20 September 2013

Recipe - Amy's Tzatziki Salad

Inspired by this article about Savory Yogurt Toppings on The Kitchn, I decided to experiment with a new recipe. There is a Greek food cart near my workplace called Woo Woo Greek Food - the explanation is that it's the sound a train whistle makes, and their cart was decorated to look like a train car! Their gyros are delicious - soft pita bread filled rotisserie meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce!

Tzatziki is a condiment made from strained yogurt (aka Greek yogurt), diced cucumber, and seasonings. It is served as a dip or as a delicious topping for sandwiches, wraps, or even pizza. Tzatziki is  is vegetarian, gluten free, heart healthy, high protein, low carb, and lowfat!

I decided to make a chunkier version of this dish as sort of a yogurt salad. It ends up tasting like chopped veggies smothered in tangy ranch dip!

A few notes about the ingredients:
Cucumber: I used a large cucumber because it was the only option at the grocery store - I would have preferred to use an English cucumber (long and thin, usually wrapped in plastic), because they are sweeter and you don't have to scoop out the seeds. If you use a regular cucumber, slice it in half longways and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon or melon baller.
Tomato: I used 4 golf-ball-sized vine-ripened tomatoes, but 1 large tomato (or 2 medium, or 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes) would work fine. You don't want to include the watery, seedy centers - just the firm outside flesh. Slice the tomato in half side-to-side, and gently squeeze out the goopy seed packets.
Herbs: I used a combination of dill, parsley, and Italian herbs.
Yogurt: Make sure your yogurt is plain. Vanilla is not plain - vanilla is sweetened and flavored! Many recipes recommend that you strain your Greek yogurt for 2-3 hours, with cheesecloth or coffee filters suspended over a bowl or large measuring cup, for a thicker consistency. If you are using regular (not Greek) yogurt, you will need to strain the yogurt for 14-15 hours for the right consistency.
Pita chips: I like to eat this with flavored pita chips, like Stacy's Parmesan, Garlic, and Herb.

Amy's Tzatziki Salad
Servings: 4 main dishes or 8-12 side dishes

1 large cucumber (or 1 English cucumber)
1 sweet bell pepper
1 large tomato, seeds removed
1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (black or white)
1 tsp dried dill (or 2 tsp fresh)
1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbs fresh)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cups plain lowfat Greek yogurt
Pita chips, for serving

Finely dice or grate your cucumbers (drain if it seems watery - you don't want watery tzatziki!). Dice the bell pepper. Dice and drain the tomato. Add all of the vegetables (yes, I know all 3 of these are technically fruits...) to a large bowl. Zest the lemon and add about half of the lemon juice to the vegetables. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper, dill, parsley, and olive oil.

At this point, I divided the vegetable mixture among 4 lidded containers so I could take individual portions to work for lunch. Add 1/2 cup yogurt on top right before leaving in the morning, and stir it all together at lunch time. Eat with pita chips!

Disclosure: Though this post contains affiliate links, I have not been compensated in any way for writing this post or pulling this information together.

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