In Crete, just like everywhere else, when the zucchini comes, they come in droves. Because of this, we have many different ways to prepare zucchini, from a zucchini and tomato omelet to our famous zucchini fritters. One of my favorite zucchini recipes is zucchini pie with feta. It is a great way to use up a lot of zucchini (3 pounds for one recipe) and it freezes really well if you want to make multiple batches (when you are in harvest season).
Everyone in my family loves zucchini pie and you can eat it as a side dish, appetizer or main course. I even eat it for breakfast, sometimes on it’s own and sometimes with eggs. You can eat is warm or cold and it packs well as a snack for kids.
Zucchini Pie Nutrition
Semolina is high in protein and fiber. It is also a medium glycemic index food and effects your blood sugar less than white or wheat flour. Semolina is also high in B vitamins. Zucchini is low in calories and high in fiber (a very beneficial mix.) Carotenoids in Zucchini have been shown to reduce heart disease and protects your skin. Zucchini pie definitely fits into a healthy recipe of the Mediterranean Diet.
Zucchini Pie Preparation
The preparation of zucchini pie is easy. The first step is grating the zucchini. We grate a lot of vegetables in Greece, from cucumbers for tzatziki to tomatoes and onions for fritters and stews. Add the grated cucumber to a colander with a bowl underneath or in the sink. Add a generous amount of salt (much of the salt will drain out along with the liquid from the zucchini). We want to get as much liquid out as possible so the finished zucchini pie won’t be soggy. It is best if you have an hour to drain the liquids, but a half hour will suffice. Squeeze the zucchini at the end to get any extra liquid out. The rest of the zucchini pie prep is easy. Add the zucchini and other ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and then add to an oiled 9×12 inch oven dish. Put it in a preheated 350 degree oven and cook for an hour and 20 minutes. I always check my zucchini pie an hour in just in case. Sometimes, baked different amounts of time depending on humidity and the oven you are using.
I love it warm or cold and would recommend eating some right away and then saving some for later. It will last up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!
Grate the zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and leave it in a colander for 30 minutes to an hour. Then squeeze any extra liquid out of the zucchini with your hands and put in a large bowl.
Add the feta, eggs, semolina, pepper, nutmeg, olive oil and mix well.
Brush a baking pan (9x12) with olive oil. Add the zucchini mixture to the pan and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. You will want to check it after an hour as different ovens bake differently. It is done when a knife or toothpick comes out clean in the middle.
Koula Barydakis was born into a long tradition of eating and living Mediterranean on the Greek island of Crete. She is a chef who has worked in many of the top restaurants in Crete and in Greek Town in Toronto, Canada. Koula is the co-author of “Foods of Crete, Traditional Recipes of the Healthiest People in the World” and is currently completing her second cookbook. Koula teaches cooking classes to tourists in Crete and has been hired to teach classes in other countries as well.