This recipe right here, this simple, quick recipe, was the very first recipe I ever posted on this website, and it’s simplicity, speed, and nutrition are exactly why it’s still a staple in our house now.
If you’ve never had (or heard of) tzatziki sauce, it’s a Greek yogurt sauce that is flavored with dill, cucumber, and fresh lemon juice. It’s amazing served with grilled or roasted meat (hello, gyros) and also works beautifully as a dip or salad dressing. It’s amazingly versatile, and I think it’s a sauce that every healthy cook should have in their repertoire.
Traditional tzatziki sauce is an overnight (or even longer) event—you need to strain fresh yogurt and get all the liquid out of shredded cucumber and let flavors meld and develop for hours—if you are ever looking for a fun weekend project, I highly recommend trying out making tzatziki the traditional way.
But if you need some tzatziki flavor on a super busy weeknight? Well, I’ve got a hacked together 10 minute version for you that’s almost as good as the real deal.
This is probably a big “duh!” moment—but if you eat dairy, you’re going to want to use Greek yogurt here. You want the thickness and tanginess. I recommend going for full fat or, at the very least, 2% for the best flavor. This isn’t the place to shave off calories and use non-fat yogurt.
If you’re plant-based, you can still make this work! Just search out and find some plain (unsweetened) soy, coconut, or almond milk yogurt. I’ve even seen a thick and tangy “Greek-style” version of coconut milk yogurt at Whole Foods before—which would obviously perfect. A word of warning though: many of the “plain” versions of plant-based yogurts are still sweetened, so make sure you are reading labels!
Since the plant-based yogurts don’t quite have the tang of the regular Greek yogurt, you’ll want to add a bit more fresh lemon juice—I made note of the tweaks for a plant-based version in the recipe.
As the recipe name suggests, this recipe is ready to go after a short chill in the fridge, but, obviously, the longer you can wait, the better the flavors meld together.
Since we’re using raw garlic here, it’s going to have quite a bite when you first make it (which I love, but some folks don’t). That garlic bite will mellow out the longer the tzatziki rests in the fridge. If you want to avoid the garlic bite, you can use garlic powder or pre-minced garlic from the store. Enjoy!