Greek-Inspired Vegan Tomato Keftedes

Two years ago, when I was in Greece, I had these amazing tomato fritters, and ever since then I have been wanting to make them...and I finally decided today was the DAY!! I found conflicting recipes online about how to make them, so I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it, but I remembered that when I asked about them at the little restaurant I had them at, they said they were made with tomatoes, walnuts, and mint. So I knew those had to be key ingredients in my recipe! I’m not sure if these are the official Greek version, but they taste great and are quite easy to make!


I am happy I finally got around to making these! Typically tomato keftedes (which approximately translates to tomato balls) are deep-fried, but I wanted to make a baked version to make them healthier. You could also probably air-fry them!



Santorini tomatoes are known for being incredibly delicious, so try to find the best-tasting tomatoes you can to make this recipe really shine. These are kind of like a pasta-sauce flavored falafel with some brightness from fresh mint!


The original tomato keftedes I had in Greece! This was at an amazing little restaurant called Salt and Pepper in Thira in Santorini - if you visit Santorini, you MUST go there! It is run by a husband and wife who are so kind and friendly, and the food is amazing and well-priced! My friend and I were the first to eat outdoors of the year, so they were excited and posted us on their Facebook!


I added some sundried tomatoes, which I think contributed to the pasta sauce flavor, so if you want it to taste more fresh and less pasta-y, you can omit them. My whole family really liked these and they were gone within a few hours. For a truly Greek dish, enjoy with tzatziki sauce (or a quick DIY version by mixing Greek yogurt, a bit of olive oil, some mint, and dill). I also highly recommend listening to Mamma Mia! songs and singing along for an extra taste of Greece!

These are vegan and gluten-free, and although I used almond flour to make them, I think you could use wheat flour to make them nut-free (also omit the walnuts). I ended up quickly pulsing the mixture in my food processor til the veggies were chopped and mixed evenly, but it definitely would work without a food processor and the balls would just be a bit more chunky, but still delicious! If you are using a blender, you don’t have to worry so much about chopping your veggies, but if you aren’t using a blender, try your best to chop them fairly small. If you use a blender, don’t blend until completely smooth - you don’t want it to be completely blended because having the flavors of tomato, mint, walnut, and the spices a bit unevenly makes each bite have a slightly varied flavor profile!


Ingredients

Makes about 20


(not all ingredients are pictured here, but just thought this was a colorful and fun picture)

1 ½ cup tomatoes, finely chopped

½ cup onion, diced

⅓ cup grated zucchini (try to press out most of the excess water)

4-5 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

½ cup almond flour

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp crushed walnuts (optional)

1 tbsp parsley

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp baking powder

Salt and pepper to taste (I just added a few dashes of each)

1 tsp roasted garlic (about 3 cloves, could use minced as well)

Dash of chili powder

2-3 tbsp sundried tomatoes (optional, gives it a bit more color and stronger tomato taste)

Steps

1. Dice and chop all veggies.



2. Mix all ingredients together, by hand or pulse gently with a blender, until the ingredients are mixed well but you can still see bits of tomato, zucchini, etc. It can even be a bit more lumpy than pictured, so don’t worry!


3. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 25 or so minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F.



4. Brush a baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Roll the mixture into balls about 1-2 inches in diameter, and place on the sheet.


5. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until cooked evenly through - they will have a falafel-like texture.


6. Let cool, and enjoy while warm!