Tuesday, March 10, 2009


There were a few things about the original recipe for this traditional Greek yogurt-cucumber condiment that perplexed me, so I took a little bit of artistic license.

The first issue is probably just the result of using soy yogurt in place of cow's milk yogurt. The recipe is based on first placing a 32-ounce carton of plain yogurt in a colander lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth, covering loosely with plastic wrap, and allowing to drain for 12 hours. As with the other times I have used this "yogurt cheese" method with soy yogurt, there is no liquid left at the end of my 12 hours! At the same time, the soy yogurt has condensed down, from about 3 cups to 2 cups. I remain perplexed as to where the remainder goes - evaporates into my fridge? Absorbs into the cheesecloth? Regardless, you should have about 2 cups of plain soy yogurt left in your colander after 12 hours. If you have any extra, reserve it for another use. Spoon those 2 cups of soy yogurt into a bowl, and cover and refrigerate until you're ready to proceed with the rest of the recipe.

(Oh right, my favorite brands to try for the 32-ounce soy yogurt are either Silk or Wildwood).

Shred 1 and 1/2 cups of cucumber (the large holes of a grater work well), and place in a colander. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and toss well to coat. Let drain for 15 minutes. Place the cucumber on paper towels, and squeeze dry between several layers. You'll probably need to repeat this step a few times for the cucumber to be fully squeezed dry, so I highly recommend recycled paper towels, like those from Seventh Generation, to ease the guilt factor!

Combine the cucumber, the soy yogurt, another 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint and 2 minced garlic cloves. (I realized at the last moment that there was but one garlic clove left in my fridge, so my final result was less garlic-y than intended - probably a good thing when it comes to kissing my boyfriend good night!).

Spoon into a serving dish and drizzle with olive oil - here is where my eyes popped, perplexed. The original recipe stated to drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil - but even a teaspoon drizzled on top seemed like, well, too much.... both in terms of visual presentation, and knowing what the nutritional value of the spread was supposed to be. So I drizzled my tzatziki with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Use a full tablespoon-ful if you prefer.

You'll have 3 cups total. The tzatziki is delicious with pita wedges as an appetizer, or as a spread for sandwiches - think in place of mayo for a vegan BLT, or combined in pita halves with hummus or falafel.

1/4 cup of the spread is 30 calories.

plain soy yogurt $2.99
cucumber $1.99
mint $1.99

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
  • Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html