Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Easy Recipe for Double-Dill South Beach Diet Friendly Tartar Sauce

Tartar Sauce
Although I'm sure food snobs consider it to be a horribly ordinary condiment, the truth is I really love tartar sauce. There's a fast food restaurant in Salt Lake that has tartar sauce that's so tasty, I could eat it with a spoon. However, (sigh) most tartar sauce is a long way from being South Beach friendly. The reduced fat ones you buy at the grocery store are loaded with sugar, and most tartar sauce recipes are a bit too heavy on the mayo to be very friendly for any type of diet. Recently I've been loving roasted Tilapia and thinking about how much I love tartar sauce so I decided to try to come up with a tasty tartar sauce that didn't have sugar and was lower in fat. It took a bit of experimenting, but this recipe combines fat-free Greek Yogurt, regular or reduced fat mayo, dill weed, capers, and dill pickle relish, and is not only easy-to-make, it's as delicious as any tartar sauce I've ever had.

I love the flavor of dill, but I probably should call it "the forgotten herb" around here, because it's something I forget to plant sometimes, and when I do plant it in my garden, I often forget to use it. Wikipedia on dill reminds us that the plant has small fruits which are used as a spice (dill seed) and the plant is also used as a fresh herb (dill) or a dried herb (dill weed). Dill is widely used in pickles, vinegars, salad dressings, and as a seasoning for fish, and it's included among The World's Healthiest Foods, being high in iron, manganese, and calcium. It also contains two types of healing components: monoterpenes and flavonoids. (Follow the link to the WHF to read more about the health benefits of dill.) I made my tartar sauce "double-dill" by using both dried dill weed and dill pickle relish, and if I'm not mistaken I think this is the very first time I've used dill for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook this week.

Although this is truly a simple recipe, it took me a couple of tries to get it just right, so I thought I'd share some photos of the process that turned out very tasty tartar sauce.

Start with 2/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt and 1/3 cup mayo. You can use regular or reduced-fat mayo, but don't use fat-free mayo which always contains sugar.)

Whisk 1/2 tsp. dill weed (and Bon Appetit if using) into the yogurt/mayo mixture and let it sit while you chop the capers.

Drain and finely chop 2 T capers. Some people like to rinse capers, but I confess I usually don't bother.

I was excited when I found dill pickle relish (no sugar) in my store, which saved me the step of chopping the dill pickles. If you can't find it, use 3 T finely chopped dill pickles.

Add finely chopped capers and dill pickles to yogurt-mayo mixture and gently combine. (Don't over mix and don't be tempted to use a food processor to chop the capers and pickles and then blend in the yogurt and mayo. That produced an overly green mixture for me!)

Finished tartar sauce should look quite chunky, and have a pronounced dill flavor with a bit of tang from the yogurt and a little creaminess from the mayo.

Easy Double-Dill South Beach Friendly Tartar Sauce
(Makes 1 1/4 cups tartar sauce, recipe created by Kalyn.)

2/3 cup fat-free plain yogurt (I used my favorite Greek yogurt. If you can't find it, there are links in that post for how to strain yogurt or make your own Greek yogurt.)
1/3 cup mayo (I used full-fat mayo, but you can use reduced fat)
1/2 tsp. dill weed (dried dill)
1/4 tsp. Bon Appetit seasoning (optional)
2 T capers, drained and finely minced
3 T dill pickle relish (or use finely chopped dill pickles)

In a plastic bowl, combine yogurt and mayo, then whisk in dill weed (and Bon Appetit if using.) Let sit while you drain and finely chop the capers. Add chopped capers and dill pickle relish (or chopped dill pickles) to the yogurt-mayo mixture and stir to gently combine. Mixture should be chunky. Refrigerate for a few hours before using for best flavor. This will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
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South Beach Suggestions:

This tartar sauce is a great low-glycemic condiment for the South Beach Diet or any low-glycemic eating plan. Even with full-fat mayo, it's lower in fat than most tartar sauce recipes, and most mayo contains soybean oil, which is considered a "good fat" for South Beach.

More Takes on Tartar Sauce:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Creole Tartar Sauce from Nola Cuisine
Tartar Sauce from The Domestic Goddess
Homemade Tartar Sauce from Je Mange la Ville
Tartar Sauce from Cloudberry Quark
Creamy Dill Sauce for Salmon from Just Call Me Suzy
Jalapeno Tartar Sauce from Hogwash
Instead of Processed Tartar Sauce from You Are What You Eat

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  1. That sounds really great. I can't eat fish without tartar sauce. And I had no idea fat free mayo had sugar in it! I'll have to cross that off this weeks shopping list. :)

  2. Your home-made tartar sauce looks really, really good. I love your photos guide!

  3. i have yet to try using dill in my cooking...it is not so conveniently available here in hong kong, i gotta go to big luxury supermarkets to get imported fresh herb ^_^ but it would be a nice weekend project for me...thanks for the tips! :)

  4. Thanks for this posting. I am trying to grow dill in my little garden in Bangalore, India since its not always available in the grocery store.

  5. Kalyn that's fabulous ... I love tartare sauce, and I often make something quite like it with 0% Greek yoghurt, but your experimenting has been much more systematic


  6. That's pretty much how I llike my Tartar...with the addition of red onion or scallion.

  7. Kalyn - I share your love of tartare sauce! Friends make fun of me because I eat it with everything. One of may favourite ways to eat it is with chips!!

  8. I love tartar sauce so much! Making it with Greek yogurt is a brilliant idea.

  9. I love tartar sauce, too. When I'mm really bad I make frozen fish sticks with tartar sauce...
    When I was in college, and poor(er) we couldn't afford shrimp so we would order onion rings with tartar sauce and pretend...

  10. I love finding out that I'm not the only food blogger with a secret fondness for tartar sauce! Thanks everyone.

  11. I love tartar sauce, too, especially on some of our local summer seafood specialties like clam cakes.

  12. Cranky sez: Right On!
    Go for it.

  13. A good for you tartar sauce. Now you're talking! I love it, but always feel guilty eating it. Now I can have my tartar sauce...and eat it too!

  14. Yum! I am a huge fan of dill. this tartar sauce would have been perfect for my dinner tonight - and a lot healthier. I need to begin use Greek Yogurt.

  15. Dilly tartar sauce is so good!

  16. Yes! I love tartar sauce too. I've put hot sauce in it before to give it zip but the dill is a PERFECT taste for most fish. Thanks for the recipe.

  17. I adore creamy dill sauce on everything from fish to veggies to rice and tofu. Thanks Kalyn!

  18. Now I have to go out searching for pickle relish without sugar! I've never liked the ultra-sweet stuff.
    This recipe nicely takes the edge off the guilt of fried fish. ; )

    (This comment is actually Susan from The Well Seasoned Cook but I had a senior moment and hit "reject" instead of publish on this comment! My apologies to Susan who's the host for WHB this week.

  19. This is EXCELLENT tarter sauce!...thanks so much for posting it. I am currently eating it with my not quite south beach friendly fish sticks...delish! I made it with the 'newer' best foods mayo made with olive oil. Now it is percolating in the frig waiting to be used with my tilapia (love that!) thx again and btw love your blog, I recommend you to any and all who ask me about SBD.

  20. Lizykat, so happy to hear that you liked it. My dad is a big fan of 100% mayo tartar sauce, but he loved it.

  21. I was a little unsure about capers as I've never had them. So I tried one and decided they taste a little like a spicy green olive. I made the double dill tartar sauce and both my husband and I really liked it. I actually think it's better than regular tartar sauce. I'm sure I'll be making it again.

  22. Dee, I agree, capers do taste a little like green olives. So glad to hear you liked it.

  23. Hey, Kalyn! Got here on a search for no-sugar dill pickle relish. I'm going to can cukes this week and would love to find a dill pickle recipe that doesn't call for sugar. I suppose I can just leave it out, since it's really only a flavor issue rather than a preservation issue.

  24. Valeree, another option would be to use something like Splenda or Stevia to sweeten the pickles a bit. Agave nectar would also work, although it's not sugar free (but it is low glycemic.) Sorry I haven't tried making that, but good idea!

  25. I am just starting the South Beach diet and I have bookmarked your site. I love it! Thank you for helping me with this weeks dinners. My husband will be so excited!

  26. I made this last night and have to tell you - my 15 year old son said, "That tartar sauce was GOOD! Can we have fish again tomorrow night?"

    You know it's good when that happens!

    I used regular FF plain yogurt (Great Value brand) and then did the rest of the recipe as written with the capers and relish.


  27. Deann, how fun! So glad it was a hit.

  28. Not sure what the Bon Apatite ingredent is,maybe a many spice combo? Going to try this tonight,and have everything except that one,even though it's optional I'd like to try it. Thanks Kalyn

  29. Bon Appetit is a mixture of spices, mainly celery and onion flavors. Onion salt + celery salt would be a good substitute. Hope you enjoy it.

  30. Your tartar sauce is amazing! I just had it with some baked Tilapia and it was so good. I substituted green olives for the capers which added so much flavor.

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. I started the South Beach diet today and you're recipe has made for an easy first day.

  31. Asha, glad you're enjoying the recipes, and I love the idea of green olives in this!


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