I dream of few condiments as fondly as I do Greek tzatziki sauce. It marries the spark of mint and lime juice with the refreshing crunch of cucumbers, all floating on creamy, cool Greek yogurt. Just the thought of it makes me want to run to Ted’s Coney Island on Ingersoll – within walking distance of DMU! – or Saraj in West Des Moines for a gyro, which tzatziki typically accompanies.
My tzatziki obsession led me to try one of the slaws offered up by National Public Radio’s “Kitchen Window” food blog, shared below. Author Visi Tilak notes she first experienced coleslaw on the Fourth of July after moving to America from South India. The salad, she concluded, resembles the “veggie noodles” of her childhood. I love Tilak’s view that coleslaw doesn’t have to be the fattening smothered-in-mayo version most Americans think of; rather, her suggestions include recipes with a variety of crunchy vegetables and fruits, light vinaigrettes and delightful spices and herbs. Try her recipe below with pita chips or bread, as a chunky sandwich spread, a topping for other julienned veggies or the “perfect accompaniment” to grilled cheese sandwiches.
Greek tzatziki-style coleslaw
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
2 cups Persian or English cucumbers, grated
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt (low fat or whole may also be used)
2 cups fine julienne of red peppers
2 cups fine julienne of green peppers
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish
Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the grated cucumbers, mix lightly and set aside for about 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil, mint, garlic, lime juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Mix well and let sit for about five minutes.
Squeeze out the excess juice from the grated cucumbers and add the cucumbers to the dressing. Mix well. Add the yogurt and fold gently into the dressing. Keep aside one tablespoon each of the red and green bell peppers for garnish. Add the rest of the peppers to the yogurt mixture and mix gently. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.