This post is the second part of a series. Learn how to make pan-fried falafel to go with your tzatziki here, and check back next week for a homemade pita recipe.
Falafel has become a regular meal in our household, in part because it freezes so well. It’s easy to make a big batch of falafel patties, cook a few and stash the rest in the freezer for later. Ditto for the pita bread, which I’ll be sharing next week.
However, to really liven things up you need some fresh ingredients. I like to serve the falafel and pita alongside fresh spinach, diced cucumber, hummus and crumbled feta cheese (diced tomato and thinly sliced red onion would be fantastic additions as well). And of course, this tzatziki sauce.
There are numerous recipes for tzatziki out there, and after trying a bunch of them with mixed results (makes a huge batch, too garlicky, too lemony, etc.) I’ve landed on this one. It makes just enough for two servings which is all we need at a time, and can be made with dried herbs. A quick soak in some hot water rehydrates the dried dill and mint, making them a much better substitute for fresh. I also include the garlic in this hot water bath–the heat mellows its flavor, reducing the chances that you’ll end up with long-range vampire repellent breath. Yes, it would probably be better with fresh herbs, but this solution works pretty well for me.
- 1/4 cucumber
- 1 clove garlic, grated finely
- 1 tsp dried dill or mint (or 1 tbsp chopped fresh)
- 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt (I use Chobani)
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper, optional
- Peel the cucumber if desired and grate on a box grater into a bowl. Toss with a pinch of salt and set aside 10 minutes. Pour off the liquid, then add the grated cucumber to a clean kitchen towel, cloth napkin or a few layers of sturdy paper towels and squeeze out the excess moisture.
- Place the grated garlic and dried herbs (if using) into a small dish and pour 1-2 tbsp hot water over top. Let sit 5 minutes to hydrate the herbs and mellow the garlic. Drain with a fine mesh strainer, discarding the liquid.
- Combine the cucumber, garlic, herbs, yogurt and lemon juice in a bowl and mix well. Season with additional salt as needed, several grinds of black pepper and a dash of cayenne if desired. Chill 30 minutes to an hour before serving.