This recipe comes from IDEA Fitness Journal’s art director, Esther Andriopulos Coit, who, if you can’t guess by her name, both speaks and cooks fluent Greek! Tzatziki is a delicious, creamy and cooling salad that multitasks as a topping, a dip for pita bread or a perfect partner for savory roasted meats in the Greek tradition. Since it’s a family recipe passed down from the old country, we don’t have the nutritional breakdown, but as you’ll see, there’s really not much to it. Esther cautions that most Greeks she knows would be “horrified” at the idea of using anything but full-fat Greek yogurt, but she has used both and finds the nonfat delicious as well.

Drain Greek yogurt until it stops dripping if you want even creamier yogurt (but not necessary). Peel and hull cucumbers, then grate on standard kitchen box grater. Squeeze all excess water from cucumbers. Combine all ingredients from cucumber through lemon juice. Season to taste. Refrigerate tzatziki and let it rest so flavors marry. If you can make it the night before, even better, but it’s also a great last-minute side or dip!

1 1/ 2 cups of good Greek yogurt, strained through cheesecloth or a fine sieve

2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded and finely grated (regular cucumber can be too watery)

1–2 finely minced garlic cloves (less is more)

A few stems of dill, finely chopped (about

2 tablespoons [tbs] or to taste)

1– 2 tbs fresh mint (to your taste), roughly chopped

1 “splash” extra virgin olive oil (about 1 tbs)

1 “splash” red wine vinegar (about 1 tbs)

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Drain Greek yogurt until it stops dripping if you want even creamier yogurt (but not necessary). Peel and hull cucumbers, then grate on standard kitchen box grater. Squeeze all excess water from cucumbers. Combine all ingredients from cucumber through lemon juice. Season to taste. Refrigerate tzatziki and let it rest so flavors will marry. If you can make it the night before, even better, but it’s also a great last-minute side or dip!

Source: Recipe courtesy of Esther Andriopulos Coit, owner, Patera Design, San Diego (www.patera.net).