Hello my friends, if you read my last post you now know why Greek Yogurt has become the craze and the history of Fage Greek Yogurt who started it all. You also learned how to make this creamy dreamy healthy Greek yogurt. Even if you choose not to make your own that’s OK, you can grab a container of Fage Greek yogurt from the store. Then we will begin our journey filling your recipe box with the endless and delicious possibilities in the world of Greek Yogurt!
The best part… if you make your own or buy Fage’ non-fat yogurt Greek yogurt you will never notice the difference in taste from whole milk Greek yogurt. It is just as thick, creamy and delicious, it is the healthier tastier version of sour cream or mayonnaise and can be used in place of them in many dishes.
Tzatziki is a fabulous dip with Pita, crackers and cut up vegetables. It is a great way to stay on track with weight loss because all of the ingredients are known to have incredible health benefits, #garlic, #cucumber, #olive oil, #lemon juice!!!
Then when you’ve been dipped out and you can’t eat one more carrot or piece of broccoli you can turn your Tzatziki into a “Salad Dressing! You can transform your Tzatziki into Salad Dressing by thinning it down by adding Red wine vinegar and additional lemon juice and olive oil. Then look out Lettuce, Cold Pasta and more! This famous dip/condiment “Tzatziki” is used all over the world. It is tucked inside Pita bread for the popular Greek Gyro (spices & lamb pressed and cooked on a spit). It is also a world known accompaniment for Souvlaki, Shish Kebob and Roasted or Grilled Lamb!
I believe that there are many “Legs of Lamb” in the world that have not had Tzatziki by their side. It doesn’t end there because to this day if there is no Tzatziki on the table when I am serving any type of lamb, there is mutiny! In fact friends and family love it on every type of meat including Beef, Pork and Chicken.
Some restaurants will substitute sour cream for Greek yogurt, that is fine but the flavor will be missing something. So, I have to admit that in a pinch when pulling together a last minute dinner for friends I may have broken the cardinal rule of substituting sour cream for the yogurt. I am deemed a traitor because a true Tzatziki fan can tell the difference right away! lol
The key to making a great Tzatziki is not only taste but the consistency as well. If you go through all the trouble of making or buying Fage’s thick creamy Greek yogurt, then you need to make sure it stays thick and creamy as you add the ingredients that could make it thin and runny! Guess what the first thing you will need to use in order to accomplish this task, especially when grating the cucumber? You guessed it. Cheese Cloth! If you read my last Blog on the making of Greek yogurt, then you know my history with Cheese Cloth and you will laugh just hearing the words.
Greek Tzatziki Recipe
Prep time: 15 min
Yield: approx. 4 cups of heaven!
- 1 container of your homemade Greek Yogurt or a Fage 35.3oz nonfat yogurt
- 1 whole cucumber, (striped, cut in half and seeds scooped out)
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. dill or 1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
- 1 teasp. onion powder
- 1-2 teasp. sea salt
- 1 teasp. black or white pepper
- 1/8 cup olive oil
Again, my favorite electronic cooking tool is my Cuisinart. No matter what size you own, it will work. My med size one is just perfect for this recipe. Add cucumber to Cuisinart with blade in it. Note: I prefer English cucumbers, the skin is thinner and there are much less seeds. So, you do not have to scoop or even stripe this cucumber, just cut in half and cut in smaller pieces. Pulse 8 to 10 times until it is small pieces. Pulse a little less if you like your Tzatziki a little chunky, but please do not pulse until smooth.
Scrape out of the Cuisinart bowl into a strainer with your cheese cloth or heavy paper towel. There will be a lot of liquid that you need to remove, so squeeze it really tight. You will be amazed how much juice comes out of a cucumber. Save the juice, it is great in a Healthy smoothie or a salad dressing. This is not like straining the yogurt that needs gravity, you can squeeze the cloth to get the juice out right away and continue with the recipe.
Now place the Garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and ½ cup of your yogurt in the Cuisinart and pulse until smooth. Then add the remaining yogurt and the dill and pulse 5 or 6 times scraping in–between pulses. Lastly add the cucumber and the dill, pulse 4 or 5 more times, scraping in-between.
When you open the lid you will immediately see and smell this wonderful creation. Then it only gets better when you put your spoon in for a small taste and your mouth explodes with the amazing flavors. Taste for salt and pepper and if needed adjust to your liking. Place in a plastic container and refrigerate.
Taking the time to squeeze the juice from the cucumber is key to having a thick and creamy Tzatziki. This can be made at least 3 days ahead of time and it will only taste better as the flavors infuse. In addition, it could last a week in the refrigerator, I say could for a reason.
The best part is after you have devoured the Souvlaki & Shish Kebob, you will probably have some Tzatziki leftover. Of course the next day you will be feeling a bit guilty for dipping your one, two or three extra pieces of pita bread into your amazing Tzatziki.
Don’t worry, remember you can now use as a healthy dip for carrots, veggies and more. Remember, No Fat or Carbs!!! Or turn that extra Tzatziki into your dressing for a pasta salad, garden salad or a sauce for grilled chicken breast!
This is not just a popular Greek dip/condiment; there are variations in the Middle Eastern cuisine that add different spices to the basic ingredients for a twist on this creamy delight!
Hopefully, you have read my last few Blogs on Making Greek Yogurt & Souvlaki versus Shish Kebob so you are ahead of the game. If not just take a look and you will be on your way to an amazing Mediterranean dinner for your guests or family. Very rarely will you ever be served the amazing flavors of these skewered delights without Greek Tzatziki or another version of this wonderful dip! I could survive on just the grilled pita bread and the Tzatziki, Yum…. Heaven on Earth!
No guilt if you don’t have time to make your own yogurt, remember Fage or Oikos are perfect! Just not the Sour Cream… Yikes! Really, I swear the makers of these products do not endorse me. If I buy it I use the fat free in Fage 35oz or Oikos 32oz which I have not seen plain fat free so I use the whole milk on occasion. I do maintain that you can barely taste the difference between whole milk or fat-free I mean it. So I usually go with the nonfat healthier option and cheat somewhere else!
I know exactly how you can cheat using your homemade yogurt with chocolate and gooey nuts. If you happen to like things on the sweeter side, it just so happens my next post is calling your sweet tooth. Calories? Not this recipe, stay tuned!
Good Luck and Enjoy!