What Is Tzatziki Sauce?
Tzatziki sauce is a sauce and dressing that is of Mediterranean origin. Most often, you will find this sauce on gyros, Greek, Turkish, and middle-eastern dishes. Healthy, fresh and cooling, this sauce can be used on a variety of dishes, or as a side and condiment. Versatile and delicious, tzatziki is easy to prepare, only requires a few ingredients, and will give extra flavor to any dish it is served with.
How to Make Tzatziki Sauce
There are very few ingredients involved with preparing tzatziki sauce, and the preparation of the sauce takes very little time. Like many other sauces, tzatziki just needs a little time to let the flavors blend and meld, but this preparation can be eaten right after making it.
Ingredients For Making Tzatziki Sauce
- 1 32 Oz Container of Plain Yogurt
- 2 Large Cucumbers
- 1/2 Medium White Onion
- 2 Heaping Tablespoons of Chopped Garlic (In Water)
- 1/4 Cup of Fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 Teaspoons of Dried Dill
- Kosher or Sea Salt (To Taste)
The yogurt is where all of the substance of this sauce comes from. Unlike many other mayonnaise-based dressings — such as Ranch, Blue Cheese, and Aioli — tzatziki is completely yogurt-based, and therefore is healthy, while staying rich, creamy and flavorful. You can really use any brand of yogurt, as long as it is “plain,” and not flavored with anything else. The whole point of tzatziki sauce is that we are going to flavor the plain yogurt to have a garlic bite, and a bit of sour lemon flavor. For this recipe, you will want to make sure that it is a 32 ounce container, to get the balance of ingredients correct. We used Wallaby Organic Greek Whole Milk Yogurt that is plain:
Preparing Your Tzatziki Sauce
Grate Your Cucumber
When it comes to adding the cucumber to the yogurt, we want grate the cucumber so that there are not large chunks of cucumber in the sauce, rather the flavored liquid and grated pulp are added. This is very simple to do… Simply peel the skin off of the cucumber — you can do this using a potato peeler. Once the cucumber is peeled, we want to slice it in half lengthwise. After splitting the cucumber, you will see that the center is filled with seeds. We want to remove those seeds by simply scraping them out with a teaspoon — leaving only the clean meat of the cucumber and no seeds.
Using a cheese grater, run the cucumbers through the smallest holes of the grater into a large bowl that you will mix everything together. Remember, it should be a watery and pulpy consistency.
Grate Your Onion
The grated onion is not usually added in traditional tzatziki recipes, rather the onion is grated dressed onto the meats such as gyros, kefta, or shawarma; however, we think that it really rounds out the cucumber flavor, so we add a half of a grated onion directly into the tzatziki sauce. You can leave the onion out, if you like; you will just have to adjust the measurements of the garlic, cucumber and lemon to your taste.
To grate the onion, simply cut a yellow or white onion in half and grate through the smallest holes of the cheese grater just like the cucumber; and just like the cucumber, it should look like water onion pulp.
Add Your Garlic
With the onion and cucumber pulp and water in your mixing bowl, add 2 heaping tablespoons of garlic to the bowl. You can add more if you are a devotee of garlic, or add less if garlic is too strong for you — there is no perfect amount, it just depends on how your tastes are and how you like it. Get The Chopped Garlic We Used Below:
Add Your Lemon Juice
Now it is time to add the lemon juice to the mix. Like all the other ingredients in this recipe — besides the yogurt base — the amount of lemon juice you add depends on your taste, and your preferences. The lemon juice not only adds a hint of sour to the sauce, but also thins out the consistency of the yogurt and expands the flavor range. We find that for a 32 ounce container of yogurt 1/4 cup of lemon juice works nicely, but add as little or as much as your taste buds prefer.
Season Your Tzatiki
At this point, your tzatziki sauce is pretty much finished; all you need to do is mix everything together and give it a taste. If it needs some salt, add kosher or sea salt to taste. Note that the strength of the garlic and the onion will dictate how much salt you will need to add, if any.
Adding dill to the yogurt sauce will bring even more dimension to the flavors, so we usually sprinkle a bit of dried dill into the mixture along with the salt. If you don’t like dill, or want to leave well-enough alone, you can leave it out.
You Are Done!
This recipe is as simple as that. This sauce is most often served on gyro pita sandwiches, but can be eaten as a dip with fresh bread or pita, can be used as a dressing on salads and fresh vegetables, eaten alongside beef or lamb, and can even be used as a light marinade for chicken and seafood. After everything is mixed together, you can actually just pour the sauce directly into the empty yogurt container and write the date it was mixed on the lid. Sauce usually be good for 1-2 weeks, and just gets better after a few days.