By Loriel, contributing writer
One of the very few things that I remember about my childhood are the weekends I spent with my dad and hanging out with all my cousins. There were a lot of kids so it was like a huge extravaganza when we got together, which also meant lots of yummy food. My very favorite food has left an impression in my mind and taste buds forever — tzatziki sauce.
My aunt would make homemade falafels with tzatziki sauce and we’d stuff them in fresh pita with tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and feta. Oh yeah, I can remember the exact delicious taste — basically a party in the mouth.
My favorite thing about tzatziki is how light and refreshing it tastes. It’s perfect for warm days because the sauce is not heavy in any way and can be paired with simple foods like olives and feta. I really love using cucumber or red bell pepper as a dipping device for tzatziki because it totally adds to the fresh burst of flavor.
Unfortunately, you don’t get that same flavor profile from store-bought tzatziki because the product itself is never as fresh as homemade and often those sneaky unnecessary ingredients find their way into commercially made tzatziki, making it less healthy. Fortunately for you and me, tzatziki sauce is super easy to make at home and only requires a handful of ingredients you may have on hand already — cucumber, dill, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic.
You can opt to make tzatziki sauce with full-fat Greek yogurt but you can also make it with sour cream. The difference between the two is that tzatziki made with Greek yogurt is often more tangy while the tzatziki made with sour cream is more creamy. I like both, but I love creamy more.
Double check to make sure the Greek yogurt or sour cream you purchase only has real ingredients in it instead of thickeners, additives, and anything else the food industry likes to slip into our foods.
- 2 cups full-fat sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 large cucumber, halfway peeled, seeds removed and shredded (I use a simple grater like this)
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced (watch the size of your cloves because if you have 5 very large cloves, the sauce will be extra garlicky, which is not necessarily a bad thing)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1-1/2 Tablespoon unrefined, unfiltered olive oil (I like an olive oil with a stronger, spicy flavor for this but a smooth olive oil works great too)
- 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt (start with 1/2 tsp and then adjust accordingly)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Adjust flavor, if needed, by adding more of any of the following: lemon juice, dill, salt, pepper. Serve with soft pita wedges, olives, feta cheese, sliced red bell pepper, and possibly even some falafels!