When I went to Greece on vacation last year, at one of the restaurants we went to we decided to skip having a main course and we ordered a bunch of mezes or appetizers to share. Among the appetizers were of course some of the classics including tzatziki (a Greek cucumber salad), melitzanosalata (a Greek roasted eggplant salad) and a few others. The one that really caught my attention however was the zucchini balls otherwise know as kolokythokeftedes. They were like meatballs only made with zucchini along with some herbs and feta. They were perfectly round, golden brown, slightly crispy on the outside and warm, soft, moist and tasty on the inside. The zucchini balls were so good and luckily I got to have a lot of them as many at the table passed on them when they heard that they were made with zucchini.
I had been meaning to try making the kolokithokeftedes at home for a while and now that zucchini season is running out it was time to get to making them. I pretty much just started with the recipe that I used for my Greek style zucchini fritters and modified it slightly for the zucchini balls. Where the zucchini fritters could be fairly liquidy and even be poured into the pan to fry the zucchini balls needed to be able to hold their form so I kept adding equal parts whole wheat flour and whole wheat bread crumbs until the mixture could hold the form of a ball. I also added a splash of ouzo to the batter to add a hint of anise that would add that something special that you just can’t quite put your finger on. Despite the fact that my skills at forming perfect balls falls a bit short, the zucchini balls tasted great! I served them with some tzatziki to dip them in and they made a really nice snack. They would also make for a nice light meal. It is always fun trying to recreate dishes that you remember fondly from another time!
Kolokythokeftedes (Zucchini and Feta Balls)
Zucchini, feta and plenty of fresh herbs rolled into balls and fried until light and crispy and golden brown! These zucchini balls are a great appetizer and can be served with tzatziki or marina sauce for dipping.
- 2 cups zucchini, grated and squeezed
- 1/4 cup of feta, crumbled
- 1 splash ouzo (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, minced/grated
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 handful herbs (such as mint, dill and parsley), chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup flour (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- oil for frying
- Mix the zucchini, feta, ouzo, garlic, green onion, herbs and egg and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix in enough flour and breadcrumbs that you can work with the mixture.
- Form the mixture into balls and dust in flour.
- Fry in oil until golden brown and set aside to cool.
Kolokithopita (Greek Zucchini Pie)
Greek Style Zucchini Fritters
Zucchini and Feta Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust
Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Fritters
Greek Style Zucchini Salad
Ntomatokeftedes (Greek Tomato and Feta Fritters)
Sriracha Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs
Blueberry Zucchini Pancakes
Honey Lemon Zucchini Pancakes
WOW, those look great. I'd just hate to have to say the name to save my life!!
Formosan at Heart says
What's the sauce in the middle?
Formosan at Heart: That is a tzatziki sauce in the middle.
arlene brislen says
Can you make and freeze them either before fried or after? I have a ton in my garden right now
These are best fresh! Made with fresh zucchini and eaten soon after they are made. You can freeze them but they will not be as good. If you freeze the raw, shredded, zucchini it will have a mushy texture with a lot of liquid; so you will need to squeeze off the excess liquid and use more flour. If you freeze the already fried balls, they will reheat but not be crispy.
I'm *still* trying to figure out how to pronounce it, but those look awesome!
Divina Pe says
Kevin, that's an awesome appetizer.
I have never had these before but they look SO delicious.
Though zucchini and I generally don't agree so well, I'm really quite intrigued by these…I'll have to give it a go!
sounds great ! i'm going to have to try these!!
Nina Timm says
If I was at that table with you, you would have had stiff competition eating all the Kolokythokeftedes.They look amazing!!!
I made the roasted portobello mushroom salad but I served it alongside achiote (mexican spice) chicken. The salad was amazing!!! And I am a novice in the kitchen, but this recipe was easy to follow! thank you and thanks to Daily Candy which is how I found out about the blog.
Rosa's Yummy Yums says
A scrumptious Greek dish! Yummy!
Yep along with most people, I wont attempt to say it either lol. But they look delish!
Mezes are the best. They are my favorite part of Greek meals! Love the feta and zucchini.
Love your blog….I'm alwasy drooling when I read it :))
These look fantestic!
This is perfect and looks nice to eat!
Oh MY – these look tremendous! You really have outdone yourself this season with the zucchini!
looks like a great meal to me..
These look so delicious! I wish I had one right now, I feel like I can actually taste the crispy texture just by looking at the picture.
This is a great idea for all my extra zucchini!
These look fabulous. Great photo too, as always!
These look fantastic! The splash of ouzo sounds great.
oooh, they're so pretty, i love trying new things like this. do you think these could be baked?
we had your corn and zucchini quesadillas the other day, they were a total hit, thanks!
Gorgeous photograph! I love the sound of Zucchini and Feta Balls; they would make a lovely replacement for run-of-the-mill appetizers. Now…if I could only figure out how to pronounce the name of the dish….
How could people pass on these, they look SOO good?! I like trying to recreate dishes I've had on vacation too!
Try the google translator. It will pronounce it for you.
good Lord Kevin I'm going to have to start blocking your updates! you just kill me. you have the best ideas around, the best.
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
Great way to use up both the zucchini and the last of the herbs in the garden. I could make a meal of these.
Man, those look "to die for". I've had and made the plain keftedes before but these look two notches up.
I just copied the recipe to try. I had to come back to comment on the photo too, excellent job.
Meg Kat says
mmm, those look addictive!
How unusual!. I've never seen them before but they look and sound delicious.
Wow, that's an upscale zucchini patty! Impressive name, too! YUM!
YUM!!! Feta is my favorite and I've been experimenting
with it with different vegetables. These look amazing!!!!
These looks delicious!
I just discovered your blog and I love it!
I always laugh because I usually go through flickr and see what's new and a couple pictures catch my eye then I go and see what you have updated on your blog and low and behold a couple of the pictures on flickr I liked are yours (I just don't pay attention to who posted them).
This zuke fritter look so good Kevin. Can't really pronounce the name, but it looks superb!
Hi! I just made these and YUM! It was a quick easy recipe as long as you have a Cuisinart. Look forward to making several that I have printed out.
What a great idea for using up the ever-present zucchini.
Those look great! my dad makes zucchini latkes, but I love the addition of feta in your recipe.
Made these last night (and so did 2 other people from my work after I showed them the blog) they were great! I failed at making actual balls. Next time I'll try the fritter version of the recipe.
These look fantastic!
Kate @ Savour Fare says
These look terrific. My zucchini fritter recipe is similar (also incorporated feta) so I'd love to try the balls.
A & W says
Oh yummm, I love zucchini, will have to make these before the fresh zucchini is gone!
Thanks for the recipe! I made them tonight and loved them! My husband does not even like zucchini and I convinced him with these!
I do not need to know how to pronounce the name of these zuke balls to know that they are fantastic! I had something similar in either Northern Africa or Morrocco, although I am not certain they incorporated Feta. They were found on one of our "street" food ventures while market shopping, so I never had the oppotunity to watch them being made.
So happy you shared this most splendid recipe! I have 10 zukes sitting on the counter from harvest, and I will be making these tomorrow (hoping to freeze a few ~ any ideas on that would be great, i.e. before frying, after frying, or partially frying would be great). Also, what is your preferred oil for frying these?
Awesome blog, and am so happy to have found it ~ love your ideas and recipes!
Shalee: I had not thought about freezing these. It might be best to just freeze the grated squeezed/drained zucchini and make the batter and cook them after it thaws. I tend to use corn oil for frying things like these zucchini balls.
1 word… YUM! I tried these this weekend and they were fantastic. I have become a fan of your blog and visit it daily! Thanks for sharting such yummy ideas!
Diana Moutsopoulos says
these look absolutely amazing – i cannot wait to try them!
Yum, I just finished making these and they are delicious! I didn't have fresh herbs so I used dried and I didn't want to deep fry so I baked them (at 400 for twenty minutes on each side) and wow, they are so good… Thanks for the recipe!
hi kevin~what is OUZO? (recipe says a splash?) maybe i am having blonde moment?
terrid614: Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavored spirit. You could easily leave it out or replace it with another anise-flavored spirit.
Balking at zucchini? Heavens! It's the most benign gourd! Oh well their loss and your gain. These look and sound terrific! I'll have to give them a go!
just made this. left out the ouzo (Because that doesn't exist where i live and if it did, it would cost a small fortune). i also used queso fresco instead of feta because that's what i had on hand. DELICIOUS! just slightly mushy, but i think i didn't fry them enough or squeeze enough liquid out of the zucchini.
Blender Benefits says
THese look great. I'm going to attempt to make these for our New Years party this year. Thanks!
I love all your recipes!You are awesome!
Super Angie says
I made these tonight for our Valentine's Day appetizer. Very good. We didn't have any yogurt for the tzatziki sauce, so we used ranch dressing. Does that make us tacky Americans? 🙂
God – that looks sooo delish!!!!
You are a genius, Kevin.
I made this yesterday with the tzatziki (without the cucumber) and it was really delicious! I didn't have parsley or ouzo and i hope it didn't make much of a difference. The dish was super good. Thanks for the recipe!
I LOVE your blog, happened onto it through pinterest and bookmarked it. We must have the same tastebuds. My list of recipes to try just grew incredibly long! Thanks!
wonder if these would hold together as patties- for a light lunch that could get put in pitas with tatziki,salad,etc. sort of pan fry them in possibly not that much oil..
Tis the season….
dona: I do a patty or a fritter version of these here: Greek Style Zucchini Fritters
Elle (thewaybyelle.blogspot.com) says
These sound delicious! The recipe is similar to my zucchini patty recipe, but I never would have thought to put the feta cheese in them. What a yummy addition!
Kristina @ ReMadeSimple says
I want to make this you are making my mouth water. I'm a new follower!
Amy Brocato Pearson says
Do you know what temperature the oil was for frying?
Amy Brocato Pearson: The oil temperature should be at around 350-365F for frying.
Amy T says
do you think we can bake these? I hate the smell of frying anything..I feel like I'm wearing it for days.
Amy T: Although I have not tried it, you should be able to bake these. I would probably go with a panko bread crumb coating to increase the crunchiness of the outside in this case.
I just got back from Greece last month and we did the same you did (ordering a lot of appetizers) and these were my FAVORITE! I've been searching for the name and how to make them. Thank you!
Another amazing recipe! I made these today and they are so delicious.
Fern @ To Food With Love says
These look fantastic and I can't wait to make them soon! Thanks for the recipe!
Could you think of times and temp if you wanted to Bake instead of fry??
Anonymous: 400F should be about right.
Absolutely delicious recipe! I used basil leaves in it but I would love to try it with mint next. =]
I've been trying to look at a few of your recipes and a big square keeps popping up that doesn't have anything on it and there's no way to dismiss it. I have to refresh and that gets ridiculously annoying.
Any idea what it is?
Amanda: Sorry about the popup problems! I am not seeing it but I will try to track it down and disable it. It might be a region specific ad campaign.
Your recipes have reached me in western australia
and I have been delighted with all I have tried. Thanks, good on you Mate!
I know this says it yields about 4 servings, but about how many balls total is that? Thx! Can't wait to try this for superbowl.
Dear Maria says
Just wanted to share how much I love your blog. I have found several recipes to use and that is wonderful!
Sierra Jaydli says
So today I made the zucchini and feta balls in class as a lab for Greece, and let me tell you! They are amazing! Sure they look interesting but totally recommend!!!! 😀 especially with like cottage cheese as a dipping with some spices thrown in. At least that's what I did!!! 😀 enjoy!
hello, Kevin! i love your blog and i really really like the fact that, being Greek, while i browsed through your greek/greek-inspired recipes, i discovered that you do a really good job interpreting the ingredients and cooking style! i know i'm being picky many times when i look at foreign blogs and see that their "greek" recipes seem very far from the original, but that certainly isn't the case here, so thank you very much 🙂
all the ranting aside, i just wanted to clarify the kolokythokeftedes pronunciation problem!
You see, this is a composite word, consisting of the words "kolokythi" (κολοκύθι = zucchini) and "keftedes" (κεφτέδες = food balls), so the right pronunciation would be ko-lo-ki-tho-ke-ftE-des, with the "th" in "tho" being from the letter "Θ" so it gets pronounced like in "thatch" and not in "the"! i really do hope i clarified this 🙂
Myrodia: I am a big fan of Greek cuisine and I like to try to keep the recipes as authentic as possible! Thanks for pointing out the spelling error! I have fixed it! 🙂
no, no, your spelling was correct!! it was indeed "kolokythokeftedes" i just wrote it with an "i" so as to clarify it phonetically! you see, the letter "Υ, υ" when translated in english is written as "Y, y" but still is pronounced as the english "i" or "ee" (i really hope i can get my point across) just like in my name, for example, the "My" is pronounced "Mi"… did i get you all confused? i'm sorry, i'm not really good at explaining, i hope i didn't muddle things instead!
Myrodia: Ah, I see what you mean now!
Do you think it would be possible to fry these in an Actifry?
Mike: I have not had a chance to try out an Actifry yet but it should work!
Laura C. says
Kevin, I have only recently found this blog and love it! I spend all summer in Greece and of course love the food. My lovely Greek neighbour made me something similar but with the filling in filo pastry, lovely. So I tried your recipe and they turned out just great. Love being here in the summer with such an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits to choose from.
Can you baked these?
Anonymous: Yes these can be baked at say 400F for 20 minutes turning half way through.
Dana C. says
Did you deep fry or pan fry these?
Dana C.: I normally pan fry them but you could also deep fry them or even bake them.
oops. ate the whole batch myself. 😀
Amy: I do that all the time as well! 🙂
make them in big batches, then freeze on waxed paper……..then place servings in freezer bags…on hand meze everytime…..I like to add dry potato flakes instead of bread crumbs..so give it a try
Delicious!! Just made them with a cottage cheese based tzaziki. Best recipe I've made in a while, thanks! Just one comment, there's no wishing listed for bread crumbs.
ErYkah: I'm glad you like it! Love the sound of a cottage cheese style tzatziki!
Katherine Laise says
Can these be baked?
Yes these can be baked at say 400F for 20 minutes turning half way through.
Liz Franklin says
Did you use dry breadcrumbs or fresh breadcrumbs?
I made these in the air fryer 15mins 360 degrees. yum!
Liette Rudy says
Keven! I have made th3se and got so much compliments on them… told them it was a family secret recipe!!! 🤣🤣 You are a crème de la crème Chef!!!