When I was growing up in Red Deer, there was a farmer’s market stall where every Saturday one of my parents would go buy little tubs of tzatziki along with a bag of pita or focaccia to dip into it. The bread would often run out before the tzatziki, so we would end up dunking some of mom’s favourite tortilla chips into the creamy dip before the week was over. Sadly, when the farmer’s market closed for winter, we would begin several months of tzatziki-free existence, which was obviously unacceptable. After way too many years of this (plus the advent of online recipe databases), my mom finally sourced her own recipe and began making it herself.
My mom isn’t Greek, but her ardent love Greek food means that when I think of snacking at her house, it’s a bowl of tzatziki with blue corn chips while we catch up on all the family news or make our plans for the rest of the day. She makes a mean souvlaki, lemon roasted potato and Greek salad – not to mention her baklava – and this tzatziki always makes a great accompaniment.
Mom found her favourite tasty tzatziki recipe at the Wanderlust Kitchen (an awesome recipe blog if you want to check it out!), but we’ve made a few changes to the original. Mom always uses mini cucumbers when possible because the higher peel-to-flesh ratio in the smaller cucumbers means a brighter, greener taste (and less volume lost down the sink as water!) When she forwarded the recipe for me to start making myself, I increased the acid and switched it out with lemon juice. I also doubled the dill because I’m wild like that.
I highly suggest making this the day before, though it’ll work the day-of in a pinch. Since I use a strong olive oil, it can make the dip taste a bit grassy if it hasn’t had a few hours to mellow in the fridge. Also pro serving tip: try a scoop of this on a hot burger or pulled pork sandwich. You won’t be sorry!
- 3 large mini cucumbers, unpeeled
- 1.5 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a garlic press
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp minced fresh dill (dried dill works too)
- Olive, thinly sliced lemon and/or sprig of dill to garnish
- Grate the cucumber over a shallow bowl or deep plate, because they shed a ton of water.
- Gather the shredded cucumber into a cheesecloth or multiple layers of paper towel, then squeeze over a sieve to get as much of the water out as possible. If you use paper towel, you may end up tearing it and losing some of the cucumber, thus the sieve. If necessary, use a second application of paper towel to squeeze more of the water out. The cucumber should feel crumbly to the touch and when you put it back into a dry bowl, it shouldn’t be seeping very much moisture.
- Combine all ingredients in a ceramic or glass bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Serve chilled with pita bread or grilled meats (or tortilla chips if you want to snack to your highest potential like my mom and me!)