I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love tzatziki. If it was more socially acceptable, I would put tzatziki on just about anything. Kind of like some Americans do with ranch dressing. I’m always ordering extra when dining at a Greek restaurant. When I make tzatziki at home, I always make enough to have left overs because I use it so often. The flavor is just SO GOOD! I mean, this Greek condiment or sauce or whatever you want to call it has all of the necessary components of a successful dish. Acidity from fresh lemon juice and Greek yogurt, fat from the yogurt as well, aromatics and flavors from fresh dill and garlic, and refreshing cucumber, too. YUM!
I guess I’m a little biased. As you probably know by now, my mom’s side of the family is Greek and I grew up experiencing food-focused Greek Easters and other family get togethers. I’ve happily eaten my fair share of tzatziki over the years. And honestly, there is no better take out than a properly prepared gyro slathered with tzatziki. Somehow I have yet to visit Greece, but you best believe when I make my pilgrimage to the homeland, I will be eating daily gyros and bartering with those Greeks for some inside tips on tzatziki making. Because let’s face it, Yiayias have the best kitchen secrets.
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I make a damn good tzatziki. So, toot toot! I guess. Just try out this recipe and tell me I’m wrong. Every time I prepare tzatziki, there is at least one much appreciated comment along the lines of, “That tzatziki is SO good.” Followed by a second helping, or a third, but who’s counting really. My family has even deemed my recipe “Niktziki,” so there’s that.
Tzatziki really is so versatile and can be used for a variety of dishes. Here are some ideas for you other than Greek gyros, which are, of course, classic with tzatziki!
- Dipping sauce for crudités and warm pita bread
- Greek meatball pitas
- Mediterranean bowls with grilled vegetables, rice/orzo/quinoa, feta, and olives
- Spiced chicken kebabs
- Almost any grilled meats, but especially delicious with lamb
- Turkey, avocado, and sprouts wraps
- Dip for dry-spiced chicken wings or buffalo wings
- Mediterranean style baked potato
You get the idea! In order to avoid a watery tzatziki, be sure to strain the grated cucumber in a cheese cloth over a bowl or place on some paper towel on a plate for a few minutes. Either option will allow the excess water in the cucumber to be drained. I typically like to use garlic powder rather than fresh garlic for a less pungent garlic flavor, but you could easily substitute in minced fresh garlic to this recipe if you wish. Let me know how you enjoy my “Niktziki” and what you put it on in the comments below! Here’s the recipe, enjoy!
A tangy, flavor packed recipe for Greek tzatziki that will become a staple in your kitchen.
- 2 cup 2% Greek yogurt (I usually use 2%, but you could use whole or fat free if you like)
- 3-4 tbsp grated hot house or Persian cucumber
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- juice of one lemon
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
Grate 3-4 tbsp cucumber. You can finely grate the cucumber if you prefer not to have crunchy cucumber pieces in your tzatziki. Place the grated cucumber on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess water from the cucumber.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add all ingredients and stir to combine. If you prefer a stronger garlic flavor, use 1-2 cloves of fresh grated or minced garlic instead of the garlic powder. Stir in the strained cucumber last. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy! Tzatziki can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.