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Marathopita – A Traditional Greek Fennel Pie

Marathopita (μαραθόπιτα in Greek) is the name of the traditional Greek fennel pie. This recipe originates from Crete which is one of the most beautiful and popular islands of the world. This island is popular not only for its unparalleled beauty but also for its delicious and healthy food. Famous foods like dakos and kaltsounia come from Crete.

As herbs grow in abundance on the island, Cretans try to use a lot of fresh aromatic herbs in their everyday diet. As a result, Cretan cuisine is one of the most vegetarian cuisines in the world! And this recipe is a great vegetarian recipe.

Marathopita is not just delicious. It is a pie with a lot of health benefits. Fennel is one of the healthiest herbs around. It contains vitamins A, B, especially B3 & B6, and C, and minerals. Furthermore, it is full of fiber, manganese, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and niacin.  

Ancient Greeks believed that their gods were transferring their knowledge to them through funnel bulbs. As a result, using fennel into their diet has been popular from ancient times in Greece. Actually, we can find written references about this aromatic herb from Linear B, the most ancient Greek writing. Ancient Greeks used to offer funnel to the Olympian Gods. There is proof that Hippocrates and Dioscurides, two famous Greek ancient doctors, used this herb into their cures.

To make marathopita, you need the following ingredients: fennel, green onions, feta cheese, Greek olive oil, flour, salt, and pepper. There are variations to the recipe regarding the pie’s stuffing as many like to add some spinach and sorrel. Although the feta cheese is optional, I like the taste it adds.

This authentic marathopita recipe serves 8 persons. Furthermore, it takes around 60 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook.  


Marathopita – Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 kg of fennel
  • 2 green onions
  • 250 g of feta cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Dough Ingredients

  • 500 g of flour
  • 1 glass of water
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek olive oil
  • Salt

Marathopita – Instructions

  1. Start this traditional Greek fennel pie recipe by taking a bowl and sifting the flour. Make a small hole into the center of the flour and add the olive oil, water, and salt. Mix the ingredients well until you get a soft dough.
  2. Sprinkle some flour over your kitchen counter. Separate the dough into 20 small balls and with the help of a rolling pin turn them into thin dough sheets.
  3. Wash well the fennel under freshwater and cut them into big pieces.
  4. Now, take a deep baking pan and add some olive oil. Bring to boil over medium temperature and saute the onions. Add the fennel, salt, and pepper and allow them to extract all their liquids and become soft.
  5. Remove the baking pan from heat and allow it to cool down.
  6. Crumble the feta and add it.
  7. Take one dough sheet and place some of the fennels. After that cover it with another phyllo sheet. Repeat this process until all dough sheets and the stuffing are over.
  8. Take a baking pan and add some olive oil. Bring to boil over high temperature. Fry each marathopita separately until it gets a nice golden color on both sides by turning sides frequently.
  9. Take a plate and cover it with some absorbed paper and place the marathopita.
  10. Serve.

You can serve marathopita right away either as a side dish or the main course. For the record, it is also delicious when cold.

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