Here is my version of the classic Greek/Turkish meze, tzatziki. Traditionally, this would be served as a sauce for gyros or souvlaki, or with pita bread for dipping. I love it by itself or over salads or as a salad accompaniment. The flavors are clean, and in spite of the dairy creaminess, refreshing. Of all the versions I’ve experimented with, this is my favorite. The salting technique adds a level of finesse to such a simple salad because you can completely avoid the inevitable weeping cucumber juice and any residual bitterness. Also, you can make it a few hours ahead of time, and because it’s well-drained, by the time you serve it, it should still be thick and flavorful! Ideally you would use organic cucumbers which will be far richer sources of benefits (vitamins A and C as well as, potassium, manganese, folate, dietary fiber, magnesium and the important mineral silica) than conventionally raised cucumbers. If conventional cucumbers are what you have available be sure to wash and peel the skin to reduce amounts of pesticides and wax in your diet! So combine the crisped cucumber strands with the incredible fat from organic cultured dairy and you will have a dish both ridiculously delicious and powerfully healthy!


3 cucumbers, or 2 larger English/Persian cucumbers

1 cup sour cream

1 cup labne, kefir cheese, or strained whole milk yogurt

Sea salt

Handful of mint sprigs (about 1/4 cup, minced)


1. Peel cucumber if necessary. De-seed if desired. Grate and transfer to cloth-lined colander.

2. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp. salt, toss lightly to mix. Allow to drain 20-30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, rinse, dry and tear the leaves off the mint sprigs. Finely mince the mint.

4. Whisk the labne and sour cream together with the mint.

5. Squeeze the drained cucumber until most of the moisture is removed. You could twist the cloth it’s been draining in, into a bag and squeeze or simply use your hands. Either way, there will be surprising amounts of cucumber juice to squeeze out!

6. Mix the cucumbers together with the sour cream mixture and check for additionally needed salt, starting with 1/4 tsp. and increasing until the flavor is full and interesting but not salty.

7. Chill until mealtime.

This entry was published on November 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm. It’s filed under Light Bites, Salads, Spring, Summer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Tzatziki

  1. momument on said:

    Especially beautiful photos this time! (Lovely dishes, too!)

  2. It’s that hard-to-work with autumn light!

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