Greek Tzatziki Guaranteed to be Thicker and Stronger

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Ready to eat - Greek Tzatziki Guaranteed to be thicker and stronger www.compassandfork.comGreek tzatziki is one of those quintessential, Greek dips known and loved throughout the world. A classic of Greek cuisine, it is perfect as an easy-to-make appetizer  you can enjoy on a sunny day prior to a BBQ or just for accompanying a chilled beverage with family and friends.

Gluten-free? Perfect when accompanied with julienned carrots, celery, red or green bell peppers (capsicums), and of course, cucumber. Also great with ciabatta or Turkish bread.

Our Greek tzatziki is actually a Cypriot version called talattouri. It is thicker in texture than Greek tzatziki because it is made with labna (strained yogurt). Don’t worry, it is simple to make and is becoming quite common in Mediterranean delicatessens. You can also use Greek-style yogurt, albeit not quite as thick as using labna.

We also take a look at some other classic, Greek dips as well as the commonality of diet throughout the Eastern-Mediterranean region, only to discover adjoining countries share many of the same fare but call them different names.

Read on to discover more.

A Trilogy of Greek Dips

When growing up, we were blessed to live in a city full of Greek restaurants. One of my endearing memories was to visit one of these fine establishments and order a trilogy of Greek dips. They were always the same 3 dips. Hummus, taramasalata (fish roe) and of course, tzatziki. The Holy Trinity of Greek dips was always popular.

Paphos Ruins - Greek Tzatziki Guaranteed to be thicker and stronger www.compassandfork.com
Ruins in Paphos, Cyprus

Since those simpler times, I have discovered other Greek dips that are just as good, such as Skordalia (potato and garlic) and Melitzanosalata (eggplant). But are they Greek?


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We have been fortunate enough to visit some other, nearby countries, Turkey, Bulgaria and let’s add Cyprus to that list. It becomes blindingly obvious that all 4 of these countries share a very common diet, of course, even if the dishes are called different names.

The yogurt from all of these countries is just superb. Without doubt the best I have tasted anywhere. Thicker than yogurt from other countries, outside of this region. They even make yogurt soup out of it as it is so good. Yogurt is used in all of these countries in the preparation of their dips and mezzes.

Cyprus Hiking - Greek Tzatziki Guaranteed to be thicker and stronger www.compassandfork.comThe same applies to feta cheese, great in salads and also great with breakfast such as Turkish poached eggs or the rather modern and eclectic avocado smash. Hard cheeses are also common throughout the region.

And did I say that Greek dips had their equivalents in Turkey and Bulgaria? Hummus is found everywhere throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. And check out this great arrangement of Turkish mezes. They might even be better than the trilogy of Greek dips! You could easily imagine eating this on a beach in Cyprus or Greece, maybe under a different name (and sometimes the names are the same).

So which country receives the credit for each of the dips and mezes? I would imagine they all claim it as their own. Greece often receives the credit because it is part of the West, but I suspect that is not the whole truth and Turkey, Bulgaria and Cyprus have played just as important a part for the great dips and mezes found throughout the region.

What do you think?

Greek Tzatziki or Should That Be Talattouri?

So in honor of not really knowing where tzatziki originated from, today we are featuring a Cypriot version of Greek tzatziki called talattouri, a refreshing labna (strained yogurt), cucumber and mint dip. If you can’t source labna, you can make your own labna. It’s simple! Or just use thick, Greek-style yogurt.

Talattouri takes only 5 minutes to make and can be prepared ahead of time, making it perfect for busy people.

Serve with small pieces of celery and cucumber. If you are not paleo or gluten-intolerant, ciabatta is also a good option.

Greek Tzatziki (Talattouri)
Greek Tzatziki (Talattouri)
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Talattouri is actually a Cypriot version of Greek tzatziki. Same great taste and basic ingredients, but made with labna (strained yogurt). The result is a thicker dip with no residual liquid. Greek-style yogurt may be used instead.
Servings Prep Time
6people 5minutes
Servings Prep Time
6people 5minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Grate the cucumber and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible (use a clean tea towel or a sieve and push down with the back of a spoon).
  2. Combine all ingredients. Check for seasoning. Chill before serving. Serve with small pieces of celery or cucumber. Also great with ciabatta if you are not paleo or gluten intolerant.Serving - Greek Tzatziki Guaranteed to be thicker and stronger www.compassandfork.com
Recipe Notes
Greek Tzatziki easy and healthy dip you can make at home. Great for a party- serve with ciabatta bread or a selection of fresh vegetables for dipping It's gluten free, paleo and vegetarian. www.compassandfork.com
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Another classic Greek recipe-Greek Tzatziki easy and healthy dip you can make at home. Great for a party- serve with ciabatta bread or a selection of fresh vegetables for dipping It's gluten free, paleo and vegetarian. www.compassandfork.com
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43 Responses

  1. abra
    | Reply

    I could literally put tzatziki on everything!

    • Editor
      |

      Yes healthy, light and tasty.

  2. Marta
    | Reply

    Thank you for this recipe! I love tzatziki but, embarrassingly, I must admit I never managed to make a decent one – until now, I hope! Will definitely give this a shot!

    • Editor
      |

      I’m sure you will be fine Marta. And a bonus that it is only a few minutes work. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Kevin Wagar
    | Reply

    Tzatziki is so refreshing and delicious with just about everything! Thanks for the amazing recipe. I’m really looking forward to trying some when I visit Greece!

    • Editor
      |

      You’ll love it Kevin. As you can see it is easy to make. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Serina aka Ms Frugal Ears
    | Reply

    This looks so incredibly fresh and delicious.

    • Editor
      |

      Fresh is the right word with the dill and dried mint.

  5. Laura
    | Reply

    I really like the idea of a thicker tzatziki. It gets runny fast for me, which would definitely be remedied by using the labna. I’ll try it tomorrow with my falafel.

    • Editor
      |

      Laura, I’ll be over!

  6. Elissa
    | Reply

    That “Holy Trinity” of dips are my three favourite dips, too. I’ve never used labna in cooking before, I will have to give it a try, it sounds delicious.

    • Editor
      |

      Elissa, Once you discover labna, you will be amazed at the uses you will find for it. A great cream cheese substitute as well.

  7. Eileen | The Food Avenue
    | Reply

    I really want to try this recipe out. I love Greek food!

    • Editor
      |

      Eileen, I love Greek food as well so fresh and healthy. Have a look around the site, there are a lot more Greek recipes.

  8. Lauren
    | Reply

    I love Mediterranean food, so making homemade tzatziki is right up my street!

    • Editor
      |

      Lauren, Enjoy the recipe. Have a look around there are a lot of Greek and Turkish recipes on Compass & Fork.

  9. Gary
    | Reply

    Thankyou ive always wondered why my tzatziki was always so runny.

    • Editor
      |

      Gary, Yes if you make it with yogurt and the yogurt settles, it can be quite runny. Try the labna, it is really quite nice.

  10. Anna @ shenannagans
    | Reply

    This post reminded me of my apprentice chef days, I was responsible for making the dips and accompaniments for a buffet where we were serving 2500 people, I remember grating and squeezing cucumber for ages, but mostly listening to the chefs sharing their stories of when they travelled and how they had been taught to make the dip, the secret ingredient was always a pinch of paprika. Love your gorgeous bowl, cant wait to make your version. 🙂

    • Editor
      |

      Anna, Wow! I can’t imagine making it for 2500! And the paprika would be great in it, might have to try that. Thanks for the tip.

  11. Krysten (#momnoms)
    | Reply

    I have been looking for a good Tzatziki recipe! Thank you so much for this!

    • Editor
      |

      Krysten, Hope you enjoy it! I am sure you will find many more uses of Labna as well.

  12. Diana
    | Reply

    Tzaziki is one of my favourite things ever! I usually make it with light greek yoghurt though, but never tried making it with Labaneh. Will have to give this a try!

    • Editor
      |

      It is a different texture but same great taste. And we have used dill – magnificent. Thanks for your comment.

  13. I’m not a big fan of yogurt but I do love tzatziki! I love that you have some mint in there for brightness, it looks so good!

    • Editor
      |

      Yes the mint and the dill are a big part of the dish. Thanks for your comment.

  14. Okay I’ll admit something, I’ve never had this sauce. I’ve been to a family owned Gyro place dozens of times but always say “no sauce” because I had no idea what was in it. Now that I do know, I really want to try it or even make it myself like you did.

    • Editor
      |

      Cat, I love your honesty! The tatziki is just great. As you can see it is full of healthy stuff. And easy to make. Thanks for your comment.

  15. Definitely the thickest I’ve seen and so flavourful! Perfect party food!

    • Editor
      |

      Yes it is hard to beat. It’s a popular dip! Thanks for your comment.

  16. Amanda
    | Reply

    I love Tzatziki but have never had Talattouri. Love how thick and creamy it looks. Saving this and your labna post.

    • Editor
      |

      Thanks Amanda, I hope you enjoy it. If you tzatziki then you will love talattouri. Thanks for your comment.

  17. here’s my new tzaziki recipe! labna is totally new to me, thanks for letting us know 🙂

    • Editor
      |

      My pleasure, a great little appetizer.

  18. Tzatziki is one of our all-time favourite dips/sauce. We always ask for extras at a restaurant so we finally just decided to make our own. We dip cucumbers in it, we use it for chicken and naan, we love it! We’ll definitely try your recipe. Looks awesome. And I love your background story 🙂
    PS: we love hummus too, I don’t think we’ve ever tasted taramasalata though

    • Editor
      |

      I’m glad you enjoyed the background story. Being an avowed lover of tzatziki, I’m sure you will enjoy this thicker version. I haven’t tried it with naan, but it sounds like a winner. Thanks for the heads up!

  19. Tracy | Baking Mischief
    | Reply

    I always learn so much when I read your posts! This looks so good, definitely something I’d like to spread over a piece of ciabatta bread!

    • Editor
      |

      Tracy, thanks again for your kind comment. The tzatziki is a nice contrast to the crunch of the ciabatta.

  20. Peter L. Block
    | Reply

    I am with you on Greek dips. Love them and made a number of them. Mark, I love that you used labna.

    • Editor
      |

      It was a bit of fun to make the labna and only 2 minutes work. Thanks for your comment Peter.

  21. This really does look so nice and thick. I love a great tzatziki sauce….perfect party app!!

    • Editor
      |

      Yes and quite healthy for you. Goes beautifully on flat breads with grilled meat and salad also. Thanks for your comment.

    • Editor
      |

      You are right about varying the time,to make it thinner or thicker. I love the richness of it. Thanks for your comment.

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