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LiveBest: Tzatziki, your new favorite sauce

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Besides spelling it, the hardest thing about tzatziki is finding foods it’s not good with.

I’ve spooned it over beets, dipped carrots and snap peas in it, slathered it on warm, soft pita, scooped it with chips, plopped it on grilled chicken and dolloped it on meatballs.

Used in Greek and Middle Eastern cooking, this creamy yogurt, cucumber sauce is a bowlful of deliciousness. Even though it is, I doubt anyone would say tzatziki screams healthy. But they usually like it. Seems everyone does when I serve it, but I don’t think they know how easy it is to make.

You can find it premade in the deli or refrigerated section of most grocery stores, but it’s so easy to make, I encourage you to give it a try. Shredded cucumber and yogurt stirred together with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs takes less than 10 minutes.

Pronouncing it can be a stumbling block. Just ignore the first letter and you’ve got it. Zahd-zee-kee. Once you’ve got that, this quick and easy recipe may be your new favorite sauce.

Tzatziki

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

1 shredded cucumber, about a cup

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, (reserve 1 teaspoon to drizzle over finished dip)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or ½ teaspoon dried dill

2 tablespoon fresh mint or parsley, chopped (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

If you’re not using thick Greek-style yogurt, strain yogurt to remove whey. Line a colander with paper towels and spoon yogurt in colander. Set over a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Shred unpeeled cucumber with large holes of grater or food processor. Using a clean towel or paper towels, scoop a handful of shredded cucumber into towel and squeeze over sink. Allow the cucumber juice to drain out. Cucumbers are about 98 percent water, so if you don’t squeeze, you’ll have a watery sauce.

Stir ingredients together. You can serve it immediately, but flavors develop if you can give it a 30-minute rest. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over top.

Mint and parsley are optional. I prefer the dip with them, but if you don’t have them on hand, don’t let that stop you, go ahead and make it. Think about this dip when you have some of these herbs available from another recipe or growing in the garden.

Recipe source: Judy Barbe

Judy Barbe is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of “Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest: Simple Solutions for Fresh Food & Well-Being.” Visit her website www.LiveBest.info for every day food solutions.

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