Easy Moroccan Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Tangy Greek yogurt gets a flavorful boost from preserved lemon and finely chopped fresh herbs… Easy Moroccan Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce is a perfect finish to your Moroccan/Middle Eastern (even every day) dishes, and it’s so quick and easy to make!

Easy Moroccan Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce with Fresh Herbs - cutting board and knife, preserved lemon slice, herbs, and yogurt in a bowl.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Preserved Lemons

Why preserved lemons when fresh are so readily available and inexpensive? Fresh lemons are to preserved lemons as fresh tomatoes are to home canned tomatoes? No. Not at all.

Boston chef Ana Sortun has a name for that: lemon umami. “Preserved lemons add a fermented quality that a regular lemon would not,” she says.

~~ Serious Eats.

Preserved lemons are an indispensable ingredient in the Moroccan pantry. I first encountered them at a Moroccan restaurant where Mark and I celebrated our anniversary years ago. It was love at first bite!

Originally lemons were preserved for the same reasons other foods are preserved – to extend their use past the growing season. They took on their own significance as a pantry item in North African cooking due to the intense and complex flavor they impart to a dish.

Preserved lemons are widely available in the US now, but they’re not cheap. Why spend the money if you can make a big jar for a fraction of the cost? I live in south Texas (land of amazing and inexpensive citrus!), but lemons are pretty darn affordable just about anywhere. 2 INGREDIENTS. You heard me right! And about 15 minutes of your time.

The most difficult part of making a jar of preserved lemons is the anticipation. It may kill you. You need to shake the jar daily, but leave them alone for at least a month. Can you handle it?

We just got into our first jar of these beauties about a week ago, and we’ve gone through half. I’m planning on starting a second batch today so that I don’t have to do without.

Easy Moroccan Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce with Fresh Herbs - close up of yogurt sauce.

🍋 How to Use Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons aren’t just for tagines anymore. All things considered, swap out preserved lemons for fresh lemons in just about anything (even cocktails!). The reverse does not apply. If a recipe calls for preserved lemons, fresh lemons don’t work. Here’s some ideas:

Just think of ways you use lemons to brighten up a dish, and sub in preserved lemons. IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE!

Ingredients for Moroccan lemon yogurt sauce: Plain yogurt, preserved lemons, fresh cilantro, parsley, and mint, and Aleppo pepper.

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  • preserved lemons – Whether you buy preserved lemons or make preserved lemons, there is no substitute. The umami flavor that is captured in the fermenting process is unique.
  • plain yogurt – I use nonfat plain Greek yogurt. You can use regular yogurt as well, but it will not be as thick.
  • fresh herbs – Think of Mediterranean herbs like parsley, cilantro, mint, rosemary, etc. On photo day, I used parsley, cilantro, and mint. You can use one fresh herb, or a variety.
  • Aleppo pepper – Aleppo pepper is optional, but I love it! What is Aleppo pepper? It is a deep red or burgundy mild chile pepper with earth-y and fruity undertones that can be used like any other red chile pepper. It is about half as hot as crushed red pepper. I find it at my local market, and keep it in my well-stocked pantry, but you can buy it on Amazon as well. If you don’t want to buy it, Spanish paprika is a pretty good substitute, but it won’t have the coarse ground appearance that I find so appealing!

🔪 How to Make Preserved Lemon Sauce

Step 1 - Add all ingredients to bowl; stir to combine.
  • Step 1 of 1 – This yogurt sauce could not be more simple (or more delicious  😀 )! Whisk together 1 preserved lemon (minced), 1/4 cup of fresh herbs (cilantro, mint, orange mint, parsley – finely chopped), 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid from the preserved lemons. Garnish with aleppo pepper (optional). Voilà!

Preserved lemons are not cheap, and you can make them for a fraction of the cost. I do my best to keep them on hand, but I won’t hesitate to buy them if I’m craving them! I hope you’ll give them a try!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes.

Easy preserved lemon yogurt sauce in a terra cotta and red bowl.

Moroccan Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Tangy Greek yogurt gets a flavorful boost from preserved lemon and finely chopped fresh herbs… A perfect finish to your Moroccan/Middle Eastern (even every day) dishes, and it's so quick and easy to prepare!
4.30 from 10 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine Moroccan/North African
Servings 8 servings
Calories 16 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces plain Greek yogurt - nonfat or regular
  • 1 preserved lemon - rinsed, flesh removed, rind minced
  • ¼ cup fresh herbs - cilantro, parsley, mint, orange mint
  • 1-2 teaspoons preserved lemon liquid - to taste
  • aleppo pepper - to garnish; optional

Instructions

  • Whisk together the first 4 ingredients.
  • Garnish with aleppo pepper and/or additional minced lemon and herbs.

Notes

I do a basic preserved lemon recipe with just salt and lemons. Adding herbs and spices makes them less versatile. Cure them a minimum of 30 days! I know that’s hard. 😯
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 16 calories; 2 g protein; 2 g carbohydrates; 2 g fat. Note: Macros based on about an ounce of yogurt.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

🍋 Recipes to Pair with Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce

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3 Comments

  1. I still have some preserved lemons left from a big batch I made in June and am thrilled to have more recipes to use them in! This looks like a wonderful sauce for a wrap and would be my first Moraccan inspired recipes that I used my preserved lemons in. I add them to so many dishes, but have never made Moroccan. Crazy right? 🙂

    1. Never Moroccan? You’ve been missing out MJ! I find it’s a “go to” for me so often… especially since I can’t get green chile 😉