If you have ever been to a Meditterannean restaurant, you have likely tried cucumber sauce, also commonly called tzatziki sauce, and loved it. This low-fat, ultra-tasty sauce makes a fantastic sandwich topper, salad dressing, dip for snacks, and topping for grilled meats like chicken, lamb, and beef. It’s also very simple to make and stores well. Here is my personal recipe for the best quick and easy cucumber sauce.
- 2 (8 ounce) containers plain yogurt
- 2 cucumbers – peeled, seeded and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill and mint, each (to taste)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced finely
Before making the sauce, strain the yogurt through a cheesecloth or very fine mesh strainer in the fridge overnight. This will eliminate most of the excess moisture from the sauce.
Grate your cucumber (I leave the peels on for flavor and color). I prefer to use the coarse side of the grater because I like the texture of the larger pieces of cucumber, but if you want a smoother sauce, use the finer side of the grates. Set aside in paper towels, allow to drain, squeeze off the excess moisture. Or, use your food processor.
Combine the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, and cucumber in a large bowl, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Stir carefully to avoid “breaking” the yogurt. Add in the chopped mint, dill, salt, pepper, and lemon juice gradually, stirring slowly and tasting until you’re happy with the flavor. One note: this sauce has a kick with the garlic, decrease or increase the garlic depending on your taste. Also, remember that the flavor intensifies as the sauce sits. If it’s too strong right away, add more yogurt, because it will only get stronger with time. It’s always best to make it a little too bland at first and then set it to sit overnight–you’ll be amazed at how it matures.
Cover and chill in the fridge for AT LEAST an hour prior to serving. It’s best if left overnight. It keeps for a week or more in the fridge in a sealed container (it actually tastes better the longer it keeps, make sure to stir it before serving), and it can be frozen if needed. Serve on top of grilled chicken or veggies on a warm pita, or as a dip or topping for just about anything. Your kids WILL ask for more of this fresh, cool, wonderful quick and easy cucumber sauce!