Vegan Tzatziki – no yoghurt

A fresh and tangy vegan tzatziki dip made with cashew sour cream in place of yoghurt, flavoured with fresh mint, cucumber and garlic.

So summer season is upon us, and along with that comes a reduction in covid numbers in old sunny South Africa, and increased (careful) socialising!

I am so ready for more entertaining and getting together, my introverted-yet-social self is feeling very deprived of anything people-y.

Bring on gathering with friends and family around food and wine (or my fiancĂ©’s home brewed beer), and sitting outside in the balmy African sun. I am armed and ready with SPF50 sunscreen and a bright pair of *plakkies! (*South African slang for slip-slops, or casual thong sandals).

With all this in mind, I have excitedly just created the most delicious vegan falafel recipe. Invite me over friends. I will bring the snacks. And sunscreen!

As a Middle-Eastern classic, falafels and tzatziki dip are a match made in heaven, so it was only natural to want to combine these beautiful flavours.

My problem arose when it came to the traditional yoghurt used in most tzatziki recipes, either when dairy yoghurt is used, or in vegan recipes where plain vegan yoghurt would be substituted. Er, where do I find that?

The only plain vegan yoghurt that I know of that is easily available, and semi-reasonably priced is the cultured coconut yoghurt from Woolworths. The downside to this though is that it does have a fairly strong coconut flavour, as well as being on the higher calorie side of the fence. I really love a dollop or two with fruit and granola in summer, but for the sake of creating a vegan tzatziki, I didn’t think that was the answer.

I have yet to find a plain soya yoghurt available to purchase anywhere. I just have not seen it, like, ever. I made my own once, which was great, it is just fairly time intensive, and I haven’t yet managed to create a thick version. The soya yoghurt I created was more the texture of a drinking yoghurt, so also would not have worked for the purpose of this recipe.

So I figured – since I often use cashews to make sour cream (usually for all things mexican – yum!) I thought they might work as a sour yet creamy yoghurt substitute. And work they did! Yay!

I absolutely love the flavour combinations of this – cooling and fresh cucumber, the flavourful yet sharper hints of garlic, and then the herbaceousness of fresh mint. They all mingle so wonderfully with the very slightly sour, yet creamy and smooth cashew cream. Into this mix dip a crispy coated falafel, soft inside and spiced with grounding and earthier cumin notes, and, well, just try for yourself.

Here is my falafel recipe: Vegan falafels

Here is my easy hummus recipe: Easy hummus

Vegan Tzatziki – no yoghurt

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Catherine Stevenson Course: Appetizers, SnacksCuisine: Middle-EasternDifficulty: Easy


Prep time



A fresh, zingy tzatziki dip using cashews, cucumber, garlic and fresh mint. Perfect on a party platter with falafels, pita breads, and fresh vegetable crudités.


  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or for a few hours at least (to enable smoother blending)

  • 1 cup grated cucumber (+-15cm-20cm piece cucumber)

  • 1/2tsp salt (for *degorging the cucumber)

  • 1-2 Tbs lemon juice

  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2tsp salt

  • 1/3 cup (80ml) chopped fresh mint

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/3 cup (80ml) water


  • Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with fresh cold water. Leave to soak overnight, or for 6-8 hours. Alternatively to speed up the process you can soak these for 1 hour or so in freshly boiled water.
  • Grate the cucumber and place it in a sieve. Sprinkle over 1/2 tsp salt and put it aside to allow the liquid from the cucumbers to drain.
  • Drain the cashews from their soaking liquid and add to a blender jug.
  • Add the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, minced garlic and water to the cashews in the blender.
  • Blend for a few minutes until completely smooth. Pour into a medium sized bowl.
  • Using your hands, squeeze the cucumber to get as much water out of it as possible, and add to the cashew cream mixture.
  • Add the chopped fresh mint, and stir altogether well.
  • Store in the fridge.


  • Soaking the cashews makes for easier blending, and a smoother final product. If you are short on time, you can soak the cashews in boiling water for 30-60 minutes to speed up the process.
  • You can use fresh or bottled lemon juice – fresh will probably taste better, but I used store-bought bottled lemon juice and I thought it tasted great.
  • I haven’t tried this with dry mint instead of fresh, but I imagine it would work. Fresh will definitely be best though.
  • Prep time does not include time for soaking the cashews.
  • Servings are for appetizer portions.
  • Degorging is the process of using salt to remove liquid from vegetables. It is often done with aubergine/eggplant, and is used in this recipe so that the cucumber does not add too much water to the cashew cream and create a runny or thin end result.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *