My entire childhood I was dairy-free. Not in the era of coconut yogurt and almond milk and vegan butter. But in the era of everything tastes like cardboard might as well skip it. I remember having horchata in Chicago once which changed my idea of milk-like drinks forever. I had a few years where I could almost tolerate certain types of dairy (if I didn't mind feeling crappy the next few days) and then I was vegan for many years. With my 11 year old it is a severe life-threatening allergy, so we are now very strict about the dairy. We try to keep it out of the house completely, as he reacts severely to even small amounts of contact. Since I didn't grow up on dairy and avoided it for decades, I don't really "miss" anything - but there are some foods I remember fondly and have re-created over the years. Tzatziki is one of those things. It reminds me of my years living in the Andersonville area in Chicago (a neighborhood full of amazing swedish, greek, and middle eastern restaurants ). This recipe is perfect in summer -and is my favorite dairy free tzatziki. It has the texture, taste, and smell. It is delicious with crisp vegetables. Drop a dollop in chilled cucumber soup. It even makes a great salad dressing. The base is cashews, which gives it a rich flavor and a protein boost.
This tzatziki has the creamy tang of a traditional recipe, but is dairy free! Serve with lamb or chicken, as a dip for fresh veggies, with pita chips, or as a dollop over chilled summer soups. Delicious.
To soak the cashews: Put 1 cups of raw cashews in a canning jar or bowl, cover with hot water from your kettle (meaning hotter than tap but not boiling), let soak 1-4 hours. Drain.
To make a dressing, take a few tablespoons of the tzatziki, add equal amount olive oil, and a teaspoon or two of good vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and then mix well. It is creamy and delicious!
While I like pickles, I like finding other ways to use our abundance of cucumbers throughout the summer. I like to keep a chilled bowl of this in the fridge in season so it is always ready for a snack, with a meal, or over a salad!
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculture designer, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled teens in south central Wisconsin.