Tzatziki that’s vegan.
This recipe is a bit of a revelation to me. Let me explain why, beginning with a little digression…
I have a hard time picking favorites when it comes to food – specific items or dishes, restaurants, cuisines, etc. So I just accept the fact that I have many favorites. And one such favorite, when it comes to cuisines, is Greek food. I love everything about it. Mezes like tzatziki and taramasalata, gigantes with tomato, horiatiki salad with tangy feta, lamb, fish, lightly grilled pita, baklava, galaktoboureko… yup, I love it all. And when I have the opportunity to go to a really great Greek restaurant (a rarer occasion now due to proximity), I will happily partake in any of these. But, there are obvious animal-derived ingredients in the mix that I otherwise regularly stay away from.
Actually, I take back what I said before about never being able to pick favorites – as much as I love all of those Greek foods I listed, I can pick one favorite: tzatziki. I can make a bowl of it and some warm pita bread vanish awfully quickly!
I used to make it the traditional way – with strained/Greek plain yogurt – but since focusing on eating a majorly plant-based diet, I was determined to find an alternative base around which to make it. Lo and behold, silken tofu turned out to be just the thing. I am still a little surprised when I make this at how close to the dairy version this tastes and feels. I really think if someone had just set a dish of this vegan tzatziki in front of me, I would have eaten it and not known that it was made with tofu (which also gives it an added dose of healthy!).
When I got the recipe just right for the first time, I was so excited and enjoyed it so much that I kept making things for dinner that it would go with (see photo above!), so I’d have an excuse to eat it. Not that I need an excuse. But you know what I mean. And when we ran out, I made more. And so on. It’s that good!
Here’s the recipe (and by the way, stay tuned for recipes on the other components of the dishes in the pictures above… oven-“fried” zucchini, oven-“fried” pickles, roasted sweet potato chips, cucumber dill salad, sweet potato veggie burgers…):
Recipe: Tzatziki, Veganized
What You Need
- 14 oz package of soft/silken tofu (organic, non-GMO), drained
- the juice of one medium lemon (about 2-3 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus another 1/2 tbsp separated
- 1 medium/large cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated, with excess water squeezed out*
- 2-4 tbsp chopped fresh dill, or 3 tsp dried dill (measurements depend on how much dill you like – I like a lot!)
What You Do
- Put garlic in blender or food processor container (I use my mini Cuisinart food processor for this recipe) and grind until it’s finely shredded
- Add the tofu and pulse to combine with the garlic
- Add the lemon juice and vinegar and blend until the texture gets smoother and creamier
- Add the salt and pepper, pulse to combine (taste now and add more if desired)
- Add the olive oil and blend to thoroughly combine
- Using a spatula, scoop the mixture into a bowl, add the cucumber and dill and stir to distribute evenly
- Add in the remaining 1/2 tbsp olive oil and stir
- Taste again for seasoning – serve/eat right away, or store in the fridge (keep in mind the garlic will come through more the longer you keep this in the refrigerator)
- Serve with warm pita bread, sliced veggies, a veggie burger, fish, rice – you name it!
*Once the cucumbers are grated, take some in your fist and squeeze over the sink to wring out some of the water. I also let the prepared cuke sit on paper towels until I’m ready to throw it in the mix.