This veggie starter will become your new favorite dish. Traditional Greek Kolokithokeftedes are a popular Cretan ouzo meze, found in most of the islands taverns and restaurants. If you ever had this popular dish before you would have been impressed with their flavorful texture, full of salty, tasty feta cheese with a hint of fresh mint! But how to make them to perfection? Its easier than you think with this traditional Cretan recipe.
What is Traditional Greek Kolokithokeftedes?
Traditional Greek Kolokithokeftedes is a Cretan ouzo meze found in most of the islands of taverns. The word “Kolokithokeftedes” translates literally to Zucchini Meatballs so this dish incorporates the most flavorful textures possible.
What are the key ingredients of traditional Greek Kolokithokeftedes?
- Zucchinis- Grated zucchinis are one of the main ingredients of traditional Greek Kolokithokeftedes.
- Onions- For this recipe you will need red onions and spring onions, the red onion is grated and the spring onions will be chopped. The onions also add in a nice ‘crunch’.
- Spices and aromatics- Mint, salt, ground pepper, and parsley. The mint and parsley will both be chopped for this recipe. These spices add a delicious aromatic to the air that will make you crave the food before the recipe is even completed.
- Eggs- The eggs help form the meatballs.
- Feta Cheese- If you are accustomed to cooking Greek recipes, you more than likely already have this in your fridge. Feta cheese is a huge staple for most traditional Greek recipes and once you have tried it once, you will fall in love with its tangy flavour.
Key preparations and steps for making traditional Greek Kolokithokeftedes?
- Grate the zucchini- Place the grated zucchini in a colander with a little bit of salt and squeeze to get rid of the excess water. Leave them to dry for about 30 minutes then squeeze again.
- Add all other ingredients in a bowl- Mix well with your hands until the mixture is firm enough to make into balls. Add in a little olive oil in a pan and heat the oil in medium-high heat.
- Dip a spoon in water and add a spoonful of the mixture to the oil- Dip the spoon in water every time before dipping into the mixture so the dough doesn’t stick to the spoon. Fill the pan with the meatballs until full.
- Fry the Kolokithokeftedes- for about 3 minutes on each side then place on a paper towel to absorb the oil. You can also bake the balls in an oven at 108C. Place the formed meatballs on a baking sheet and brush the top with some olive oil and bake for 25 minutes.
- Serve hot- add fresh cold yogurt to the side.
How to make the perfect Kolokithokeftedes (Greek Courgette balls)?
The perfect “Kolokithokeftedes” (zucchini fritters) must be fried till extra crispy on the outside while still preserving their creamy and rich texture on the inside.
The secret behind baking this traditional Greek meze to perfection is in the ingredients. Make sure you use fresh courgettes, a good quality feta cheese and extra virgin olive oil.
To make them super crunchy make sure you use plenty of oil for frying and its heated up to sizzling temperatures. Also fry them in small batches as if you overwhelm the oil with the cold ingredients it will suddenly drop its temperature leading to a soggy texture.
A healthier alternative to these traditional Greek courgette balls is to bake them – best done at 180C / 360F, but make sure you brush them on the top with some olive oil to get that crunchy texture going. This traditional recipe includes both variations – scroll down and find out which one best suits your needs!
Can traditional Greek Kolokithokeftedes be made ahead of time?
Yes, it can be! Make the recipe all the way until step 3, before the frying and then freeze in an airtight container. When you are ready to use, thaw out and continue the recipe. You are also able to fully make the recipe and freeze the cooked Kolokithokeftedes and then unthaw and reheat for 15-20 minutes.
How to store leftovers?
Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days or can be frozen and reheated whenever you are ready.
What to serve with Kolokithokeftedes?
These Kolokithokeftedes from Crete are best served with a light yogurt dip (plain yogurt in a bowl) or with some tasty tzatziki or vegan tzatziki sauce and as part of a meze platter, together with some chickpea fritters (revithokeftedes), hummus, taramasalata, Skordalia, melitzanosalata (aubergine dip), tirokafteri (spicy feta cheese dip), fava (Yellow Split Peas Puree) and some delicious beef meatballs and lamb meatballs. Of course also by itself, with warm crusted bread or pita bread. Or serve this as a side to my delicious moussaka or vegan moussaka with lentils dishes!
Love zucchinis? Then have a look at my favourite Greek zucchini pie and crispy fried zucchini (kolokithakia tiganita) recipes, which I am sure will become a family favourite! If you have some extra zucchinis left, then try making the Greek version of ratatouille, which is called briam (or briami). This is a very healthy vegetarian dish, which can be served as a side dish or a light main dish. Enjoy!Print
Looking for a traditional Greek kolokithokeftedes (zucchini/ courgette balls) recipe? Find out how to make this Cretan feta and courgette dish from scratch!
- 1 kg zucchinis, grated (35 ounces)
- 1 red onion, grated
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsps fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup feta cheese, grated
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups powdered breadcrumbs (or 4 tbsps self raising flour))
- 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsps parsley, finely chopped
- oil for frying
- Use a grater to grate the zucchini and place them in a colander with some salt. Squeeze them with your hands to get rid of the excessive water. Leave them for 30 minutes and squeeze them again.
- Into a large bowl add all the other ingredients and mix well with your hands, until combined and the mixture is firm enough to make the balls. Add a little more flour if needed.
In a pan add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, and heat the oil into medium-high heat.
- Dip a tablespoon in some water and spoon out some of the mixture into the hot oil. Repeat this procedure until the surface off the pan is comfortably filled. You should dip the spoon in the water every time, so that the dough doesn’t stick on it.
- Fry the kolokithokeftedes for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until nicely colored. Place them on paper towel, to absorb the extra oil.
- A healthier alternative is to bake the balls. In that case preheat the oven at 180C, oil the bottom of a baking tray and form the balls with your hands. Take a small handful of the mixture and roll into a ball and then flatten into a patty. Place on the baking tray and form the rest of the balls. Brush the top of the ball with some olive oil and bake for 25 minutes. Halfway through cooking time flip the balls and put back to the oven.
- Serve hot or hot with some fresh cold yogurt aside.
- Serving Size: 1 medium fritter
- Calories: 175kcal
- Sugar: 2.4g
- Sodium: 513.2mg
- Fat: 8.4g
- Saturated Fat: 3.7g
- Unsaturated Fat: 4.1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 17.5g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 8.6g
- Cholesterol: 47.7mg
Keywords: Kolokithokeftedes recipe, Greek courgette balls, Greek zucchini fritters, zucchini balls