Have you tried eggplant fritters – melitzanokeftedes? They are so easy to make and have a divine flavor! These eggplant fritters will have everyone begging you for the recipe.
Why this recipe sings
Greeks love eggplant and there are many recipes where this fantastic vegetable is the star of the dish. Beef stew, papoutsakia, moussaka, all these traditional Greek recipes, feature eggplants. We also slice and fry them in a deep skillet for a quick and easy appetizer. We stuff them with rice for gemista or grill them with lots of herbs and olive oil. We also make them into fritters!
Melitzanokeftedes comes from the Greek words melitzana (eggplant)+ keftedes (meatballs).
At home, we are big fans of these eggplant fritters. My husband declared they are the best fritters he has ever had (and he has had a lot). They barely make the table when I make them; We almost eat them right out of the frying pan! Guests ask ahead of time if we can make them in our next get-together. Kids love them and have no idea they are eating the vegetable they try to avoid the most!
What you need to make them
You will also need some vegetable oil for frying. I prefer using light olive oil instead of sunflower or canola oil.
Detailed measurements and instructions can be found on the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Here is what I do
I cut the eggplants in half, then I score the flesh deeply in a diamond cross-hatch pattern with two or three long cuts, rotating the eggplant to make another set of cuts.
I brush a little olive oil on the flesh and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I place them with the flesh side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them in a pre heated 350° F oven to cook and soften for about 30 minutes.
The flesh is scooped out and mashed. Then it is mixed with breadcrumbs, garlic, eggs, herbs, and crumbled feta cheese. I scoop out a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and fry for 2-3 minutes in light olive oil.
NOTE: Because this fritter mixture is soft and fluffy and not firm, I take a full tablespoon of the mixture, tidy it up in my hand and carefully place it in the hot oil. I use the spoon to shape it a little. It is key not to turn the fritter on the other side too soon. It might fall apart. I usually do a test first with one fritter to check how long to fry and when it is safe to flip.
When fritters are fully cooked and have a nice golden brown color, I place them on paper towels to absorb the oil, and that’s it! They are ready.
Tips and tricks
This eggplant fritter recipe has good feta cheese, fresh herbs, and a simple seasoning of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and dry oregano.
- In case you don’t have feta, go the Italian way and substitute it with a cup of grated parmesan cheese.
- Use chopped parsley instead of mint and basil. Or use the dried versions of the same herbs. If all you have is dry oregano, that is absolutely fine.
- You can use gluten-free breadcrumbs if you prefer (I often do).
Eggplant Fritters – Melitzanokeftedes
- 2 large eggplants
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for brushing
- 1 cup Greek feta cheese crumbled
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon oregano heaping
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves coarsely chopped
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves coarsely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
you also need
- light olive oil for deep-frying. You can also use vegetable oil.
- fresh basil leaves for serving
- Heat oven to 350°F
- Cut the eggplants in half, then score the flesh deeply in a diamond cross-hatch pattern with two or three long cuts, rotating the eggplant to make another set of cuts. Brush a little olive oil on the flesh and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Place eggplant halves flesh side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
- Scoop out the flesh and add it to a large bowl. Add 2 cups breadcrumbs, 2 garlic cloves minced, two eggs, the chopped herbs, and one cup crumbled feta cheese. Mix well.
- Heat 3-4 tablespoons of light olive oil in a medium skillet.
- Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and add it to the hot oil. Tidy up the fritter shape a little bit with the spoon. Add two more fritters, don't overcrowd the pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Carefully, turn fritters midway for a golden brown color all over.
- Place fritters on paper towels to absorb most of the oil. Serve fritters with a yogurt-based sauce, marinara, or whipped feta cheese.
- 1 cup of greek yogurt like Fage
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp chopped mint