tzatziki Greek yogurt and cucumber dipTzatziki may be hard to say (and even harder to spell), but this traditional Greek appetizer is truly delicious! I enjoy it many of the same places that I like harissa. The cool of the dairy helps to cancel out the heat. And the combination of the two is truly inspired.

I love this with falafel and also as a dip for veggies or my Zesty Pita Crisps. It’s easy to make (and you get a lot). I use 2% Greek yogurt here. It’s thicker than regular yogurt–more like sour cream than yogurt. But it’s much lower in calories and fat. You could use fat-free if you like. Comparing the nutritional labels between both types, though, I thought that the trade-off between 2% and the extra calories and fat was definitely worth the upgrade.

Some recipes call for diced cucumber. I like to grate mine instead. It just seems to melt right in that way. The important thing is to use a seedless cucumber or seed a regular one if you can’t get one of those.

seedless cucumber

For variety you can use mint instead of dill. Whichever you try, though, be sure only to use fresh herbs in this recipe—never dried.

This can easily be made non-dairy with vegan yogurt. Be sure to get unflavored and a brand that’s not too sweet. I’m not sure the new coconut milk cultured yogurt would be so great here, but soy or even rice milk should do just fine. Note that the tzatziki won’t be as thick as it is if you use Greek yogurt. You could also try a vegan sour cream like Tofutti, but get the non-hydrogenated, which is the only one a store like Whole Foods will carry.

Put this out at your next party and wait for the compliments to roll in!

Makes 3 cups

1 cup shredded seedless cucumber (about 1 average-sized cucumber)
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt

Place the shredded cucumber in a colander and let drain for 30 minutes. This will help keep the tzatziki from being too watery.

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for an hour or two for the flavors to meld.

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