This zesty and creamy Greek sauce compliments fresh vegetables, grilled meats, baked pita bread, and favorites like Gloria Smiley’s Okra cakes. Tzatziki is served at all the best Greek restaurants. It is a versatile, healthy sauce and dip that stores well in the refrigerator.
Mary Moore, founder of The Cook’s Warehouse whipped together this yogurt based sauce with fresh oregano instead of dill; oregano is more commonly used in Greece. She blends together rich sour cream, true Greek Fage yogurt, freshly grated cucumber, lemon zest and juice, minced garlic and olive oil and then lets the flavors meld for hours before serving.
Some people recommend letting the yogurt sit over cheesecloth while the grated English cucumber drains to create a firmer sauce. If you are using it strictly as a dip, try it. If you are smothering gyros or okra cakes, it is not necessary especially since the whole milk sour cream thickens the sauce slightly.
Let me know if you decide to drain the yogurt and how you like it. Many of you may have family recipes for Tzatziki sauce; please share if you are not sworn to secrecy. My sister-in-law as been waiting for a friend to send over her family recipe but she always seems to forget; I know she will be making this Tzatziki sauce this weekend since she has been craving it for years after visiting Greece.
1) Cut and Drain the Cucumber- Wash and dry 1 large English cucumber. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Use a handheld grater or cheese grater to grate the cucumber. Set the cucumber pieces in a fine mesh strainer or on a cheesecloth pulled tight with a rubber band over a bowl to drain for 10 minutes. Note: You can grate the cucumber whole by moving around the outside to avoid the seeds in the middle.
2) Mix the Sauce-In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup Greek whole milk yogurt, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 cloves of garlic finely minced or pressed, 1 teaspoon of organic lemon zest, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano and 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir together. Add cucumber after it has drained. Taste and season with Back to Organic Margarita Himalayan pink salt or Hand Harvested Fleur de Sel and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Note: If you do not have a microplane to zest, use 1 teaspoon of Back to Organic Lemon Twist Himalayan pink salt for the lemon zest or buy a fine microplane at The Cook’s Warehouse.
3) Serve- Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours for the best flavor. Serve over grilled vegetables, meat, gyros, pita bread and okra cakes. Tzatziki sauce also me makes a refreshing vegetable dip. Enjoy!
Why You Want to Eat This!
- Oregano is a natural antibacterial and may help your body fight off intestinal bugs and common infections. Oregano contains the essential oils thymol and carvacrol which inhibit bacterial growth. Oregano may help with staph infections and Giardia, an intestinal infection found in stagnant water. In fact, some research has shown Oregano is more effective at curing Giardia than the most commonly prescribed drug.
- Cucumbers contain a lot of water and fiber perfect for weight loss. They are also packed with vitamin K, C, molybdenum, and manganese as well as numerous flavonoid antioxidants, including quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol. In addition, there is promising research for anti-cancer benefits.
Recipe from Mary Moore, owner of The Cook’s Warehouse
Photos by TC Brodnax at Morningside Market
Vegetables provided by Crystal Organic Farms