Grandpa’s Tzatziki Sauce

I grew up with a best friend who was Greek and so grew up loving Greek food. After I turned 18 and joined the Navy, my ship visited Greece many times. The little bit of Greek I had learned as a boy helped me get around Athins and enjoy the people and food there.  I discovered Souvlaki in the Platka, or accent market place of Athens. For about 55 Drachma (less than a dollar at that time) a hungry young sailor could buy 2 Souvlaki sandwiches and a small bottle of Retsina. Retsina i a Greek White Wine that is flavored with pine tar and has a particularly dry flavor. The combination of the shaved sweet lamb meat mixed with the onion. tomatoes. tzatziki sauce on the peta bread balanced by the bitterness of the Retsina was wonderful.  

By the time Souvlaki made to the US  it had become “Gyros”. But no matter what you call it, it needs Tzatziki Sauce!. Of course, me being me, I couldn’t thousands of years of culinary history stand, I have to tweak and adjust to suit my taste buds. I am smart enough to know not to consider my adjustments improvements but lets just say its a little different in a good way.


½ English cucumber
16 oz (2 cups) Cold plain Greek yogurt (either full fat or fat free will work)
4 cloves garlic, pressed
⅓ cup chopped dill, fresh or frozen
1½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice ( Or Key Lime Juice)
½ tsp Trader Joes’ Chili and Lime Seasoning
½ tsp salt, or to taste
⅛ tsp black pepper


  1. The Cucumber should be peeled, seeds removed, finely diced and strained of it’s juices. Getting rid of excess juice is important so that you tzatziki sauce isn’t watery the next day.
  2. Combine the cucumber with 2 cups plain greek yogurt, 1½ Tbsp lemon juice, 4 pressed garlic cloves, ⅓ cup chopped dill, ½ tsp Trader Joes Chili and Lime Seasoning.
  3. Mix everything together and salt and pepper to taste if needed. It’s best to refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving to let the flavors meld.

It tastes even better when refrigerated overnight!