A few years ago, tzatziki was all I could think about. These days I’ve moved on to yogurt salad. The influx of Mediterranean and middle eastern restaurants in Bay Ridge has certainly contributed to the habit. Finding a lack of “tzatziki” listed on the menu I was driven to enjoy my pita with other yogurt dips like haydari and yogurt salad. In honestly, I think haydari might be my new favorite, but I haven’t yet perfected the home recipe. In the meantime, yogurt salad is a perfectly satisfying replacement.
There’s minor differences between yogurt salad and tzatziki. Tzatziki has a thicker base from either greek or strained yogurt. The cucumber is shredded thinner and all the flavors are there but the result is a thick, smoother dip. On the other hand, yogurt salad is made from regular plain yogurt, diced or coarsely shredded cucumber and spices. The result is a thinner, almost soupy dip. Rather than dipping your pita or bread, it requires more of a scooping action and while not suitable for topping turkey burgers, I’d a refreshing blend of cool yogurt with lots of cucumber chunk flavor.
Cool Yogurt Salad (Makes about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 medium cucumber, coarsely grated or finely diced (about 1 cup)
- Sea salt
- 1 small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 c plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Squeeze any extra water from the cucumber as you transfer it to a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt. Add dill, mint and garlic powder. Stir in yogurt, lemon juice and olive oil. Don’t worry, the dip will be a little soupy. Season with additional salt if needed and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving with pita corners, crusty bread or tortilla chips.