Greek Savory Pumpkin Pie with Feta Cheese-Kolokithopita

November 16, 2012


Well Thanksgiving is less than week away and while here in Greece it is not really celebrated apart from some hotels offering Thanksgiving dinner buffets, at our home we do celebrate it. Our Thanksgiving takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving with turkey and a mix of traditional Thanksgiving dishes and Greek dishes as well.

One of my favorite ingredients is of course pumpkin. I like anything made with it. Pumpkin pie comes to mind, but if you would like to try something different this Greek savory pie won’t disappoint. The sweetness of the pumpkin with the spicy feta makes a perfect combination. While pumpkin is not typically associated with Greek cuisine, they do have several recipes for this versatile vegetable: obviously Greek pies, patties, preserves (gluko koutaliou) or they may marinate it in vinegar and use it in a salad. Just to clarify, Greeks call pumpkin glikia kolokitha (sweet pumpkin), but they also call zucchini kolokithaki. So kolokithopita may be a pie made with zucchini or pumpkin but today I’m sharing a traditional recipe made with “sweet” pumpkin, feta cheese and phyllo. Yes it is the same concept as spana-kopita (spinach pie) and tyro-pita (cheese pie). Pita means pie and can be sweet or savory, although they are usually savory.

This pita is fairly simple. You do not use pumpkin puree as you would for a typical American pumpkin pie but the pumpkin is shredded and then heated in a pot until it is soft. I guess you could use ready-made pumpkin puree, but the texture may be different. For this recipe I took small chunks of pumpkin and heated until soft and melted, smashing with a fork, it has a bit of a chunkier result. Obviously shredding the pumpkin will help it cook faster. If you have a food processor, shredding will be quick, otherwise you can cut it in thin slices. For the phyllo, this time I used a bit of a thicker phyllo called horiatiko here in Greece and it has some olive oil in it, but I think I like it with regular phyllo better.

Now these pies are better consumed warm, otherwise the phyllo can get soft, you can re-heat but it won’t have the same result. Also for this recipe I made the pita in a big pan which is easier, but for the holidays I would prefer triangle wraps like I did here, I think they are easier to serve and consume.

So nutritionally this recipe has a lot going for it, olive oil is the main source of fat here, so you get mostly monounsaturated fat and of course this pita is an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium and carotenoids that are plant pigments that can turn into vitamin in the body and have antioxidant activity protecting from chronic disease.

Greek Savory Pumpkin Pie with Feta Cheese-Kolokithopita

Yield: 9 Pieces

Greek Savory Pumpkin Pie with Feta Cheese-Kolokithopita

Ingredients

  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds (1- 1/2 kg) pumpkin
  • 2 medium onions
  • 8-9 ounces (200-250 grams) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or 2 tablespoons dry mint
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch of cumin
  • 12 phyllo sheets

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
  2. Grate the pumpkin and heat the pumpkin in a pot with no oil and a bit of water. It will release water, keep on heating and mixing until soft and the water has somewhat evaporated. Remove from pot and strain and let cool.
  3. In the meantime saute the chopped onion in 1-2 tablespoon olive oil until soft.
  4. Once the pumpkin has strained mash until somewhat smooth, mix with the onions. Add the feta, mint and cumin and mix well.
  5. Beat the egg in a little bowl and add to the mixture. Mix until all ingredients until well blended. (Do not mix with a mixer). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. This is the step of assembling the pie, as I mentioned you may choose to do small triangle mini pies, click here for directions. Otherwise you can do the classic way as seen here. Take a pan about the size of your phyllo sheets 9 X 14 inches work well (22 X 35 cm). Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with olive oil. Layer 6-7 sheets of phyllo brushing with olive oil each sheet. If your pan is slightly smaller that the sheets spread them leaving the leftover hanging on the edge.
  7. Pour the pumpkin-cheese mix, spreading evenly. Fold over the left over phyllo. Cover with 5-6 phyllo sheets again brushing each sheet with olive oil. Tuck in the leftover phyllo.
  8. Score the top phyllo layers in pieces, do not cut all the way through.
  9. Bake in the oven at the lower level for about 40 minutes until golden.
  10. Serve warm.

Photo credit: Olive Tomato

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17 Comments

  • Reply PinLaVie... Make your pins come true – Greek Savory Pumpkin Pie with Feta Cheese-Kolokithopita November 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    […] means pie and can be sweet or savory, although they are usually savory….find out more here. No Comments.   « Fall […]

  • Reply 135 Nourishing Thanksgiving Recipes » Unmistakably Food | Unmistakably Food November 20, 2012 at 4:40 am

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  • Reply cozinheira October 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I did it yesterday for my family, I couldn’t get phyllo horiatiko here in Brazil so I used regular and some local pumpkins called “abóboras” that are very sweet and tasty.

    It was absolutely wonderful, thanks so much for such a delightful recipe!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD October 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks! Yes, regular phyllo works fine too. Those aboboras sound good!

  • Reply Helene Poulakou December 4, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I made the pumpkin pie today. (I would, eventually…)
    Besides over-heating the pumpkin into a puree-like consistency (now I know better), the pie was, simply, delicious!

    Thank God for the food He put on our table, and Elena for a great recipe for preparing it! 🙂

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD December 11, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Thanks Helene! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply Hojaldre de calabaza y queso feta (fácil y muy, pero que muy rico) | Cortar Pegar y Cantar February 10, 2014 at 7:46 am

    […] un montón), y así descubrí a Elena Paravantes y su blog Olive Tomato . Os dejo el link de esta receta en concreto, pero os animo a perderos un rato por su página, porque tiene cosas la mar de […]

  • Reply 5 Ways to Eat More Vegetables The Greek Way | Olive Tomato April 8, 2014 at 8:47 am

    […] 5. Greeks eat a lot of vegetable pies What are vegetable pies you say? Spanakopita is a famous Greek vegetable pie, we call them pites, not like pita bread, pita also means something wrapped in phyllo. Phyllo can be thin like the one best known you often find frozen insuper markets, but also thick, homemade phyllo made with olive oil. Basically, pites would be made with a variety of vegetables and greens such as spinach, leeks, greens, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, artichokes and the list goes on and on. Basically anything in season. These pies were either vegan especially during the fasting periods so they were made with vegetables, herbs and olive oil. Or during non-fasting days cheese and egg may be added. This is the original Greek fast food, because these were easy to carry with you and did not require refrigeration. Today you find pites everywhere in Greece. They can easily make a filling lunch plus it is another easy way to eat vegetables. For pita recipes go here, here and here. […]

  • Reply Sweet Greek Pumpkin Pie | Olive Tomato October 19, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    […] do have a  place in Greek cuisine but mainly in the form of pies: savory and sweet. The savory pumpkin pie is yummy and includes feta cheese, while the sweet pumpkin pie (glikia kolokithopita) is […]

  • Reply Mary October 22, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Made it this morning and it disappeared from our lunch table…WOW!
    What a recipe! Thanks Elena and keep up the good work!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD October 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you Mary! Glad your family liked it!

  • Reply Anastasia September 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    can you substitute butternut squash?

  • Reply Dialekti Pappas October 26, 2016 at 3:14 am

    I have been looking for a recipe as above that my Mother used to make. She called them Bourekia. She made them with pumpkin and onion and sprinkled them with powered sugar. They were in the shape of a jelly roll individually made. I could never find a recipe of hers after she passed on and I have looked in all of my Greek Cookbooks and cannot find a similar recipe. She made her own crust. Did not use filo. Do you know of such a recipe.

    • Reply Elena October 26, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Hi Dialekti, I’ll look into it. Is it mostly a savory flavor or did the filling have sugar in it too?

  • Reply Louisa Atsas August 16, 2017 at 12:55 am

    Hi Elena, Some of my family don’t eat the feta. Can I substitute something for it please?

    • Reply Elena August 16, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Hi Louisa,

      You can omit the feta, and make the nistisimo (vegan) version.

  • Reply Nathan October 9, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    If I already have some roast pumpkin puree in my freezer that I want to use how much should I use in cups?

    Thank you,

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