Need an updated dip for your veggie tray? How bout a step up from the usual mint jelly for your lamb chops?
Tzatziki is a versatile dip/sauce traditionally served with Greek food (Gyro and Falafel etc). Typically made with Greek Yogurt, Tzatziki is tangy and flavorful with a thinner consistency. This Tzatziki uses cream cheese for a thicker, creamier sauce that goes great with any vegetable or meat!
SIDE NOTE: For an incredible Gyro in the 5 Cities, stop by Hapy Bistro off Oak Park and order the Gyro Sandwich. Authentic, delicious and a great way to try out Tzatziki before you make it!
- 1 small cucumber, grated and squeezed (about 1 cup).
- 1/2 cup cream cheese.
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs (mint, lemon balm, thyme, dill etc.)
- Zest of 1 small lemon.
- Juice of 1/2 small lemon.
- 2 cloves minced garlic.
- 1/4 tsp salt.
- 1/4 tsp black pepper.
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
1. Wash the cucumber. Then using the large grate of a box grater, grate the cucumber into a bowl. No need to slice or deseed the cucumber, simply grate as you would a block of cheese. Use as much of the cucumber as you can without endangering fingertips!
2. Lay two to three sheets of paper towels on the counter next to the sink. In small handfuls, squeeze the cucumber firmly, letting the liquid run into the sink. Place the squeezed cucumber on to the paper towels. Repeat until all cucumber is squeezed. Then, place more paper towels on top of the cucumber and press to release any extra liquid.
3. In a clean bowl, add squeezed cucumber, cream cheese, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Zest the whole lemon directly into the bowl. Then, cut the lemon in half and squeeze half only into the bowl with the other ingredients.
4. Gather your selected herbs. I enjoy using a combination of mint, lemon balm, thyme and dill, but you are welcome to choose your own or make up a new combination. The most important part is to select fresh herbs. To chop simply, gather the herbs and lay the leafs flat on top of one another (if using leafy herbs such as mint, lemon balm or basil). Roll the herbs into a tube. Then slice finely with kitchen shears or a very sharp knife. This minimizes bruising and keeps your herbs flavorful! You can cut the herbs directly into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
5. Stir gently to combine. Taste. Adjust seasonings if desired.
Serve with lamb chops, falafel or a veggie platter with pita chips!