This Tzatziki Greek Cucumber Salad recipe is a tangy twist on traditional tzatziki sauce. Enjoy it as a refreshing summer salad, a cooling side to spicy grilled meat or stuffed into gyros or tacos.
You may know tzatziki as the notoriously difficult-to-pronounce, delicious-to-eat Greek yogurt sauce from the Middle East.
Traditional Greek tzatziki sauce is a delicious cucumber dip made from creamy Greek yogurt, shredded cucumber, dill, and garlic and is usually served with gyros and kebabs.
The flavors are just so golldarn delicious that I decided to spin them into a salad by substituting grated cucumber for sliced. Think of it as a sort of deconstructed tzatziki.
You're going to love this
This refreshing summer cucumber salad is a deliciously cool relief for spicy wings or tacos
Fast and easy to make — you can whip this up in about 10 minutes
Super versatile — you can make this your own by zhuzhing it up with cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese …
Plain Greek yogurt. You can use full-fat Greek yogurt, low fat or fat-free. Up to you.
Fresh lemon juice and zest. Zingy lemon juice and lemon zest brighten up this cucumber salad. Fresh lime juice and zest would also be a great option.
Fresh garlic. Fresh garlic has a nice little bite to it. In a pinch, you can use garlic powder.
Fresh dill and fresh mint. If you’re not into dill or mint, use ones you love. Parsley or chives would be delicious. Fresh herbs add the brightest flavor, but if all you have are dried, substitute one teaspoon of dried herbs for one tablespoon of fresh.
English cucumber. English cucumbers are the ones wrapped in plastic. They’re seedless cucumbers with a thin skin, so no need to peel or seed them. You can use regular cucumbers, you’ll just need to peel them (if they have a waxy skin) and seed them.
Shallot. Shallots add sweet, mild onion flavor with a bit of sharpness. You can also use red onion, green onions, or one of these green onion substitutes.
Prepare the cucumbers. This step takes 30-60 minutes, but it’s important because it draws out excess moisture and keeps the cucumbers from watering down the salad.
Place the colander over a bowl or in the sink and let the cucumbers sit for 30-60 minutes. Rinse them with cold water and allow them to drain. Pat them dry with paper towels.
In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest, dill, mint, garlic, black pepper, and salt, if it needs it (it may be salty enough from the draining process).
Add the sliced shallot and cucumber slices to the dressing and gently toss until coated.
Store this cucumber yogurt salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The cucumbers will release a little water, which will thin the dressing, which is already pretty thick. If you would like to thicken it up, just stir in a little more yogurt.
To keep the cucumbers from watering down this tzatziki salad, salt and drain them to remove excess water.
English cucumbers don’t need to be peeled and seeded. If you use regular cucumbers, they will need to be peeled (if they have waxy skin) and seeded.
Use fresh herbs, if possible, as they add bright, fresh flavor to this salad.
Cucumbers are about 95% water, so when they’re cut, they’re going to release too much moisture into the salad.
To draw some of the water out, place cucumber slices in a colander, toss them with big pinch of salt, and let them sit for 30-60 minutes.
Rinse off the salt with cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
This will make a noticeable difference and your salad will be less watery than if you hadn’t taken this step.
This tzatziki salad is a refreshing side dish to serve with any summer meal of grilled chicken, fish, and ribs or as a cool relief with spicy hot wings or jerk chicken. You can also use it as a condiment and stuff it in gyros, tacos, wraps, and burgers, or scoop it up with pita chips.
Fresh cucumbers pair deliciously with:
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Tzatziki Greek Cucumber Salad Recipe
- 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup shallot. sliced
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Prepare the cucumbers. This step takes 30-60 minutes, but it’s important because it draws out excess moisture and keeps the cucumbers from watering down the salad. Slice cucumbers thinly with a sharp knife or mandolin. I use the 1/16” setting on my mandolin. Place the sliced cucumbers in a colander and toss them with about a teaspoon of salt. Place the colander over a bowl or in the sink and let the cucumbers sit for 30-60 minutes. Rinse them with cold water and allow them to drain. Pat them dry with paper towels.
- In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest, dill, mint, garlic, black pepper, and salt, if needed. It may be salty enough from the draining process.
- Add the sliced shallot and cucumber slices to the dressing and gently toss until coated.
- Store this cucumber yogurt salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.