Tzatziki with Fennel (Greek Yogurt, Cucumber and Fennel Dip)

tzatziki_fennel_I know most of us have been looking for warming, filling autumn dishes, but maybe, just like me, from time to time you need something fresh, something bringing back sunny summer memories… What about a new version of tzatziki? I found it while reading my latest buy: Food of the Greek Islands by Aglaia Kremezi and as a relatively recent fennel convert, I was thrilled to add it to my recipes’ list. It’s light, refreshing, crunchy and if you slice the fennel very finely (with a mandolin for example), I bet your fennel-hating guests will love it and some won’t even guess what they are eating. Serve it with grilled skewers, meats and vegetables, as a party dip or as a healthy bread spread. Most of all, hurry up before the fennel season ends!

As usually, I have modified the ingredients’ amounts and their ratio, so check Aglaia Kremezi’s original recipe. If you are interested in Greek food, I strongly advise her fascinating book, written with passion and deep knowledge of the culinary heritage and traditions of Greek islands, but most of all full of luscious-looking recipes.

TIP: If you use chilli pepper, black pepper is not necessary in my opinion.

Preparation: 10 minutes + cooling time


250 g (about 1/2 cup) Greek yogurt or any natural yogurt you have

1 small cucumber or 1/3 long cucumber

1 small fennel

salt, (ground black pepper)

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 garlic clove

(1 fresh small chilli pepper)

3 heaped tablespoons fresh chopped dill or fennel fronds

olive oil

Grate the cucumber (you can peel it or not, I prefer it unpeeled) and squash well to remove the juices.

Place in a bowl.

Slice the fennel very finely (the easiest way to obtain it is with a mandolin).

Place the fennel in the same bowl, add the crushed or grated garlic, the salt, the pepper (if using), the finely sliced chilli (if using), the lemon juice, the dill or fennel fronds and mix well. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Sprinkle with olive oil just before serving.

19 Replies to “Tzatziki with Fennel (Greek Yogurt, Cucumber and Fennel Dip)”

  1. I’ve never had this dish before. This is more for snacks or finger foods maybe? Sorry for my ignorance on this dish but it looks good, Sissi. I hope you are having a fun week! 🙂

  2. Fennel would definitely add character to tzatziki! It’s often overlooked by American cooks as a great source of flavor, providing you don’t hate licorice! I’ve seen recipes where it’s used with fennel seed as a double hit of the flavor.

    best… mae at

    1. Thank you so much, Mae. Actually, I have discovered that when you slice it very finely (with a mandolin or a food processor), it loses much of its strong aroma and several guests found it difficult to guess what vegetable it was! (There was also one fennel hater among them 😉 ).
      Since I love anise seed (and similar) aroma, I wouldn’t mind adding fennel seeds here too.

  3. What a great twist on Tzatziki! I do love Tzatziki and I do love fennel. Bobby has never been a big fan unless it is very thinly sliced like you’ve done here. Now all I need is some lamb. We’re hoping to do a lamb for one of the up and coming holidays and this would be a great condiment for the table. Thanks Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. You must try this tzatziki then! Yes, it’s the same for my husband who now loves every cold fennel dish because I slice it very finely! It’s amazing we often have similar thoughts… A couple of weeks ago I made 7-hour lamb shoulder and served it with fennel remoulade! It was perfect together.

  4. I love tzatziki but I’ve never thought to make it with fennel, great idea. Our next progressive dinner has a Greek theme and I’m responsible for hours d’œuves, I’m sure I can fit this tasty treat in there somehow.

  5. What a fun idea adding fennel to tzatziki. I don’t eat tzatziki as often as I used to. I now eat more melitzanosalata which has a more delicate flavor. Plus I was eating tzatziki throughout my entire life so a change was in order lol! Your tzatziki though would make me grab a pita bread and dive into it!

    1. Thanks a lot, Katerina. I cannot even imagine how many tzatziki you have had in your whole life 😉 It’s normal that you got bored! I like the basic tzatziki and have been truly enjoying this new version. It’s so filling I often have it with bread as my 5pm tea snack.

  6. Heeheeh, fennel hating guests 🙂 I would be absolutely open to trying a new version of tzatziki any day especially one that stars anise flavour! This sounds so delicious Sissi and I am fascinated by the idea of attenuating the flavour of the fennel by making the slices super thin – I tend to use fennel in chunky pieces so I look forward to trying your technique and tasting the difference. I have a mandolin so this experiment should be easy to replicate. Very fun and an enticing photo. Thank you for the book recommendation too.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. It’s most of all the thin slices that make this dish lovable even by fennel haters, I think. I use my small mandolin almost every day with lots of different vegetables. The book is really interesting. Many unknown dishes from Greek islands or different versions of famous Greek dishes. I love it!

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