Yogurt – Zucchini Spread… and Summer is Here!

The heat wave has finally hit the South! We enjoyed the spring as long (or short) as it lasted. Now it is the time where I can actually feel my skin crumbling if I stay under the sun more than 15 minutes! When I was a kid, I used to spend all day out on the beach at my grandparent’s summer house in Tatlιsu, Bandιrma and never had this feeling once even when I tanned until my skin color turned pretty much brown! No, I did not know about the skin cancer back then but also I never, ever got sick in summer those days.  For the past four- five years, I have had my most terrible colds during July. Could it be possibly because of the fact that my office is 67-degrees and outside is 97-degrees? And the building management refuses to adjust  the A/C to a higher temperature  while I work at my desk, wrapped in a big, warm Alpaca wool shawl, contemplating about wearing gloves!

The view of the beach that I spent the first 23 summers of my life! Oh how much I miss it!

Another sign that tells me that it is summer is my CSA box. As you know, I have been getting lots of cabbages lately (like 5 weeks in a row!) but this week, there was corn! My husband’s reaction was “Sweet!! It is Summer!”.

We have been also enjoying lots of zucchini and squash, just plain roasted. But since this household has agreed that it is officially summer, I wanted make the yogurt-zucchini spread that my mom always makes for light summer dinners. It is such simple yet flavor-packed dish. You can use it as an appetizer or you can use it as a side dish if you have grilled meat.

Zucchini, by itself, is a very bland vegetable. But it provides a great base for walnuts, garlic, dill and yogurt in this dish. I am giving the measurements I used for approximately2 lbs of zucchini. But feel free to adjust since it all depends on how garlicky,nutty you like or how much yogurt you want in it.

First saute the coarsely grated zucchini until all water is gone, then let it rest in a mesh over a bowl to get rid of any excess water it might have. Then you start adding the ingredients until it tastes and looks just right to you.The pictures show the zucchini without dill mixed in, since my husband does not like dill – which I have hard time understanding! – so I garnished with dill on top It is best to serve it cold so it can counteract the heat from grilled meat or hot bread.

For this dish, I had two different recipes in hand: my mom’s and Sheilah Kaufman/NurIlkin’s ( The Turkish Cookbook). The measurements ended up being slightly different for each ingredient but I have to say that The Turkish Cookbook has become one of my dear references!

Hope you enjoy this cold dish in your hot summer nights!

Yogurt – Zucchini Spread

Adapted from The Turkish Cookbook by Sheilah Kaufman and from the recipe book of Guner Erdogan

Yields 2 cups

Cooking time:  45 minutes (preparation, cooking and assembling)

  • 2 lbs zucchini (coarsely grated)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil(2 Tbs for cooking and 1 Tbs for the assembly)
  • 1 cup of thick yogurt (I used Fage brand since I found its thick consistency perfect for spreads/dips. If you have regular yogurt, drain it over a cheesecloth for an hour or so)
  • 1/2 cup of ground or very finely chopped walnuts (toasted, cooled, measured after you ground it)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (mashed or minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bunch dill, coarsely chopped (optional)
  1. Saute the zucchini over medium heat in 2 tablespoon olive oil until all water is gone – for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Process the toasted walnuts in a food processor.
  3. Place the zucchini in a mesh over a bowl and let it drain any excess water and cool for another 20 minutes.
  4. Mix everything together in a bowl along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Adjust salt to taste.







  1. by Deb @ PaperTurtle
    8:00 am
    Jun 6, 2011

    Yummy!!! A friend just gave me a giant zucchini from his garden so this recipe comes at a perfect time. Thanks!!!

  2. by Parsley Sage
    11:07 am
    Jun 6, 2011

    Wowser! I’m thinking I might make this spread this afternoon. Delicious!

  3. by Angela
    9:05 pm
    Jun 6, 2011

    That looks like a great spread. I like the idea of using the dill as a garnish – it is so pretty. I don’t think we really ever had spring – it just went from cold to blazing hot.

  4. by Jeanette
    9:30 pm
    Jun 6, 2011

    Ilke, I love summer dips, and this zucchini one sounds delicious! I get my first CSA box this week and can’t wait to see what’s in it, hopefully a nice variety. I will definitely try your zucchini spread once I get some zucchinis!

  5. by Meg (The Red Spoon)
    12:13 am
    Jun 7, 2011

    Yum! I thought this was hummus at first! The flavors sound so good together, I bet this would be good with pita bread too!

  6. by Shelley
    8:48 am
    Jun 7, 2011

    The spread sounds terrific! Excellent idea for the zucchini I’ve received in my CSA as well. And I feel you about the heat. We’re already reaching temps over 100 degrees F here in Austin so that forbodes that we’re in for a long, hot summer :-(

  7. by rebecca
    6:54 pm
    Jun 7, 2011

    wow what an awesome way to use Zucchini love it

  8. by Heidi
    10:12 pm
    Jun 7, 2011

    Yum, I love the sound of this dip! So creative. Where I am, Winter is finally here! hehe. Bring on Summer, I say…
    Heidi xo

  9. by Angie@Angiesrecipes
    7:30 am
    Jun 9, 2011

    Love zucchini spread! Great with bread or crackers.

  10. by sonia
    11:29 am
    Jun 9, 2011

    Hi There, This is looking absolutely delightful. Loved the new combo of ingredients and the recipe is so nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

  11. by Elcin
    3:33 pm
    Jun 9, 2011

    I will try this today! looks delicious!!! :)

  12. by Geni
    7:16 am
    Jun 14, 2011

    Oh, I love this and my mom grows more zucchini than she know what to do with. I am so grateful for this delicious sounding dip. Your bread looks fabulous as well!

  13. by Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen
    11:45 am
    Jul 6, 2011

    Yummy! I love fresh dill. Zucchini is another fave. Looks like a delicious dip.

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