This tasty vegetarian Cucumber & Yoghurt Dip is incredibly simple to make but so flavourful and refreshing at the same time. The beautiful Middle Eastern Salad accompanies many grills and savouries like Kibbeh and complements the taste perfectly. In Arabic, it is called Khyar Bi Laban, which literally translates to ‘Cucumber with Yoghurt’.
The 4 key ingredients in this Arabic Cucumber Salad are cucumbers, garlic, mint and thick Greek-style yoghurt. Traditionally, the yoghurt used for this recipe is fresh, strained yoghurt made from goat’s milk (suzma) however, this can be hard to come by in the UK so substituting this with thick greek yoghurt works just fine.
What are the Health Benefits of this Cucumber & Yoghurt Dip?
Both yoghurt and cucumber are cool, smooth, healthy and very refreshing, making them the perfect ingredients for cooling summer recipes. Combining these ingredients with mint, garlic, and olive oil makes it even more of a power snack. This recipe is vegetarian, low-carb, Keto-friendly and gluten-free.
When you don’t drain the water out of the cucumbers, all that water can help keep you hydrated. The fibre boost that cucumbers give you, however, helps you stay regular and avoid constipation. Vitamin K helps blood clot problems and keeps your bones healthy, and vitamin A has many benefits, such as helping with vision, the immune system, and even reproduction.
Yoghurt is rich in important nutrients, it’s high in protein, strengthens the immune system, benefits heart health and promotes weight management.
Raw garlic retains higher amounts of allicin, a beneficial sulfur-containing compound. Garlic has been shown to improve immunity, stabilize blood sugar levels, and support heart and brain health.
Extra virgin olive oil has antibacterial properties and has been found to be particularly effective against stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. Olive oil can help reduce joint pain and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis. Both observational studies and clinical trials suggest that olive oil, combined with a Mediterranean diet, can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
How is Khyar Bi Laban Served?
Khyar bi laban is often served as a healthy snack or appetizer with bread or fresh vegetable sticks for dipping. But the dip is not limited to only vegetarian recipes. The cucumber yoghurt salad is also served as a side dish with grilled meats, pilafs or tomato dishes, and in particular with lamb.
This salad is a typical appetizer during hot days because it’s super easy to make. It has many variations such as the Turkish/Persian Aka Masto Khiar, and the Greek Tzatziki Dip which both tend to have a runnier consistency and they mostly use fresh dill in place of the Mint. The Uzbek version of this yoghurt salad also uses dill in addition to grated radish and it is a common favourite to serve with plov.
This salad recipe is high in protein and so, if you add water to the above ingredients and blend it, it can turn into a cool and refreshing veggie smoothie too 😉
Cucumber Yoghurt Salad Dip
- 1 kg Natural Set, Thick, Greek Style yoghurt 1 large tub
- 4-5 small cucumbers or 1 UK style large washed & diced, sliced or grated
- ½ Lemon Juiced
- 2-3 Cloves of Garlic peeled and grated
- ½ batch Fresh Mint (finely chopped) or you can use 3 tbsp dried mint
- 1-2 tbsp Olive Oil Optional
- ½ tsp Salt to taste
- In a bowl, mix the thick yoghurt/laban, crushed garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice well.
- Wash the cucumbers and take off the ends before slicing in half and seeding
- Finely chop the cucumber into small cubes or grate or slice them into strips, then add to a mixing bowl and mix them in a little salt. Leave them aside for at least 30-40 mins to release the access water.
- When ready, drain the cucumber and add to the yoghurt mix along with the finely chopped fresh mint and then stir.
- Place the dip into the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving in small bowls, or however you please.