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Phew! Between both of my kids graduating (high school and college) and all the activities that go along with that, and then a two-week vacation with family and friends, it’s been a crazy and wonderful couple months. It feels like we’ve been eating out constantly, which has been challenging on the pocketbook and the waistline! Coming home to a heat wave didn’t exactly inspire me to start cooking regular meals again either.
My solution is to eat light and cool. Here’s a meal I made the other night. Have you tried tzatziki before? It’s a Greek yogurt-based dip with garlic and cucumbers that is delicious as a dip with veggies or spread on flatbread. If you want to pump up the protein you can cook up some chicken and slather the tzatziki on that too. It may be kind of an unconventional meal, but it hits the spot!
8 oz greek yogurt (I used 2% but fat free is good too)
1/2 cucumber, grated
½ teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (or ½ tbsp dried dill)
¼ tsp salt (not shown)
Pinch pepper (not shown)
Step 1: Grate the cucumber and place onto several strong paper towels.
I used an English cucumber (also known as hothouse) because it doesn’t have as many seeds and the skin is thin, that way I don’t have to peel it. If you use a regular cucumber, peel it and scrape some of the seeds out before you grate it.
Step 2: Wrap the cucumber up in the paper towels and SQUEEZE!
You’ll see a lot of water coming out. This is an important step or the tzatziki will turn out watery.
Step 3: Separate the dill leaves from the thick stems and chop it up.
Step 4: Combine all the ingredients and stir.
If you can resist eating the dip right away, leave it in the refrigerator for an hour or two so the flavors can combine more fully.
A note about the yogurt: Using Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt is key. If you use regular yogurt you’ll need to strain it for a few hours to get most of the water out. Using thick, Greek yogurt eliminates this step and it’s readily available at grocery stores.
A note about the garlic: I like using crushed garlic instead of minced garlic so I don’t chomp down on a garlic bit. But if minced garlic is all you have that will work fine too. Of course you can use fresh garlic too. Whatever you have, use the equivalent of one clove.
Serve this tangy tzatziki with cut up raw or grilled vegetables, Middle Eastern-type flatbread, pita chips, cooked chicken strips, fish – it’s great on so many things!