If you want to make a quick and easy vegan tzatziki recipe, this is the one for you! There are very few ingredients required, so the key is to use the freshest you can find. The recipe is naturally gluten-free and can be dairy-free and nut-free, depending on the yogurt you choose. Apart from the yogurt, all you need is cucumber, garlic, lime, and fresh herbs.
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I think it's essential to choose the right kind of yogurt for vegan tzatziki, and I really like the Culina brand (not sponsored, just like it). A thick, creamy, coconut-based yogurt, Culina isn't overpowering in taste and does an excellent job taking on the flavors you add to it. If dairy is not an issue or you prefer regular yogurt, select a Greek whole-fat yogurt for the best taste. Fage Total Greek yogurt is a good option. Regardless of which option you choose, dairy-free or regular yogurt, make sure it's plain and not flavored.
Fresh herbs are also essential in this recipe! I love to use fresh dill, mint, cilantro, or a combination. As for cucumbers, Persian or English cucumbers work best. They have thinner skin, are firm and crunchy, are mild in flavor, and are less watery overall.
Of course, this homemade vegan Greek tzatziki subs as a great veggie dip. It also pairs exceptionally well with lamb. Try serving it as a topping on these grilled lamb burgers, dolloped on top of this juiciest chicken breast recipe, or as an accompaniment for this whole roasted branzino. Whichever way you serve it, I know you'll love it.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's a wonderful option for those with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance, who prefer a plant-based diet, or even looking for a kosher-style tzatziki sauce.
- Vegan tzatziki is easy and quick to whip up and can elevate any dish. It is also customizable! Just adjust the levels of garlic, lime, or the types of herbs.
- It's a versatile recipe. Use it as a dip for veggies or chicken tenders, a condiment for lamb burgers, a spread, or even a base sauce for plating roasted carrots.
The ingredient list is short, so using fresh garlic, lime, and herbs is essential - avoid substituting with dried alternatives.
Dairy-Free Yogurt: When selecting yogurt, opt for a thick and creamy variety that is plain and not flavored. A wide range of vegan and dairy-free yogurts are available, including plant-based options and those made from nuts. I recommend the Culina brand's coconut-based yogurt in its plain and simple flavor. Always check the label for potential allergens or ingredients that may not fit your dietary needs.
Cucumber: Persian cucumbers are small, crispy, and have a mild flavor, making them an excellent choice for this vegan yogurt sauce. They have thin skin and are almost seedless, so they are extra crispy, not watery, and do not need to be peeled. You can typically find them in packages of 5 or 6. The English cucumber, or Hothouse cucumber, is larger and slightly more watery but can be used interchangeably. At the store, you will see these cucumbers wrapped tightly in plastic.
Lime: The juice of lime adds a delightful citrus flavor, plus it aids in balancing the tanginess of the yogurt.
Garlic: Aim for a well-balanced flavor that enhances the dish without overpowering it. Begin small, and adjust according to your taste preferences. Personally, I prefer a milder garlic flavor. Additionally, I recommend using a grater to ensure the garlic mixes and blends smoothly with the yogurt.
Herbs: Dill and or mint are classic ingredients in a tzatziki recipe, adding a vibrant flavor to the sauce. When selecting herbs, look for bright green leaves with a robust garden-fresh aroma when torn. Regardless of your choice, using fresh and not dry herbs is vital.
How To Make Vegan Tzatziki
- Use the large holes of a box grater to grate the cucumber directly onto a clean kitchen towel or dry paper towel.
- Wrap the grated cucumber in the paper towel and firmly squeeze the excess liquid into a kitchen sink or a separate bowl designated for waste.
- Next, transfer the grated cucumber to a small or medium-sized bowl. Add the yogurt, lime juice, salt, garlic, dill, and/or mint. Stir to combine.
- Serve right away or cover and chill the vegan tzatziki in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.
- Vegan tzatziki sauce is naturally gluten-free and dairy free. Moreover, it can be nut-free depending on the choice of vegan yogurt used.
- For more richness, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top when serving and sprinkle some fresh dill as garnish.
- If using thick-skinned or waxy cucumbers, peel the skin before grating them.
- Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days. However, it is at its best when consumed on the day its made.
Tzatziki is a traditional Greek yogurt sauce. It is also popular in other parts of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. It is known for its creamy texture, refreshing flavor, and versatility as a condiment and dip. The key ingredients in tzatziki include yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lime juice, salt, and fresh herbs. Although traditionally made with strained sheep's or goat's milk yogurt, it can be made with full-fat Greek yogurt, eliminating the need for straining. Alternatively, for a vegan-friendly option, use a vegan or dairy-free yogurt.
Tzatziki is a versatile sauce that pairs well with various dishes. It is creamy, tangy, and refreshing in flavor and can be prepared as a condiment, dipping sauce, snack, appetizer, or even a side dish! It is commonly served alongside grilled meats, falafel, gyros, pita bread, raw or roasted vegetables, salads, and rice bowls. Additionally, it complements grilled lamb (think kabobs, kaftas, and lamb chops), grilled salmon, and zucchini exceptionally well.
Yogurt tends to separate and become watery when frozen and thawed, which can affect the texture of tzatziki. I do not recommend freezing it. However, it can stay in the fridge for 3 to 5 days, sealed in an airtight container.
These are some of my favorite dishes to serve with vegan tzatziki:
Lastly, if you try this recipe, I would love to hear about it! Be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! And if you snapped some photos, tag and share them with me on Instagram.
- Use the large holes of a box grater to grate the cucumber onto a dry paper towel or kitchen towel.
- Wrap the grated cucumber in the paper towel and squeeze firmly to remove excess juice, discarding it into a sink or separate bowl for disposal.
- Transfer the grated cucumber to a small or medium-sized bowl, then add yogurt, lime juice, salt, garlic, fresh dill and/or mint. Mix all the ingredients.
- Serve right away or cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to serving
- Plate as a dip and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and some fresh herbs as garnish
- You do not have to peel the skin of the cucumber, unless you are using thick-skinned or waxy cucumbers
- For traditional tzatziki - use full fat greek yogurt like Fage
- Can be stored in airtight container for about 3 to 5 days