Thick and tangy, this vegan tzatziki is the ultimate summer side dish. Light and refreshing cucumber combined with creamy and garlicky vegan yogurt makes this delicious dip irresistible!
What do a BBQ and a vacation on a Greek island have in common? They are not complete without tzatziki!
A staple of Greek food, tzatziki is found in many places. I love it with bread on the side, as a starter or a light meal. But it’s also a refreshing side dish or dip to a BBQ or souvlaki skewers, and is used as sauce in a gyros sandwich or as a part of a Mediterranean mezze.
They say in German there are as many ways to spell ‘tzatziki’ as there are ways to prepare it. Which yogurt? Grated or sliced cucumber? How much garlic? Mint or dill? Olives on top - or better not?
We made our vegan tzatziki the way I remember it from my childhood holidays on Corfu, Rhodes, Karpathos or Paros as a kid. At lunch in the tavern or at dinner at the restaurant - tzatziki was always on the table!
One spoonful of this vegan tzatziki and I am transported right down my memories onto a Greek island...
Let us show you how to make the perfect vegan tzatziki!
All you need to make amazing vegan tzatziki at home are these few ingredients:
- Vegan yoghurt - ‘Greek style’ for best, authentic tzatziki. Read on for more tips about which yoghurts work best in this recipe!
- Garlic - a classic tzatziki is not complete without it
- A bit of Lemon juice - for a little extra tang
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Olive oil
- Fresh mint or dill - This is optional. We prefer mint!
To deal with the cucumber and the garlic, I highly recommend the use of a grater and a garlic press!
If you’re out of fresh garlic you can use garlic granules. Use about ¼ teaspoon to replace one clove of garlic. Let the tzatziki steep for a bit before adding more, as garlic granules become more potent once rehydrated.
Which vegan yoghurt to use
A lot of the flavour and texture of the final tzatziki comes from the type or brand of vegan yoghurt you choose for this recipe.
What you want is a very thick, unsweetened, neutral flavoured vegan yoghurt. A higher fat content of around 10% fat makes the best, most creamy and authentic tasting tzatziki.
We used Oatly Greek Style Oatgurt - our absolute favourite for making tzatziki.
Many other vegan yoghurts, often the sweetened but also some ‘Greek’ style ones, have some added flavour that just doesn’t go very well with tzatziki. So keep that in mind when choosing your vegan yoghurt to make your vegan tzatziki.
We've also tested the recipe with normal style, plain unsweetened vegan yoghurt, but you don’t get the same thick consistency. If that’s all you have you can strain it through a muslin cloth to make it thicker.
Full fat coconut yoghurt can be a good texture, but the coconut flavour is quite dominant. So we don’t recommend it, unless you mix it half and half with a plain type vegan yoghurt.
Step by step pictures
Here’s how your vegan tzatziki comes together in just three simple steps.
Step 1 - Grate the cucumber.
A coarse shredding is enough, as the cucumber will shrink down when they lose their water. As an alternative, you can slice the cucumber very thinly with a knife or mandolin slicer.
Collecting the processed cucumber in a sieve on top of a bowl gives you a head start on the next step.
Step 2 - Press the grated cucumber to drain it.
Cucumbers are made of 96% water. Press out some of that water to keep the tzatziki thick and creamy. You can press it through a sieve, tea towel or muslin cloth, or simply use your hands like we did.
Step 3 - Mix the tzatziki.
Just add the drained cucumber to a bowl along with all other prepared ingredients and stir to mix well! Feel free to season to taste with salt and pepper.
Served with some bread, this vegan tzatziki makes a great appetizer or light meal of its own. We enjoy it best with Greek pita bread, a drizzle of olive oil and some olives on top. But it’s a versatile food used in many different ways.
Here are some other great ideas how to eat tzatziki:
- As a side, sauce or salad at a BBQ
- As a part of a mezze, a mixed plate of various small dishes.
- With some vegan souvlaki (Greek skewers)
- In a vegan gyros sandwich
- With some grilled aubergine or zucchini (courgette)
Keep this vegan tzatziki covered in the fridge and use it up within three days.
- 1 large (500 g, 2 cups grated) cucumber
- 2 cups (500 g) Greek style vegan yogurt see notes
- 3 cloves garlic pressed
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh mint or dill
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil + extra for drizzle
- Wash and grate the cucumber. No need to peel it.
- Press the cucumber to remove some of its water. You can simply use your hands, press it through a sieve or squeeze it through a tea towel or muslin cloth.Aim at draining off about a third to half the weight of the cucumbers weight - or ⅓ to ½ cups of water (80 to 120 ml) per 1 cup (240g) of grated cucumber.
- Place the cucumber in a bowl and mix well with all other ingredients: Vegan yogurt, pressed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, chopped mint, salt and pepper.
- Season to your taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve up in a bowl or plate and drizzle with some olive oil. Optionally top with olives, slices of cucumber or a sprig of fresh mint or dill.