Remember that song from long ago—“Anything you can do, I can do better?” I believe it was from the musical, Annie, Get Your Gun, and I had it on repeat in my mind as I was putting shredded zucchini in the starring role for this popular Greek condiment. A typical tzatziki would be made with grated cucumber, but the sheer volume of zucchini coming from my garden has me changing up everything these days. I thought there was a good chance zucchini could stand in for the cucumber—alongside the Greek yogurt, minced garlic and fresh herbs—and it really worked!
We enjoyed this zucchini tzatziki over July 4th weekend, with grilled chicken souvlaki and grilled shrimp. And it was just as delicious last night with the leftovers!
If you find yourself with an over-abundance of zucchini, as I expect is probably the case for everyone who has planted it, then give this a try.
As with cucumber, the zucchini needs to be salted generously and rested in layered towels so that the excess moisture can be released. The amount of salt used to draw out the moisture is almost exactly the amount needed to season the dish, so it works out well.
Next, stir and measure out the Greek yogurt into a small bowl. Add the drained zucchini, finely chopped fresh garlic, black pepper and fresh herbs—dill and mint are traditional, so that’s what I used—and give the whole thing a big stir. Adjust the salt to your liking; it may not need any extra at all. Cover and refrigerate the tzatziki until you’re ready to use it. Stir it well just before serving.
Tzatziki is so flavorful, with a garlic bite and the cooling nature of the mint and dill. I could eat it all summer, and now that I know how well zucchini works in this recipe, I’ll be doing it this way again. Below is a printable version of the recipe, and keep scrolling to find a few more delicious ways to enjoy tzatziki. 🙂
- 1 smallish unpeeled zucchini, shredded (about 1 cup)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt (for drawing moisture from the squash)
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% milkfat)
- 2 or 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- additional salt, to taste
- Spread zucchini shreds evenly across a double layer of paper towels, or on a clean kitchen towel (choose one that is lint-free and not washed with fragrance or fabric softener). Sprinkle salt all over the shreds, tossing them a bit to ensure even coverage. Fold the towel up to contain the zucchini in a “packet,” and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours. I placed my zucchini packet in a shallow glass dish to prevent drips.
- Transfer salted zucchini to fresh layers of paper towel and blot well to wick away lingering moisture. You may be surprised how wet the original paper towels are, and a great deal of the salt will be soaked into them as well.
- Stir the Greek yogurt and measure it out into a small bowl. Add the zucchini shreds, garlic, herbs and black pepper. Stir to combine. Adjust salt to your liking.
Keep the tzatziki refrigerated until ready to serve. It will keep in the fridge for several days, but may separate over time. Give it a good stir just before serving.