Tarator Recipe

Yogurt and cucumber salad.


Reprinted with permission from Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean (Chronicle Books).

Recipe names can be confusing. Cooks acquainted with the Arabic table know tarator as a tahini-thickened nut sauce. Cooks familiar with Greek and Turkish cuisines see this salad as a cousin to tzatziki and cacik, with the addition of chopped walnuts.


  1. 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill or mint, or a mixture
  2. 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 2-3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  4. 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  5. 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  6. 5-6 cloves garlic, green sprouts removed and finely minced
  7. 1-2 cucumbers
  8. Pita bread, cut into quarters if large, halves if small, and war
  9. 2 cups Plain yogurt


Spoon the yogurt into a sieve placed over a bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain for four hours.

Peel and seed the cucumber(s). If using the large cucumber, grate it; if using the small cucumbers, cut into tiny dice. Place the grated or diced cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to drain for 30 minutes, then squeeze dry in a kitchen towel. Refrigerate until needed.

In a bowl, stir together the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and vinegar. Add the nuts and olive oil, and fold in the drained yogurt and cucumber(s). Stir in the herbs. Spoon into a shallow bowl and surround with warmed pita. Serve at once.

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Joyce Goldstein is the author of many cookbooks and also works as a consultant to restaurants and cooking instructor.

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