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This Vegan Tzatziki is just as good as the original and you won't believe that it's dairy-free. It's rich, creamy, tangy, and so darn easy to make — just blend, chill and serve!
Summer is almost upon us and I find myself gravitating towards light, refreshing, and cooling recipes. This Vegan Tzatziki recipe can be enjoyed all year long, but it's especially perfect for those warmer days.
It's my go-to recipe to serve at barbecues, pot lucks, or parties. I just set it out with a bunch of fresh veggies and watch it disappear.
A traditional tzatziki recipe calls for full-fat Greek yogurt but I was not able to find a non-dairy yogurt that matched its richness or flavor. So, I used my Vegan Sour Cream Recipe as a base and turned it into this delicious Vegan Tzatziki!
Ingredients, Notes, and Substitutions
🌟 This is a quick overview with step-by-step photos. For the complete ingredient amounts and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card below.
- Cashews - they create the creamiest base with a neutral flavor. Blanched almonds will work too, but they must be soaked for 8 hours or more.
- English Cucumber - if you can't find it, you can use a standard one, but I would deseed it before use to avoid excess moisture, and peeling is highly recommended to avoid a bitter flavor. Curious about other varieties? Here's a guide to other types of cucumbers available.
- Non-Dairy Yogurt - breaks up the cashew richness and adds a nice tang! I prefer using coconut yogurt, but you can use whatever you like.
- Lemon Juice - it really brightens up the flavor, but you can replace it with red or white wine vinegar to taste.
- Olive Oil - It adds richness and flavor and I highly recommend it. However, if you are oil-free, you can omit it. You may need a splash of water to thin it out a little.
- Red Wine Vinegar - You can also use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Garlic - I love fresh, but you can replace it with ½ teaspoon granulated garlic.
- Dill - fresh is best, but 2-3 teaspoons of dried will work too.
- Mint - this is optional, but it's so good. It adds extra cooling and freshness.
- Salt and Pepper
How to make Vegan Tzatziki
- Sprinkle the grated cucumber with salt and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Place the grated cucumber on a clean dish towel.
- Squeeze out the excess moisture until the cucumber is mostly dry.
- Add the yogurt, lemon juice, cashews, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to a high-powered blender.
- Blend on high until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and add more lemon or vinegar if needed.
- Pour the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the cucumber, dill, and mint. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Vegan Tzatziki Success Tips
- I used the largest holes on a box grater to shred the cucumber to yield a chunkier texture. If you want it to be less chunky, you can finely grate it or chop it by hand.
- It's important to sweat the cucumber shreds and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. This will avoid a runny consistency.
- I prefer to peel the cucumber because the English cucumber skin is a bit sweeter, which made the sauce a little sweeter. However, you can leave the skin on if preferred.
- If you can't find unsweetened non-dairy yogurt, you can use plain. Look for one that has the least amount of sugar to avoid a slightly sweet taste.
- If you're unsure how tangy you want the vegan tzatziki to be, it's best to use less lemon, and vinegar to start. You can always taste and add more after.
- If you don't have a high-powered blender, the cashews might not soften enough, resulting in a gritty texture. I would soak the cashews in the fridge overnight to really soften them.
- I only used 1 garlic clove for this recipe. When I added more, it seemed to overpower the other flavors. However, you can add more if you want more garlic flavor.
- Avoid garlic that is starting to grow green sprouts to avoid a bitter flavor. The fresher, the better!
- Don't skimp on the salt! This will help bring all the flavors together. If it tastes bland, then you need to add a pinch more.
- I prefer whole cashews instead of pieces. I find that they taste the freshest and yield a neutral flavor.
Ways to use Tzatziki Sauce
- Serve it as a dip with crackers, veggies, or pita bread.
- With vegan falafel.
- On vegan gyros or mushroom shawarma.
- Add it to sandwiches, wraps, or burgers instead of mayonnaise
- Use it as a topping for baked potatoes, grilled polenta, roasted veggies, and more!
- Thin it out a little and use it as a salad dressing. It's delish!
How to store it
This vegan tzatziki will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days, stored in an airtight container. Just give it a good stir before serving.
More light and refreshing recipes
I love to hear from you
If you make this Vegan Tzatziki recipe, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
- ½ large English cucumber , peeled and grated (1 cup grated) *see note
- ¾ cup raw cashews + water for soaking
- ¾ cup non-dairy yogurt , unsweetened (*see note)
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil , extra virgin + more for swirling
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar , more to taste (sub white vinegar)
- 1 small garlic clove , peeled
- ½ teaspoon sea salt + more for cucumber
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint (*optional, but so good)
- A few Kalamata Olives , Chopped Dill, or Mint
- Box Grater
- Sprinkle the grated cucumber with salt and set aside for 10 minutes to rest (you can begin the remaining steps while you wait). After the cucumber has rested, place it in a clean dish towel and squeeze out the excess moisture over a sink. You want it to be fairly dry.
- To soften the cashews, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes. Drain and rinse the cashews and discard soaking water. Alternatively, you can let the cashews soak in cool water in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight. (*If your blender is very powerful, you don't have to soak the cashews).
- Add the yogurt, lemon juice, cashews, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to a high-powered blender. Blend on high until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and add more lemon or vinegar if needed. Wait to add more salt though.
- Pour the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the cucumber, dill, and mint. Combine well. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to develop more flavor.
- After chilling, give it a good stir. The consistency should be thick, but if you want to thin it out a little, add a splash of water and stir well. To serve, top with a few kalamata olives, fresh-cut mint, or dill, and a swirl of olive oil if desired.
- Cucumber - I used a box grater and grated the cucumber on the largest holes. You'll need 1 cup of freshly grated cucumber and it'll shrink down to about ⅓ cup after squeezing. If you can't find an English cucumber, you can use a standard one, but I would seed it first to avoid excess moisture.
- Traditional tzatziki calls for full-fat Greek yogurt but I was not able to find a non-dairy yogurt that matched its richness or flavor. If you find one that you love, you can omit the cashews entirely and you won't need the blender. You'll need 1.5 cups of yogurt and you'll need to finely mince the garlic. Then just combine everything by hand (*You may need to reduce lemon or vinegar).
- Non-Dairy Yogurt - I love this Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt by So Delicious because it yields the perfect consistency for this recipe and adds a nice tang. Plus, the flavor doesn't overpower the other ingredients. I can't say for sure if all non-dairy brands/varieties will yield the same results. Make sure you taste it before using it. If you can't find unsweetened non-dairy yogurt, you can use plain. Look for one that has the least amount of sugar to avoid a slightly sweet taste.
- If you're unsure how tangy you want the tzatziki to be, it's best to use less lemon and vinegar start. You can always taste and add more after.
- If you don't have a powerful blender, the cashews might not break down enough, resulting in a gritty texture. I would soak the cashews in the fridge overnight to really soften them.
- Garlic - I'm a big garlic lover, but I only used 1 clove for this recipe. When I added more, it seemed to overpower the other flavors. However, you can add more if you want more garlic flavor. Avoid garlic that is starting to grow green sprouts to avoid a bitter flavor.
- Cashews - I prefer whole cashews instead of pieces. They taste the freshest and yield a neutral flavor.
- Storing - will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. Store in an airtight container. Stir before serving.
- Prep time doesn't include chilling time.