Bring Greece Home: 5-Minute Tzatziki Sauce

Friends, family and food are three words that come to mind when I think of the Greek culture. My husband and I have been able to travel to Greece a couple of times to visit friends, and we are always welcomed with hugs and delicious cuisine. The mother of one of our friends does not speak English, but she conveys her happiness to have us as guests by making sure our bellies are full and our mouths are happy. She asked if I liked yogurt and coffee within the first 5 minutes of meeting her. After I nodded enthusiastically, I don’t think my cup was ever void of a Greek frappé and I always had a fresh bowl of tzatziki sauce at my disposal.

Tzatziki sauce is a yogurt-based sauce flavored with fresh cucumber, dill, lemon and garlic. It’s excellent on grilled meat, fresh pitas, and as a vegetable dip. And don’t forget how healthy yogurt is with nine essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, Vitamin D and potassium. This is a great recipe to introduce your family to cuisines of the world. Kids can help you make it and they will love it as a dip.

Step One: Gather the ingredients. I naturally chose Greek yogurt for a thicker texture, and Mediterranean sea salt – must go authentic when cooking ethnic cuisines!

Step 2: Measure out the yogurt. This is one of my favorite sauces because it’s so healthy. When you make it at home, you can control whether the sauce is made with low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Yogurt provides a natural source of high-quality protein plus eight other essential nutrients. That beats a mayo-based sauce or dip any day.

Step 3: Chop your cucumber. The recipe calls for 1 cup of peeled and seeded cucumber, but the dietitian in me cannot throw away a nutritious peel or seeds, so I always keep mine on. (If a fruit or vegetable has an edible peel, I am in total favor of eating it. I don’t think my daughter knows you can peel an apple and I don’t want her to find out.) It may change the texture of the sauce a bit, but I’ll take that for the added vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Step 4: Add the flavor: Dill, garlic, salt and lemon juice.

Step 5: Mix together.

Bringing different cuisines into your kitchen can help expand your family’s palates and introduce new, healthy foods. I love tzatziki sauce for its fresh, simple flavor and versatility. In just five simple steps, you have a delicious sauce. I typically make this and just keep it in the fridge. We eat it with fresh pitas, vegetables and even grilled meat. And I always stand by this: If your kid can dip it, she will eat it.

By Sarah Ryan, MS, RDN, LD

Sarah is a registered dietitian nutritionist and foodie. She has a special interest in sports nutrition and is certified in food allergy training. When she isn't working, you can find her in the kitchen baking delicious cakes and beautiful pies. Learn more about Sarah

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