Tzatziki makes an excellent mid-day snack. It's packed with protein, it contains a decent amount of vegetables, and its bright, clean flavor tastes good on anything. The first key to a great tzatziki is to allow the salt ample time to draw water out of the vegetables. The second key is to be brutal when squeezing that water out. You want a solid, dry lump to mix into the yogurt so it will have maximum flavor and the best texture. And of course the third key is to taste, taste, taste!

Yields about 3 cups


  • 1 English cucumber
  • ½ small red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons mint
  • About ten sprigs parsley
  • 12 - 16 ounces Greek yogurt, any fat content (I mix 2% and non-fat)
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • A square of cheesecloth or a clean towel


  1. Line a colander set over a bowl with a square of cheesecloth or a clean towel. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the cucumber and red onion directly into the towel. Grate the garlic into it using the small holes. Zest the lemon and add to the vegetables.
  2. Toss the vegetables with the teaspoon of salt, mixing everything very well. Allow to sit and drain for at least an hour.
  3. Finely mince the parsley from the leaves to about the last 2 inches of stem. Chiffonade the mint and stir both herbs into the yogurt. Allow to come up to room temperature while the vegetables drain.
  4. Twist the cheesecloth or towel around the vegetables to force it into a tight ball, pressing out as much liquid as possible; the cheesecloth may burst. When you are confident no more liquid can be squeezed out, add to the yogurt.
  5. Mix the vegetables, yogurt, and ground pepper well. Squeeze about half of a lemon into the mixture, stir and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper or lemon to taste. Best served slightly chilled, but not cold.