This cooling yogurt-based South Asian recipe, raita, is a delicious side dish or appetizer that can be made in just 5 minutes using a mason jar. It’s the perfect side kick to Brinjal Curry, Fish Biryani or Tandoori Chicken and provides 6 grams of protein per serving. This yogurt sauce is vegetarian and diabetes friendly.

Top view of a gold spoonful of a yogurt sauce dotted with cucumber and spices.

If you’re anything like me, you love adding dollops of raita to your Indian and Pakistani dishes. As a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, I know just how important it is to include plenty of gut healing foods and diverse nutrients in your diet. That’s why I love raita; it makes your meals more filling and gives them an extra zing of flavour.

What is raita, and what are its benefits?

Raita is an Indian yogurt sauce loved by many because of its incredible versatility and subtle, refreshing flavour. This delicious cucumber-yogurt recipe is perfect on its own or as a creamy topping for a variety of Desi (South Asian) dishes (serving ideas below).

Plus, I think it’s a great vehicle to add fresh herbs and vegetables to your diet.

In addition to protein, Greek yogurt is a source of:

  • probiotics
  • calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • B vitamins
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

Filled with important nutrients like protein and B vitamins, this raita recipe is perfect for an energy boost, supporting digestion, and overall wellness. Plus, its low-carb status means it’s ideal for those looking to stabilize blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetes management.

What about cucumbers?

Well, they’re a low-calorie, water-rich fruit – exceptionally high in Vitamin K. This vitamin is important for bone health and heart health.

The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe

Creating authentic cucumber raita couldn’t be easier. Here’s what you will need:

An array of food ingredients including half a cucumber, bowl of yogurt, and ramekins of spices and herbs on a wooden board.
  • Cucumber: You want to use grated cucumber. Many recipes recommend getting rid of the moisture from the cucumber, however, I prefer to keep all of its juicy goodness–it’s better for both flavour and preventing food waste. Don’t worry, it still results in the most creamy, luscious raita every time.
  • Greek yogurt: Look for regular Greek yogurt (not low fat). You could use curd (also known as Dahi) if you prefer. However, the yogurt should be rich and thick in consistency.
  • Salt and pepper: Sea salt and coarse black pepper help balance the flavour of your raita. Feel free to experiment with different types of salts and peppers, such as cumin salt or red chilli flakes.
  • Garlic powder: I love how garlic powder adds both flavour and subtle spiciness to this raita. It’s a perfect complement to the cucumber and herbs.
  • Fresh herbs: Depending on your taste preferences, you can use a variety of fresh herbs in your raita recipe, including dill, mint, basil and cilantro. Just remember that these are potent, so a little goes a long way! My favourite is freshly chopped mint, which is what we are using for this recipe.

On the hunt for easy-to-make sides, browse my compilation of healthy sides for inspiration.

How to make cucumber raita in just 5 minutes

The mason jar makes it much easier to make raita. Plus, there is less clean-up because you can store any leftover raita in the jar and keep it in the fridge for several days.

Here’s how to make this delicious side:

1. Begin by grating the cucumber (Step 1). Then, in a small (250 mL) mason jar, combine Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, salt, pepper and mint (Steps 2-3).

2. Place the lid and shake to incorporate all the ingredients. You may need to stir the raita with a spoon to fully mix the mint and spices.

3. Place the finished cucumber raita in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

The complete recipe — with ingredient amounts and instructions — can be found in the recipe card below.

Tips and substitutions

The key to making the perfect raita every time lies in understanding the basics of its preparation and mastering the balance of flavours.

  • Begin with high-quality plain Greek yogurt, preferably Greek or Indian style (thick and creamy).
  • Adding herbs and spices like cumin, coriander, chilli powder, garlic, mint, salt and pepper will help create a depth of flavour for a savoury version of Raita.
  • For a sweet version adding rosewater or cardamom to the mix makes for an elegant flavour profile.
  • For some extra crunch, fold in a quarter cup of lightly toasted peanuts and two tablespoons of sesame seeds.
  • Raita is best served cold, so it’s important to prepare it in advance so that the ingredients can fully incorporate and marinate.
  • If you are looking for a version that is vegan-friendly, simply switch out the dairy yogurt for coconut or soy.

Serving ideas

So how do you enjoy raita? There are plenty of ways to incorporate it into your meals. Personally, I think it’s the best meal prep side. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

  • As a side dish to your curries. Plus, it’s ideal to serve as an accompaniment to spicy biryanis and dals.
  • Enjoy with flatbreads, such as pita, paratha, roti or naan to create a delicious snack. You could also pair cucumber raita with grilled vegetables or crispy tofu for a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • Use it as a dipping sauce for grilled meats, basa fish, pakora fritters or even kebabs.
  • For a more creative take, try using raita as a topping on burgers, cauliflower tacos or even in masala veggie omelettes.

Nutrition highlights

A serving of this raita recipe with cucumber is:

  • A high source of protein for a side dish (6 g)
  • Low carb
  • Under 50 calories
  • Reduced in salt
  • Low in fat (including saturated fat)

*Nutrient claims based on a 2000-calorie diet.

A mason jar with a white sauce in it on a decorative place mat.

What are your go-to curry side dishes? Let me know in the comments below.

If you try this raita recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! I can’t wait to see your photos. 

RD Approved Badge - Gut Healthy
A mason jar with a white sauce in it on a decorative place mat.
5 stars (1 review)

Get the Recipe:

5-Minute Cucumber Raita (High Protein!)

Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Yield: 2 servings
This cooling yogurt-based South Asian recipe, raita, is a delicious side dish or appetizer that can be made in just 5 minutes using a mason jar. It's the perfect addition to Brinjal Curry, Fish Biryani or Tandoori Chicken and provides 6 grams of protein per serving. This yogurt sauce is vegetarian and diabetes friendly.

Ingredients
 

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • cup cucumber, grated, including the juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • tsp salt, sea salt, adjust according to taste
  • 1 tbsp mint, fresh, washed, finely chopped

Equipment

  • 1 mason jar small, 250 mL

Instructions
 

  • Add all the ingredients to a 250 mL mason jar.
  • Place the lid and shake the mason jar to incorporate all ingredients. You may need to stir with a spoon to fully mix in the mint and spices.
  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Notes

The key to making the perfect raita every time lies in understanding the basics of its preparation and mastering the balance of flavours.
  • Begin with high-quality plain Greek yogurt, preferably Greek or Indian style (thick and creamy).
  • Adding herbs and spices like cumin, coriander, chilli powder, garlic, mint, s,alt and pepper will help create depth of flavour for a savoury version of Raita.
  • For a sweet version adding rosewater or cardamom to the mix makes for an elegant flavour profile.
  • For some extra crunch, fold in a quarter cup of lightly toasted peanuts and two tablespoons of sesame seeds.
  • Raita is best served cold, so it’s important to prepare it in advance so that the ingredients can fully incorporate and marinate.
  • If you are looking for a version that is vegan-friendly, simply switch out the dairy yogurt for coconut or soy.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 42kcal (2%)Carbohydrates: 4g (1%)Protein: 6g (12%)Fat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.1g (1%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.03gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 3mg (1%)Sodium: 166mg (7%)Potassium: 146mg (4%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 130IU (3%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 70mg (7%)Iron: 0.4mg (2%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: Indian, pakistani
Course: Side, Snack
Did you make this recipe?Mention @desiliciousrd on Instagram or tag #desiliciousrd.