Nothing says Greece and Greek islands and holidays quite as much as the famous Greek salad and tzatziki dip. So here is my homemade tzatziki and Greek salad recipes for you to try yourself. They are so easy to make and taste amazing, the true taste of Greek sunshine wherever you are.
homemade authentic tzatziki and Greek salad
I’m not here right now, I’m there! I’m there in Greece, one of my very favourite countries, lapping up the sunshine on the island of Crete. It is 14 years since I was last in Crete and I have missed it so much. Having spent over five years working there in my misspent youth Greece (and more especially the Greek Islands) has had a pull on me like no other country. Maybe it is my spiritual home, who knows.
Anyway I’m off on holiday just now so thought I would leave you with a couple of tasty and simple Greek dishes to give you a taste of some super recipes I shall share when I get home next week.
Enjoy this homemade Tzatziki and Greek Salad.
authentic tzatziki sauce
Tzatziki is probably the most well known of the Greek dips. This cool creamy cucumber dip is known the world over. You can buy it in any supermarket but when you make it yourself it taste so much better. By the way it is pronounced Sat-See-Kee, just for anyone interested in that kind of thing. Always helps in a taverna if you pronounce tzatziki properly.
Anyone can make a mistake……
The first time I ever made tzatziki was when I worked on the Greek island of Spetse (too many years ago to mention really) where I was working in my first holiday rep job. I had to make up the tzatziki for the beach picnic and didn’t have a clue. I was fine when dealing with the cucumber and garlic but the yogurt was my downfall. How was I to know that good Greek yogurt (and of course that’s what you get over there) always has a little disc of waxed paper lurking on the top. I didn’t notice this and glibly chucked two cartons into the vast bowl of tzatziki I was making. All was fine until the guests tucked into their picnic in the sunshine and some had the misfortune of munching on a mouthful of the hidden paper. I was mortified at my mistake and never lived it down with the other reps.
What’s in tzatziki
How to make tzatziki dipping sauce
- First you need to drain the excess water from the cucumber. This is important as cucumbers are just full of water, which although lovely and refreshing does nothing for your tzatziki if you don’t remove some of it first. If you don’t drain the cucumber you will end up with very watery tzatziki which is not pleasant. You want a rich creamy sauce.
- Simply peel the cucumber (you don’t need to do this if you are using the very thin skinned variety of cucumber that comes prepacked in the supermnarket. But you should remove the skin if it’s thick as it will make for a lot of texture in the sauce that you don’t want.
- Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and run a teaspoon down the middle. on each half. This will remove all the seeds. A lot of people don’t bother doing this bur this is how traditional tzatziki is made.
- Grate the cucumber then either put it in a sieve over a bowl to drain or wrap in a clean tea towel and give it a damn good squeeze. Either way, remove the excess water.
- While the cucumber is doing it’s thing mince the garlic and add it to the Greek yogurt along with the finely chopped mint.
- Mix in the drained cucumber and then add the dill.
- Finally finish off your tzatziki with a swirl of good Greek olive oil and an olive on top.
Pro tips on making tzatziki
The longer you can leave the garlic in the yogurt the better. The flavour will soften and become smoother with a bit of time.
Let the cucumber drain in sieve overnight and have the yogurt infusing with garlic while this happens
Add the dill last as it is a pungent herb and can easily overpower everything else
Use good quality Greek yogurt. You can even make your own, just check out How to make your own homemade Greek yogurt.
simple Greek salad (or Horiatiki)
This salad is a classic. Originally served without any form of leaves though nowadays many tavernas in Greece do add lettuce. Traditional Greek salad does not have lettuce.
Ingredients for a Greek salad
- Red peppers
- Green peppers
- Black Greek olives
- Red onion
- Dried Greek oregano
- Feta cheese crumbled
- Olive oil
- lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
Use the freshest salad ingredients
Use the freshest of veggies for your salad: juicy ripe tomatoes (use vine tomatoes for best flavour), crunchy cucumber, vibrant peppers, sharp onions and of course luscious black olives. Toss in the ubiquitous Feta cheese and olive oil and lemon juice and you are ready to go.
How to serve tzatziki sauce
- Traditionally tzatziki is served as a dip and forms part of a meze. A meze is a selection of small plates of dips and other goodies served at the start of the meal for everyone at the table to share. Or the meze can be the meal itself as there are so many wonderful Greek dishes that can be served in this way.
- It is also served as the sauce as part of a traditional gyro pitta.
- Serve with raw veggies or crisps as a dip
- Use with salmon, pork, gammon or chicken as a side sauce.
- Serve with a baked potato.
So here are two quick and easy recipes for you to try wherever you are while I enjoy reliving days gone by and building new memories in Crete.
Looking for more Greek dips? Then try these super recipes;
Finally, if you do try this homemade authentic tzatziki and Greek salad recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/rating below. I love hearing from readers and respond to everyone just as quickly as I can. Want more Larder Love, then follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook and sign up for my free weekly newsletter too.
Authentic tzatziki And Greek Salad
- 1 cucumber
- pinch of salt
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp of mixed dill and mint leaves minced
- 500 g/1 lb Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 6 vine tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red onion
- 100 g/3 1/2oz black olives
- 150 g/5oz Feta cheese
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- freshly ground black pepper
- Peel the cucumber and slice in half lengthwise and use teaspoon to run down the middle and remove the seeds. Grate add salt and leave in a sieve to drain (for an hour or even better overnight) or wrap in a clean tea towel and squeeze well to remove excess water)
- Squeeze out as much liquid from the cucumber as possible and place the pulp in a bowl.
- Spoon into a small bowl, stir through the chopped dill. Add a swirl of olive oil and an olive on top
- Mix garlic with yogurt and mint and let it infuse while cucumber draining. Add the drained cucumber and mix well.
- Chop the tomatoes, cucumber and pepper into large chunks and place in a large serving bowl.
- Slice the onion and add to the bowl.
- Add the Feta and olives and dress the salad with the olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning and dried oregano.
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