Tzatziki Sauce

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Tzatziki, pronounced za-ZEE-kee, is a (very) refreshing Greek sauce served with gyros. It’s made of strained yogurt, so you can either strain your own yogurt or buy Greek yogurt. There’s also cucumbers, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and dill or mint. I prefer mint since I can’t find dill in the grocery store sometimes, so you can use a combo or either one. It is optional to add 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh dill, but it will create a more authentic flavor to the sauce.

To strain your own yogurt, buy plain yogurt (whole milk or non-fat) and grab a strainer or colander lined with one layer of coffee filters. If you can strain the yogurt overnight in the fridge, even better, but even a few hours will make a big difference. Unstrained yogurt is much too wet for this sauce, especially once you have added lemon juice and cucumbers.

I added a bunch of cucumber to this dip just to make it snappier. I prefer more cucumber to yogurt, but adjust accordingly if you need to. Also add more lemon juice if you want more zing. Enough to make your friends say, “Bazinga!”

You can serve tzatziki on turkey burgers, serve it with chips, pita bread, naan.. whatever floats your boat.

Here’s what you need:

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Plain yogurt, cucumbers, lemon, garlic, and mint.

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Line the colander with one layer of coffee filters.

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Add the yogurt into the lined colander. If you choose to use Greek yogurt, you do not need to strain it.

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Spread the yogurt out evenly.

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Watch it drain. See how amazing that is? Place it over a bowl to catch the liquid! This liquid is called whey. It’s super healthy. Throw it into a soup or something, or you can discard it. Click here to learn more ways to use whey.

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Now cut your cucumbers in half. Two small cucumbers will be about enough.

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Use a spoon and scoop out all of the cucumber seeds. It’ll make the sauce too wet.

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It’ll look just like this.

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Now grab a grater and grate away. Just throw the little stub of cucumber away so you don’t cut yourself when you reach the end of the cucumber.

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This is two cucumbers’ worth of grated cucumber.

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It should measure out to 1 1/2 cups of cucumber for the sauce.

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Now dump it into a strainer fitted over a bowl.

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Sprinkle some salt over the cucumbers. This will help draw out the liquid in the cucumbers. A lot of the saltiness will wash away as the water drains out of the cucumbers.

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Stir in the salt thoroughly.

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Check out that green water. Mhm?

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Now mince up some garlic. To fight the harshness of garlic, add some salt over it to make a garlic paste.

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Crush the garlic with the side of your knife, combining the salt and garlic to make a uniform paste. This will prevent your sauce from having pieces of garlic that are too large.

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It should look like this! Keep folding the paste over itself and smashing it til you get this.

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Now add it to a bowl.

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Add some lemon juice for zing.

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Chop up some mint.

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Now add the strained yogurt to the bowl. Look how much thicker it looks than before.

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Add the grated cucumbers that have been draining for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

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Add the mint.

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Mix it all up.

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Add some freshly ground black pepper for a bite.

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And serve her right up.

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I like to dip bread in this sauce. Pita bread also rocks.

Below are two recipes of your choice, depending on whether you strain your yogurt or you just use store-bought Greek yogurt.

If using regular plain yogurt:

If using Greek yogurt:

 

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