I’ve been making tzatziki for years using a recipe I found online, but now that I’m in Paros, Greece, it was nice to have a chef and restaurateur teach me his famous recipe.
So I’ve been spending the week in Paros, Greece with Alona and my parents and of course I have to learn how to make all the fantastic Greek dishes I can. I had already perfected a moussaka from a trip to Corfu earlier this year, but what better way to do that than to take a cooking class and learn how to make a dozen authentic dishes! This classic Greek Tzatziki is a simple dish that works well with a variety of things.
Tzatziki is traditionally served as a meze, or small plate. It can be treated as a share appetizer for a group, or a side dish with some delicious souvlaki. Perhaps my favorite use for it is a sauce for a pita pocket or wrap. There’s nothing like a creamy well made tzatziki with gyro and pita. What a treat! I also enjoy some simple tzatziki and bread as a starter before getting a grilled dorada – that’s probably my number one order on the islands.
This is a classic Greek tzatziki which I haven’t varied in any way, so if you like to make it a different way, let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your variations!
- 250 grams Greek Yoghurt. As this is the primary ingredient, get a good quality full-fat version. You want this tzatziki to be rich and creamy! It is also known as strained yoghurt, and you can buy it from Amazon here.
- 1 small Cucumber. We used a little Persian cucumber in this, but pretty much any one will do.
- 3 cloves Garlic; minced. You can adjust up or down depending on your preferences; I found 3 cloves to be absolutely perfect.
- 1 tbsp Dill; fresh. Rough Chop.
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling at the end.
- 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice.
- 1/2 tsp Salt; or to taste.
1. Begin by grating the cucumber, then place the grated pieces in a cheesecloth and squeeze out the liquid. Add a pinch of salt to help remove more water, and hang the cucumber above the sink while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. In a large bowl combine the yoghurt, olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and minced garlic. Salt to taste.
3. Give the cucumbers another good squeeze and add them to the yoghurt mix. Combine.
4. Mix in the fresh chopped dill, plate, and drizzle with some more olive oil. Serve!
The tzatziki actually gets better if you let it sit for a day in the fridge, as that gives it more time to meld all the flavors. Also, it cuts down on a bit of the harshness of the garlic if you don’t like really fresh garlic.
Instead of using the cheesecloth you can use a mesh sieve and just let the cucumber sit for a bit longer to drain most of the water out.
If you don’t want to use both lemon juice AND vinegar, you can just double up one of them and leave the other out. I was told using both together really brings out the flavors, but to be honest, I don’t know about that. Both are acids so either should do the trick.
You can serve this as a simple dip with some warm pita bread, or as a spread with gyro.
You can eat tzatziki with:
- and more!
Classic Greek Tzatziki
- 250 grams Greek Yoghurt full fat
- 1 small Cucumber
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Dill fresh, rough chopped
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil plus more for drizzling at the end
- 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
- Begin by grating the cucumber, then place the grated pieces in a cheesecloth and squeeze out the liquid. Add a pinch of salt to help remove more water, and hang the cucumber above the sink while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl combine the yoghurt, olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and minced garlic. Salt to taste.
- Give the cucumbers another good squeeze and add them to the yoghurt mix. Combine.
- Mix in the fresh chopped dill, plate, and drizzle with some more olive oil. Serve!