Zucchini Rolls with Garlic-Dill Tzatziki
Back in 2012, I started planning my dream wedding. This meant Pinterest-ing up a storm (by the way, searching anything to do with weddings on Pinterest is a magically beautiful rabbit hole that will leave you wondering where the past 3 hours went). I ended up seeing a theme in my food pins; I gravitated towards beautiful, raw foods. Raw drinks (Lavender Lemonade anyone?), appetizers, soups, salads, entrées, desserts, chocolates… anything and everything.
Every raw foods dish I found was fresh, colorful, and so artfully plated. The flavors and ingredients were sophisticated and elegant. I daydreamed that my wedding reception would be the place where so many of my loved ones would fall in love with the delicious vibrance of gourmet raw food cuisine. They’d all have so much energy, they’d feel so clean, and they’d feel what it is like to be high on a flurry of vitamins and minerals. They’d be surprised at the wonderful textures, both the strong and delicate flavors, and they would realize that plant-based dishes weren’t so scary after all.
Once I got beyond Pinterest, however, I realized that all the planning, organizing, deciding, and, you know, money, that goes into a wedding was just too much for me. We ended up having a beautifully unplanned elopement. We were married by a village mayor who didn’t really English (so the vows were a little tricky), on the tropical island of Guam. It was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.
Anyway, when our newest contributor, Marina Yanay-Triner, said she’d like to make a raw zucchini roll dish, I was reminded of those elegant raw food dishes I once dreamt about. It turns out, these zucchini rolls are totally simple and easy to put together, although they look so upscale. I love Marina’s food because the dishes she creates are a reflection of her native cuisine. Being from Jerusalem, she has a background in Israeli and Mediterranean flavors. Being the founder of Soul in the Raw and as a raw foodie herself, she also has an affinity for incredibly nourishing raw food cuisine. I am so excited for the recipes she has in store for us!
These beautiful zucchini rolls are lovely as an appetizer or an entrée. We’ve shown you both versions here, the finger-food and the fork-and-knife, sit down dish. You can fill these raw zucchini rolls with anything you’d like. You could make an Italian version with cashew ricotta and a thick sundried-tomato sauce. You could make a Mexican version with bell peppers, marinated onions, raw enchilada sauce, and crumbly cauliflower cotija “cheese”. You could make a Thai version with peels of carrot, cucumber, green onion, cilantro, and peanut sauce.
Here we have a Mediterranean version made with marinated onions and cherry tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, and garlic-dill tzatziki.
Experiment with the tzatziki to make it to your taste preference. Some other versions contain shredded cucumber and fresh parsley instead of dill. You can tinker with the raw garlic, salt, lemon, and spices to create a flavor that’s right for you.
*If you do make this as a dinner party dish, know that it is best eaten immediately after assembling. Within a few minutes of sitting, water will start to pool from the fresh, raw zucchini, making it less visually appealing. You may also experiment with using individual appetizer dishes or even toothpicks to help with longevity.
- 1 cup of coconut meat (or about 1 coconut)
- 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/8 cup water
- 1/2 clove of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1/8 cup juice from a fresh lemon
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1/2 a capsule of probiotics, powder only (optional)
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 large red onion
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme, parsley, and basil each (use fresh if preferred)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 zucchini
- Extra dried herbs
- Extra Tzatziki sauce
- Blend the coconuts, chia, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and half of the water until you have a thick creamy mixture.
- Add more water if you'd like it a little thinner.
- Let sit for one hour to allow the chia seeds to thicken the sauce.
- Mix the probiotics (the powder only) and dill into the coconut mixture.
- Cover and let it sit on your counter for about 8 hours. During this step, the probiotics create the fermented, sour flavor that yogurt gives traditional tzatziki.
- Thinly chop the tomatoes and onion.
- Mix in the herbs and apple cider vinegar.
- Allow to marinate for about an hour on your counter or in the fridge.
- Discard the top and bottom bits of the zucchini.
- Slice the zucchini in strips, lengthwise.*
- *If you are using these as the single roll, appetizer option, you'll want to slice these thin, but you do not want them thin enough to see through. The strips need to be sturdy enough to keep the roll together and upright, yet thin and flexible enough to roll.
- *If you are using them as the long entrée option, slice as thin as possible.
- *If you use a mandoline to make the strips, use the 2” setting.
- Lay 1 strip of zucchini out.
- Cover it with a thin layer of tzatziki, the whole way across.
- Place a small amount of sprouts a few inches from the top.
- Place a dollop of marinated veggies on top.
- Roll the zucchini strip, carefully yet tightly enough to secure the filling inside.
- Sprinkle with dried thyme, basil, and parsley for garnish.
- Repeat until all the ingredients are gone.
- Place 5 lengthwise zucchini strips on a plate, with the long sides slightly overlapping.
- Add an inch or two of sprouts a few inches from the beginning edge (where the tops and bottoms of the zucchinis were).
- Add some marinated veggies and tzatziki on top of the sprouts.
- Use a knife to lift the 5 strips of zucchini at the same time.
- With your hands, roll the zucchini like you would roll sushi.
- Sprinkle with dried thyme, basil, and parsley for garnish.
- If you want to make fermented coconut yogurt (for sour taste in traditional tzatziki), prepare the sauce the day before as it needs some time to culture.
Marina Yanay-Triner is the owner of Soul in the Raw, a raw, vegan health and nutrition coaching company. She aims to increase the knowledge and awareness of raw foods, as well as help individuals along on their health journey. You can get more of Marina’s awesome recipes, tips, and lifestyle techniques on the Soul in the Raw Facebook page.