I am someone who cooks as a hobby, but I can appreciate how cooking can sometimes be intimidating. So many ingredients! Unclear directions! Where to begin? But, take heart — if you can read, you can cook. And what better place to start than with a recipe with 5 real ingredients? This recipe is for tzatziki, a traditional Greek dip made from strained, plain yogurt. It packs an impressive nutritional punch — big on flavor and low in calories and fat. Trust me when I say the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for it to be finished! This versatile side dish is a simple way to build your cooking repertoire. Here’s the tzatziki recipe:
Ingredients (makes six servings):
- 16 ounces plain Greek yogurt (low-fat, rather than non-fat or full-fat, is best)
- 3/4 cup shredded cucumber, peeled and seeded
- 1/4 cup dill, finely chopped
- 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Good olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1. In a medium bowl fitted with a strainer, empty yogurt into the strainer and place in the refrigerator, covered with a paper towel, at least 4 hours. You want the excess liquid to drain off the yogurt so it thickens.
- Peel, de-seed and shred cucumber with a handheld grater
- In another medium sized bowl fitted with another strainer, place shredded cucumber in the strainer and press with a spoon to release any liquid. Place in the refrigerator, covered with a paper towel, at least 4 hours (this works best if you place a small weight over it — a large apple or a can of soup works well)
- When 4 hours have elapsed, prepare the garlic, lemon and dill, set aside
- In a large bowl, combine yogurt and cucumber, mix with garlic, lemon juice and dill
- Taste and season to your liking with salt and pepper
- 7. Drizzle your best olive oil over the top of the yogurt and serve very cold with pita chips, crackers or crudités
Nutritional information for one serving: 65 calories, 5g carbohydrates, 2g fat, 8g protein Peel and seed the cucumber Place peeled and seeded cucumber into a strainer and weigh it down with what you have Place everything into a bowl, mix taste and season with salt and pepper Serve with your favorite crunchy snacks Tzatziki gets better everyday, so don’t be afraid to make a big batch and use it all week. It’s great instead of mayonnaise in wraps or on sandwiches. Or can be used as a topping for roasted salmon. The possibilities are endless. And so are your abilities in the kitchen by starting slowly and learning as you go.
Megan Wolf is a New York City based Registered Dietitian and the owner of Megan Wolf Nutrition, a nutrition counseling and consulting private practice. She holds a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is a speaker, an avid cook, recipe creator and writer for her blog, The Domesticated Wolf– www.thedomesticatedwolf.com. You can follow her for more recipe inspiration and healthy living ideas on Twitter , Instagram, and Facebook.