Tzatziki (pronounced dzahˈDZIH-kee), is an appetizer, made from Greek whole fat strained yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, salt, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, usually accompanying meat dishes.
What makes our tzatziki so delicious is the Greek yoghurt, which is velvety, thick, rich and full of flavour as well as our olive oil.
However, using a low fat Greek yoghurt with 2% fat makes it equally delicious and you can save on some calories.
I have seen a lot of recipes in which dill, oregano or lemon are added in the tzatziki. These are probably Americanized versions of tzatziki.
If you ever visit Greece you will see that neither dill or lemon or oregano is added in any Greek tzatziki and the cucumber is always grated, so that you can enjoy the velvety taste of the yoghurt.
However, if you like lemon instead of vinegar or dill or oregano, it’s your choice to add it.
If you can’t find Greek strained yoghurt, you can easily make it at home or use regular yoghurt.
In both cases, line a colander with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and put your regular yoghurt inside.
Leave it for 4 – 5 hours, or preferably overnight in order to drain.
Cucumbers in Greece are very tender and do not have any big seeds in them. For this reason we grate them with the skin on.
If the cucumber you are using has big seeds, peel and remove the seeds before grating it.
How much garlic should I use?
Greek garlic is very strong so I would recommend 1 large clove for 200 grams of strained yoghurt.
However, when my son was studying in England, he told me that he had to use 4 – 5 cloves of garlic for the same amount of yoghurt and he couldn’t taste at all the garlic.
In Cyprus, it is called talatouri. The only difference from the Greek tzatziki, is that dried, crumbled mint is also added inside and top.
- 200 grams strained Greek yoghurt 2%
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 (or more) pounded cloves of garlic*
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 small cucumber, skin on, grated (about ¼ cup after fluid is removed)
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Peel and grate the cucumber using a box grater.
- Place it in a colander, sprinkle some salt on top and let it drain.
Then squeeze it to remove excess liquid.
- Peel and pound the garlic together with the salt, using a pestle and mortar.
- Add to the cucumber as well as the olive oil, vinegar and yoghurt and mix all ingredients together (not with your hands as seen in
- Cover with cling film and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving, always keeping it covered to avoid smell in the refrigerator
*In Greece garlic is very strong so I do not recommend using more. You can adjust the amount according to your taste.
If using a British cucumber, peel it and then grate it. Half a cucumber is enough for the above amount.
In Cyprus some dried mint is mixed in the yoghurt.
Nutrition InformationYield 1 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 282Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 12mgSodium 1314mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 2gSugar 17gProtein 12g
Other relevant recipes:
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,