Onion, Tomato and Feta Turnovers

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about 50 turnovers;

    6 to 8

    servings as a light meal

Appears in

THESE SMALL pastries are just one example of the hundreds of different kinds of turnovers that are served as a meze in Crete, but they make a fine meal in themselves as well. They disappear quickly, so you’ll be glad that this recipe makes plenty. The fried turnovers will keep for several days, but they taste best fresh. You can make similar turnovers using grated zucchini instead of the tomatoes, or substitute pancetta or spicy sausage for the feta.


  • cup olive oil
  • cups thinly sliced onions
  • cup grated ripe tomatoes (see Note)
  • ½–1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ¼–½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2–3 tablespoons dried whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt
  • 1 recipe Cretan Phyllo
  • Olive oil and safflower oil for frying


In a large skillet, heat cup oil and sauté the onions over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and pepper or pepper flakes and cook until most of the juices have evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the bread crumbs as needed to thicken the filling. Let cool completely, then add the cheese and salt to taste.

Working with 1 portion at a time, cut the phyllo into 3½-inch rounds, using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or glass. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each round, fold over the dough to make a half circle and press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal. Set aside on paper towels. (If you are not going to fry the turnovers immediately, arrange them on baking sheets, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.)

In a large skillet, heat 2 inches of a combination of olive and safflower oil over medium-high heat to 350°F. In batches, fry the kalitsouna, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. With tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Omit the cheese and sauté 3 ounces of pancetta or crumbled spicy sausage, chopped, with the onions.