ExperiencePlus! Blog

Kolokithokeftethes (Greek Zucchini Patties)


Greek Zucchini Patties

This month’s recipe comes to us from Greek tour leader (and olive grower) Yorgos Paraskevopoulos.  It’s a traditional holiday food you’ll see throughout Greece and Turkey.   

This time of year zucchini squash can be found in all shapes and sizes around Greece.  Walking around in any rural, or even suburban, neighborhoods they are easy to spot in peoples gardens.  They are usually on the ground or hanging from a tree—shady spots where they are easily preserved.  Many of these squash are just overgrown zucchini that were hidden by the leaves of the plant and overlooked by the gardeners seeking them all summer.  When this happens they grow too sweet and mature to be cooked as part of some of the Greek summer recipes. Traditionally, it is around the Christmas holidays that people have enough free time to carve a squash and use it in a simple and flavorful way. 


-2 lbs. of zucchini squash, peeled and sliced (don’t forget to remove the veins and pits!) then chopped finely, using a cheese grater. Leave the squash overnight in a colander and squeeze to drain before using
-2 onions, finely chopped
-1/2 cup of chopped mint

-crumbled feta cheese (if not using cheese, use a couple of generous pinches of salt)
-some pepper
-optionally, 1 egg

After mixing all the ingredients together well, add enough flour to firm.  Scoop the mixture into a ball (larger than the size of a golf ball). After using your hands to flatten it into an oval shape patty, and dusting it with a bit more flour, fry the patties in a pan with olive oil.  Cook for about a minute on each side until golden brown.  Remove and blot them on paper towels.

There is a Turkish counterpart to the Greek kolokithokefte.  The Turkish version tastes familiar to the Greek dish and, at the same time, interestingly different when served with a dill or mint yoghurt, as is the case in Turkey.

 The ingredients are:
-2 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (from about 3 medium-sized ones)
-1 teaspoon salt, divided
-1 large egg
-1 large egg yolk
-1/2 cup (or more) all purpose flour

-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
-1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
-1/2 cup chopped green onions
-1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup corn oil

Plain Greek yogurt
Mint or dill to add to the yogurt

            Toss zucchini and ½ teaspoon salt in large bow.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Transfer to sieve and press out excess liquid. Place zucchini in dry bowl and mix in egg, yolk, ½ cup flower, cheese, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Mix in parsley, onions, and dill.  If batter is very wet, add floor gradually. Heat 2 tablespoons each of olive and corn oil. Using a spoon to form balls, fry the patties until golden, about 5 minutes per side, adding more olive and corn oil as needed.  Transfer to paper towels.  Serve with yogurt.  This recipe can also be made ahead of time and they will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a day or two.  To rewarm, place on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.  



Kolokithokeftethes frying up in a pan of olive oil...