One of my favourite discoveries last year, when I visited Greece, was Kolokithokeftedes – Fried Zucchini/Courgette Fritters. A delectable mix of crispy outside and soft interior. Returning home, I dug out a few recipes and inevitably, made some changes to come up with my own version, that fits in well with a Mediterranean style diet and one that is full of vegetables, nuts and, very importantly, FLAVOUR.
These are great fried, but actually easier to make and probably healthier too, if you bake them. Instead of breadcrumbs, I use ground almonds, which help to make them more protein-rich and lower in carbs.
You can vary the herbs and spices, but for me, mint and basil or oregano, along with freshly toasted and ground cumin and coriander, plus a little smoked paprika, have become the favourites. Add some finely chopped chilli for a bit of a hot kick.
This is good with larger courgettes too, though for the best flavour and texture I choose medium sized ones – up to about 15cm long. You can use any summer squash, as shown here, I have used a mixture of yellow patty pan squash and courgettes.
*It’s important to remove moisture, so after grating them, I lay them on a cloth and then gather it up into a ball and squeeze out as much liquid as I can.
Greek Inspired Courgette Patties (Kolkithokeftedes)
Makes 12 – 15
- 3 med – large courgettes (about 750g), grated and squeezed * (120 kcal)
- 1 red onion, finely chopped (44 kcal)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (9 kcal)
- ½ green or red chilli, finely chopped (optional) (2 kcal)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten (63 kcal)
- 3 – 4 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (parsley/mint/basil/oregano/coriander) (9 kcal)
- 100g ground almonds (579 kcal)
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled (264 kcal)
- 25g parmesan cheese, grated (80 kcal)
- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
- 1 tsp ground cumin (8 kcal)
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika (2 kcal)
- olive oil for frying or baking (40 kcal per tsp)
Mix all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a bowl.
If you are going to bake them:
Heat the oven to 200c. Spray or brush a non-stick baking sheet with olive oil. With damp hands, take about a tablespoonful of the mixture, form into a rough ball and then flatten into patties. Lay them on the sheet and finally spray or brush very lightly with a little more oil. Bake on the top shelf for 25 to 30 minutes, turning half way through.
If you are going to fry them:
Heat a non-stick frying pan over med-high heat and add enough olive oil to just cover the base. Using a damp spoon, put spoonfuls of the mix into the hot oil and fry on both sides/all over until nicely browned. In Greece I have seen them all shapes and sizes, so go with what suits you!
a couple of examples of Greek kolokithokeftedes
Either way, lay onto some paper towel to absorb any extra oil. Serve hot, warm or cool.
Delicious served with Tsatsiki (Yogurt and Cucumber dip) and/or a Tomato and Chilli Salsa.
If you make 12 from this quantity, each one will be just 98 kcal, plus a little for the oil they are cooked in. In the following calculations, I have allowed for 2 tsps, which is approximately what I needed when baking them
Per Patty: kcals 105
Carbs 5.6g Fat 7.7g Protein 5.0g