Oh man do I ever love tzatziki. I would whip up a batch of this stuff (pre-vegan days) and eat all of it mindlessly. I’d add so much garlic that it was embarrassing to go out afterwards but I didn’t really care. It was so good.
I haven’t had a single bite of tzatziki since going vegan four years ago.
Actually, I am surprised it has taken me this long to make a vegan version of tzatziki. Now with the abundance of vegan yogurts available easily at the grocery store and health food store I suppose it’s back in my mind again. Aside from the substitution of plain vegan yogurt for the regular Balkan-style yogurt that’s the only alteration I had to make to my original recipe.
Speaking of yogurts . . .
Vegan yogurts – or at least all the ones I’ve tried so far – aren’t going to be exactly like regular yogurt, especially if you were fond of Balkan-style. That being said, some of them are quite impressive. I am not a huge fan of the soy yogurts for the same reason I am not a fan of soy milk. I find them a tad chalky-tasting. But I’ve tried almond yogurt and coconut yogurt and both are rather pleasant.
When I bought the plain coconut yogurt for this recipe I didn’t think it would have sugar in it. It does. It’s actually quite sweet for a plain yogurt. In fact, after looking it up online it seems like most non-dairy yogurts have sweetener in them and very few can be found that are unsweetened. A bit disappointing actually. But, I still used it and just adjusted my seasoning as needed to counteract any of the sweetness that came through after it was mixed up and sat for a bit. It wasn’t really that sweet tasting in the end.
My original recipe calls for 2 cups worth of yogurt that gets strained overnight in cheesecloth. My container was only 454 grams – so roughly 1 3/4 cups worth of non-dairy yogurt. I still used the regular measurements for everything else because it turns out there’s not much liquid to strain out of non-dairy yogurt like there is in Balkan yogurt so I really think the measurements ended up being very similar. The So Delicious Plain Coconut Yogurt I used did not drain any liquid through the cheesecloth and it ended up being a real pain to scrape the yogurt off the cheesecloth. The brand of non-dairy yogurt you use may need to be strained.
The one non-negotiable in this recipe is the use of fresh garlic and fresh dill. If you don’t have either of those, don’t make this. You’ll be less than impressed if you try to use jarred minced garlic or garlic powder and dried dill. Now, that being said, fresh minced dill that has been frozen may be a passable substitute only if fresh dill isn’t available.
- 1¾ cups plain vegan yogurt (unsweetened preferably)
- 2 large Long English cucumbers, peeled, seeded and grated
- 3 - 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ lemon, juiced (or 1½ tablespoons bottled lemon juice)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced finely
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place grated cucumber in a mesh sieve over a bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and stir. Let sit in refrigerator overnight to allow moisture to drain. Squeeze excess liquid out of the cucumber.
- In a large bowl combine non-dairy yogurt, drained cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh dill. Stir to combine well.
- Season with salt and pepper. Stir and taste. Adjust for seasoning.
- Let sit in fridge for about an hour to allow the flavors to meld. Stir well before serving and give it a quick taste for seasoning again.
- Serve with crackers, chips, gluten-free pita, etc.
The crackers I served in the above pictures are a new variety I found just a while ago. They’re a local grocery store brand so if you’re in Canada and shop at any of the Loblaw’s stores – Superstore or Extra Foods for sure – you’ll probably find them. They’re the President’s Choice Blue Menu Cannelini Bean Chips. They were really quite good.
Now that I’m getting into making my own everything – which you’ll see a lot of coming up in the spring and summer months on the blog – I am considering that maybe I should try making my own vegan yogurt. I’ve watched a few tutorials online and read a lot of blog posts from other vegan food bloggers who have had success and I figure why not try? If I get around to it and get it figured out you’ll see something on the blog about it, for sure.