Tasty Tuesdays – Tzatziki

Tzatziki is a traditional Greek and Turkish cold sauce served with bread or meats.  This delicious and refreshing recipe pairs brilliantly with lamb, beef, chicken or pork.  It’s very easy to prepare and last for a few days in the refrigerator.  Once you get a handle on the basic recipe, it’s easy to alter to best suite your own palate.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups 1% plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups English cucumber
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  • In a mixing bowl whisk olive oil and lemon juice into yogurt.
  • Add finely chopped garlic.
  • Grate the cucumber and squeeze over the sink to remove as much juice as possible.
  • Add grated cucumber to the yogurt mix.  Salt & pepper to taste.

Interesting Facts

Cucumbers are another one of those fruits that you probably thought was a vegetable.  It is considered a fruit because it is the ripened ovary of the seed-bearing vine plant from which it grows.  Cucumbers are native to India and are one of the most farmed fruits in the world since they thrive in both temperate and tropical environments (Huang et al., 2009).  Three varieties exist which are slicing, pickling and burpless, and each type ranges in size, colour, shape and texture (Ariana and Lu, 2010). Although there is a lack of research on the direct nutritional benefit of cucumbers, its genome has recently been sequenced by Huang et al. in 2009.This member of the gourd family contains vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate and several phytonutrients (USDA, 2012).  The high concentration of vitamin K is known to promote bone formation and improve bone density (Bugel, 2008).  Furthermore, extensive research has shown that calcium and magnesium rich diets are vital for good bone health (Ishimi, 2010).   The cucumber also aids in weight maintenance since it is a very low calorie food (only 15 kcal/100g), full of important dietary fiber and considerable amounts of water (USDA, 2012).  So this summer be cool as a cucumber with this cold sauce which contains a winning combination of vitamins and minerals.

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