A basic cucumber dip recipe is a great way to use up plain yoghurt and cucumber. Serve as a dip or use it as a sauce. Here’s how to make it.
Cucumber dip with yoghurt and mint (Tzatziki) is an easy and delicious dip to make and an economical way to use up leftovers.
I like to serve this dip with toasted Turkish bread, ciabatta bread or homemade pita crisps. You can also serve this as part of a larger nibbles platter or as a sauce accompaniment (see below for ideas).
The ingredients of tzatziki are plain yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, and a little lemon for tanginess.
To this basic recipe, you can add herbs if you like. My favourite herb to add is mint (which is similar to Raita) but you can also use coriander (cilantro), dill or parsley.
As this dip is Greek-inspired, it would be natural to use Greek yoghurt. While I love Greek yoghurt for its thick creaminess, it’s not very good for the environment, at least not quantities we’re consuming on a global scale. So I opt for natural yoghurt to make tzatziki dip instead.
To thicken natural yoghurt, you can put the yoghurt in a strainer lined with a clean cloth to drain overnight. Place the strainer over a bowl and keep in the fridge.
Don’t throw out the whey that collects in the bowl, which would defeat the purpose of the exercise anyway. Whey gives baked goods a light fluffy texture, so use the whey in pancakes, muffins and scones.
On to the cucumber. Cucumbers are 96% water! So some of that water needs to be drained out so that the tzatziki dip isn’t too sloppy.
To do this, grate the cucumber and place in a strainer over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt – the salt will help draw out the water.
You can leave the cucumber to sit overnight in the fridge or you can speed up the process by gently squeezing the excess water out with your hands.
Using Cucumber Dip as a Sauce
You can use Tzatziki as a sauce as well as a dip.
Serve as a sauce on any grilled or pan-fried chicken, lamb, beef.
It goes beautifully in a Gyros – a Greek sandwich using pita bread, leftover grilled meat, tomatoes, cucumber and Tzatziki, similar to a Doner Kebab.
It doesn’t just go with meat, however. It’s also great drizzled on pizza, drizzled over roast vegetables or felafel. You can even use it as a salad dressing.
- 3/4 cup of plain natural yoghurt
- 1 cucumber, grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. lemon rind, grated (optional)
- 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Drain the grated cucumber and squeeze out excess liquid.
- Mix all ingredients together. Taste and season.
- Transfer to a serving bowl to serve.
This dip is best made a few hours ahead of time so that the flavours have time to meld and develop.
Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 8Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g
Nutritional information is calculated automatically using the Nutritionix database. Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on factors such as precision of measurements, brands, ingredient freshness, serving size or the source of nutrition data. We strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but make no warranties regarding its accuracy. We encourage readers to make their own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.