• Olive and tomato keftedes (Food Safari Earth)Source: Food Safari Earth

An ode to flavour, these light fritters are a game changer and are worth fighting over. 






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (30 votes)

"Keftedes are such a delicious everyday dish in Greece - as part of a mezedes or banquet. Often they are made with meat but in many parts of Greece over the years meat has been a luxury and fresh vegetables are plentiful. Peter Conistis has been a game changer in the Greek culinary world in Australia and over 25 years has honed a “new Greek Cuisine” using the recipes and techniques handed down through the generations and lightening and modernising the classics. This recipe is Peter's ode to autumn - the last of the ripe tomatoes and abundant olive harvest creating delicious light fritters - the mix is surprisingly wet and the result spectacular, especially served with the green olive dressing and warm baked Kalamata olives." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth 


  • 1 kg ripe Roma tomatoes, peeled, quartered and seeded
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • ½ bunch mint, leaves picked and chopped
  • ½ bunch Greek basil, leaves picked and chopped
  • 180 g (1 cup) Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely grated
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 120 g (1 cup) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp rigani (dried wild Greek oregano)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • extra virgin olive oil, for frying
  • Micro cress, to serve

Green olive mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp very finely chopped green olives
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100 ml grapeseed oil
  • 150 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Green olive dressing

  • 150 ml apple juice
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp thyme honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 200 ml buttermilk
  • 200 ml green olive mayonnaise (see above)
  • 90 g (½ cup) green olives, finely sliced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Baked Kalamata olives

  • 300 g Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 golden French shallots, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 ml red wine
  • 25 ml red wine vinegar
  • 25 ml Greek aged red wine vinegar (see note)
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp rigani (dried wild Greek oregano)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, roasted and cracked
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp thyme honey
  • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • zest of ½ lime

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the green olive mayonnaise, place the egg yolks, olives, lemon juice and mustard in a bowl. Whisking continuously, slowly whisk in the grapeseed oil, a few drops at a time until incorporated, the whisk in the olive oil in a thin steady stream until thick and pale. Season to taste. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the green olive dressing, combine the apple juice, vinegar, honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Whisk together the buttermilk, green olive mayonnaise and the cooled apple syrup, then fold in the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the baked olives, preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the olives into a baking dish. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over the olives. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the olives from the dish and set aside. Pour the liquid into a small saucepan and simmer until thick and syrupy. Pour over the olives and keep warm until needed.

To make the keftedes, finely dice half the tomatoes and grate the other half. Place in a large bowl with the herbs, olives, red onion, spring onions, tomato paste, breadcrumbs and rigani. Season with the salt, pepper and sugar, combine well and set aside for 20 minutes.

Whisk together the flour and baking powder, then work into the tomato mixture until well combined.

Heat the olive oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 170°C. Shape spoonfuls of mixture into quenelles (or any shape you like) and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden.

Drain on paper towel. and serve with the olive dressing, baked olives and micro cress



If you don’t have Greek aged red wine vinegar, just replace with a good quality red wine vinegar. 


Brand-new series Food Safari Earth airs Thursdays at 8pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand. For recipes and more visit the program site right here.