Tzatziki (aka What do I do with all these cucumbers?)

tzatziki

The little hands in my house love dipping just about anything into zesty tzatziki. Try pita, carrots, tomatoes, celery, snap peas, or just about any other vegetable! photo: Abigail Weber

Chances are, at this point in the summer, you’ve got plenty of cucumbers rolling around your vegetable crisper. In my home, that is a very good thing. My two boys cannot get enough of cucumber. I don’t think there is any preparation of this prolific veggie that they’d turn down. I use it pureed in cold summer soups (see Cool Cucumber and Purslane Soup), chopped in salads, tossed into stir-fries, and sliced up to dip into just about anything. I also happen to use it in a classic dip of its very own, Greek tzatziki. This creamy, cooling dip makes for a lovely appetizer or satisfying mid-afternoon snack. I even go so far as to use cucumber tzatziki to dress cucumbers themselves. For this easy salad, I toss sliced cucumbers in salt, let them drain in a colander for 20 minutes or so, then dress them with a few shakes of rice wine vinegar and a healthy dollop of tzatziki. I serve this salad next to just about any grilled meat or fish.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups grated cucumber (from about 2 Lebanese or 3 Kirby cucumbers)
1 1/2 cups 2% Greek yogurt
1 small garlic clove, finely grated*
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
Sumac, optional, to garnish
Pita, to serve

  1. In a colander set in the sink, place the grated cucumber. Using your hands, squeeze out the cucumber until most of the water from the cucumber has been extracted.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the cucumber, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, oil, salt, and mint. Stir until thoroughly combined. Serve sprinkled with sumac.

Nutritional analysis based on 1/4 cup serving:
Calories 39, Fat 2 g, Sodium 259 mg, Carbohydrate 4g, fiber 0g, Sugars 3g, Protein 2g

microplane

Use a Microplane to grate raw garlic into dips and dressings.

* When I use raw garlic in a dressing or dip, I turn to my Microplane to finely grate it. That way I can be sure to achieve garlic flavor without the sharpness associated with raw garlic.

 

 

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