Here is a cool and refreshing cucumber and yogurt dip also called Tzatziki. You can strain your own yogurt or just use Greek yogurt for the base of the dip. Just stir in grated cucumber and herbs. This tzatziki recipe is so easy to make with these make these baked pita chips flavored with za’atar spice to serve with the dip for a fun appetizer or snack.
The cucumber situation in my garden that I alluded to last week is borderline hilarious, you guys. I keep thinking I am relatively on top of it, and then I will find a cuke that has missed my most recent searches and some how grown to be the size of a small watermelon, all pale and swollen looking. Eww. I toss them directly into the compost bin, and there are a hundred more lurking under the prickly leaves. I have been planning to make pickles, but my schedule is packed for the last week an a half of August so I haven’t been able to grab the couple of hours it will take to make that happen.
Did I just say last week and a half of August? How is that possible? It’s hard to believe that summer is drawing toward an end. My girls start school next week, and pretty soon all the bloggers will be talking about tailgating, stew, baking and football snacks. Oh wait, that’s already happening. I loved seeing my friend Julianne using the hashtag #stillsummer. More so because we’re finally having a heat wave here in the North East, which we are enjoying with added enthusiasm after such a late and rainy summer. So I am with you, Ninja! #stillsummer
What is Tzatziki?
If you’ve never had tzatziki before, you are really missing out! Essentially, tzatziki is a sauce that’s made from strained yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and fresh herbs. Many recipes also call for a squeeze of lemon juice, which I’ve included in my tzatziki recipe below. This dip is popular in Greece and the Middle East and is delicious atop pita, in gyros, spread on a sandwich, and as a dipping sauce for vegetables.
Tips on Making This Tzatziki Recipe
I found this organic lactose-free yogurt at Healthy Living on Tuesday. If you are lactose intolerant, I highly recommend checking it out. I used it to make this tzatziki by straining it. To do that, just line a fine mesh sieve or colander with a coffee filter or a couple layers of paper towels. Then spoon the yogurt in. Set it over a bowl and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. You’d be amazed how much whey drains off. You can skip that step entirely by buying Greek yogurt which is basically the same thing.
For the herbs, I think the yummiest combination is roughly about a third each mint, basil and dill so that none of them are too overpowering. I realize that not everyone has all three on hand so use whichever you want.
How to Store Tzatziki
This homemade tzatziki will keep well in the fridge for four to five days in a tightly sealed container. This dip has a tendency to separate a bit in the fridge, so you’ll need to give it a good stir before serving it. Tzatziki tastes better the longer it sits in your fridge, but after about five days the cucumbers begin turning to mush (yuck!), so definitely eat it before the week is up.
I got the idea to sprinkle za’atar spice mix on pitas from my friend Liz at the Lemon Bowl. She is awesome and always sharing great healthy Middle Eastern recipes so make sure you visit her some time. You can find it in the bulk spices at your local health food store. I like the za’atar from Teeny Tiny Spice Company. (They sent me an entire set of their spices a few weeks ago so I could photograph them for their site. And I already had an open tin on hand. Now I am rolling in za’atar.) Two other ways you can use it are in these Za’atar Roasted Chicken Breasts from the Mediterranean Dish or for this Grilled Zucchini with Za’atar from Feasting at Home.
Have you made pickles before?
Are you thinking about tailgaiting or holding on to the last days of summer?
Have you had Za’atar and if so what do you like to make with it?
More Easy Dip Recipes:
This homemade tzatziki recipe is made with Greek yogurt, grated cucumber and herbs. Its so easy to make and is a healthy appetizer!
For the Dip
- 2 cups plain low fat yogurt, strained or 1 1/3 cups Greek yogurt
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled
- ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 large cucumber, shredded on a box grater
- ½ cup chopped mint, dill or basil or a combination
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
For the Chips
- 4 pitas, preferably whole-wheat
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons za’atar spice mix
- ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Make Dip: If using regular yogurt, you’ll need to strain it first: Line a fine mesh strainer with a coffee filter or paper towels and set over a bowl. Spoon in yogurt and refrigerate until the whey has drained off the yogurt, about 3 hours.
- Chop garlic, sprinkle with salt, and then mash and chop with a chef’s knife to make a paste. Scrape garlic paste into a medium bowl. Add the strained yogurt or Greek yogurt. Add cucumber, mint, oil and lemon and whisk to combine.
- Make Chips: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut pitas along their seams and separate into two layers. Lay 4 pitas circled on work surface. Brush lightly with 1 tablespoon oil, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon za’atar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cut pitas into 8 triangles each. Transfer to a large baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 4 pita circles, oil, za’atar and salt. Bake the pitas, rotating pans half way through, until crisp and starting to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool before serving with the dip.
- Calories: 614
- Sugar: 7 g
- Sodium: 882 mg
- Fat: 34 g
- Saturated Fat: 6 g
- Carbohydrates: 58 g
- Fiber: 7 g
- Protein: 24 g
Keywords: tzatziki recipe, how to make tzatziki