacted together, it’s possible it’ll be a little curdled. So do yourself a favor and just whip up a fresh batch!
Check out these other Mediterranean recipes:
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- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used 0% fat Fage)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cucumber, seeded and finely shredded
- Juice of 1 lemon (3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped or 1-1 ½ teaspoons dried dill
- 1. Slice cucumber in half long ways. Use a spoon to scrap the center of the cucumber and remove seeds. Use a grater to shred cucumber. Place shredded cucumber in a cheese cloth or several paper towels layered together. Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the cucumbers and discard juice.
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. If cucumber dip is too thick you can add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil.
Fresh dill will give it a much better flavor, but if you can’t find it dried dill will do in pinch.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 25Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 68mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
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originally posted 11/9/18