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December 04, 2010

Vegetable Latkes

By Worker Bee
113 Comments

Call them what you want – latkes, vegetables pancakes, fried-deliciousness – they’re a holiday treat many of us crave this time of year. They’re also traditionally made with potatoes,  a food some of us Primals feel better avoiding. The tuber’s low-moisture and high-starch content creates a crispy exterior and fluffy interior when fried in oil. The high starch content, unfortunately, is also the reason the insulin resistant among us are better off turning to less starchy vegetables to satisfy latke cravings.

Although latkes made with vegetables like carrot, turnip, daikon radish and zucchini will never be quite as crispy as potato latkes, they are darn good in their own right. The flavor of each vegetable is mild enough that you’ll still feel like you’re eating a latke, yet the latke is turned into something new and interesting. Zucchini latkes are mildest of all, the carrot and turnip are slightly sweet and the daikon version has just a hint of spiciness.

Traditional latkes also use flour as a binding ingredient; unnecessary filler in our minds that doesn’t need to be replaced with anything. Eggs will bind latkes together just fine, as long you squeeze as much moisture out of the vegetables as possible before frying. This is easily done after the vegetables are grated. Simply wrap a thin dishtowel around the grated vegetable and squeeze. A surprising amount of moisture will drip out. It also helps to make vegetable latkes that aren’t too big, otherwise they’ll fall apart while frying.

As long as we’re bucking tradition by tossing out flour and potatoes, we can’t resist encouraging you to try a few more new twists. Why not add a sprinkle of cinnamon to carrot latkes or diced scallions and tamari to the daikon radish? Maybe a little curry powder to the turnip or fresh herbs to the zucchini? As usual, we’re open to your suggestions, too. What is your favorite latke recipe?

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups grated carrot, turnip, daikon radish or zucchini
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying

Instructions:

Wrap a light weight dishtowel around 1 cup of grated vegetable at a time and squeeze as much water out as possible.

In a bowl, mix grated vegetable with egg, salt and pepper. Start with the two eggs per 3 cups of grated vegetables to bind the latkes. After frying a few, add more egg as binder only if necessary.

Heat 1/2 cup oil over medium to medium-high heat. Toss a pinch of grated vegetable in the pan – you’ll know the oil is hot enough if it starts sizzling immediately. Scoop 1/4 cup or less of grated vegetable into your hand and form into a very loose patty. Set the patty in the hot pan and press it down gently with a fork.

Cook at least 2-3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

You can keep the oven at 250 degrees and keep latkes warm inside the oven while you cook the whole batch.

If the oil becomes dark or begins to smoke, it is necessary to dump out the oil, wipe out the pan and start fresh before frying more latkes. Enjoy!


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113 Comments on "Vegetable Latkes"

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The Primal Pig
5 years 9 months ago

Wow, what a treat for me! I’m working early on a Saturday (EST), and you wonderful Worker Bees have already provided me with primal goodness to brighten my dull morning!

Looks great, I’m trying those today for a late brunch.

The Primal Pig
5 years 9 months ago

Tried these out with purple carrots, and yes even with salt it’s tough to dry them out enough to keep them crispy, so the next batch had a tbsp of almond flour thrown in to hold them together. Worked pretty well.

Thanks again for the inspiration!

Hayley and Bill
5 years 9 months ago

Mark, those look delicious! We’re both sitting here, drooling over the thought of zucchini latke’s. Hayley’s been trying to come up with a good latke recipe – these definitely fueled some inspiration!

Noctiluca
Noctiluca
5 years 9 months ago

Looks tasty! May have to try them out.

Jason Sandeman
5 years 9 months ago

I absolutely love these! I just put them on the next banquet menu as a vegetarian alternative, thank you!

San
San
5 years 9 months ago

They look absolutely delicious, I’ll try them next week.

Thanks for this lovely recipe.

Gordon Jensen
Gordon Jensen
5 years 9 months ago

You use chickpea flour for pakoras. Might be an option instead of the white flour.

Roland
5 years 9 months ago

Nice recipe! I love these.

To get even more moisture out of them (and make them more crisp), sprinkle the grated veggies with salt and toss. Set them in a colander for about 30 minutes to drain, then do the squeezing.

Kelda
5 years 9 months ago

Oh yummy, these sound great. I’ve been struggling a bit for ‘packed’ lunch inspiration for Mr Grok (and now my daughter’s regular requests for ideas) and I think these would work well in a lunch box too.

Off to make them as side to be served with my fresh tuna steak …

Kelda
5 years 9 months ago

I ended up with one large fried birds nest! Put the remaining mixture pressed into a baking tray and baked on medium heat for 20 mins and grilled the top – very delicious, I used carrot, parsnip, swede (Scotish neeps), and a yellow and green bell pepper that were half used mixed with the eggs and some grated vintage cheddar cheese. Baked it slices well and could be used cold as ‘bread’ to make a meat sandwich 🙂

Casey
Casey
5 years 9 months ago

These taste really good using Sweet potatoes.

Meagan
5 years 9 months ago

Mark, don’t forget to salt the zucchini before you squeeze it. That pulls out way more water than just squeezing alone.

MamaMagness
MamaMagness
5 years 9 months ago

We have made latkes out of beets quite often, and once out of pumpkin. And if you eat dairy, don’t forget the sour cream on top.

Melissa Fritcher
5 years 9 months ago

Awesome! I’ve done this once, with zucchini – so good! We used to have reibekuchen a LOT as children. It’s still my brother’s favorite dish. I am sharing this with my Mom in the hopes that she tries out something besides potato. So much more inherent flavor in these other veg, too. Going to be making them more myself, too. <3

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 9 months ago

Do you mix all vegetables together or is each latke made from just one of the vegetables?

Maggie
5 years 9 months ago

Awesome! I’ve been getting tons of turnips and daikon radishes from my CSA box, and haven’t really known how to use them up. I’m trying this today!

cjl201
5 years 9 months ago

Looks delicious! Will definitely try them. Thanks!

AP
AP
5 years 9 months ago

I’ve made these with mashed cauliflower and they were wonderful! Add a little green onion and some cheddar cheese and they really become decadent!

Marty
Marty
5 years 9 months ago

Mmmmm, mashed cauliflower. Did you use it with the grated veggie as a binder along with the egg or did you form patties with just the mash?

AP
AP
5 years 9 months ago

Just the mash. Simple, but wonderful.

Erin
Erin
5 years 9 months ago

I made these a couple weeks ago with spaghetti squash, using a recipe from my CSA. They were really good!

Lizzy
Lizzy
5 years 9 months ago

These made from celery root would be BOMB, too!

Darren
Darren
5 years 9 months ago

I’m English and Latkes aren’t big over here – I don’t think I’ve ever had any before today. I just made some with celeriac, onion and sweetpotato plus a little garam masala – absolutely delicious and I’ll be trying other combos. Does anyone know if you can just oven cook them as well?

AtlJohn
AtlJohn
5 years 9 months ago

I’m sure you could bake them, too. I’d suggest brushing them with butter though for a nice browning without drying them out.

Ani
Ani
5 years 9 months ago

I just made a batch of these with zucchini, yum! I topped mine with some raw-food applesauce. If I made these again I might add some nut meal of some sort and let the zucchini “dry-out” for awhile since they weren’t as crispy as I was hoping for.

AtlJohn
AtlJohn
5 years 9 months ago

I’ve been making these for a while, and my girlfriend loves them with her fried eggs, or by themselves. I just grate whatever mix of root vegetables I have on hand, but it usually looks like: sweet potato, carrot, turnip, garlic, maybe golden beet. I’ll have to add some zucchini next time. My mom used to make a “mock crabcake” with zucchini, so same idea, only different seasonings, i suppose.

Marty
Marty
5 years 9 months ago

What kind of oil are you guys using to cook these in?

Rick
Rick
5 years 9 months ago

Good old fashioned lard. 🙂

gail
gail
5 years 7 months ago

I have not made these but when I do, I will use grapeseed oil because it can be brought to a higher temp than most oils. It may make them a little crispier.

The Primal Palette
5 years 9 months ago

These looks awesome. What kind of sauces would you guys have with them?

kevin
kevin
5 years 9 months ago

what oil to use for this recipe?? please clarify.

Edward
Edward
5 years 9 months ago

I used butter (full stick) to do sweet potato latkes and coconut oil for the zucchini and both worked great.

JD Moyer
5 years 9 months ago

I second the motion on sweet potato latkes — they’re delicious. Great with applesauce and sour cream.

Charlotte
Charlotte
5 years 9 months ago

Try using the salad spinner to wring out more water. Might help things get crispy!

Curt
Curt
5 years 9 months ago

I’ll be the third person to repeat the question: what kind of oil?

AtlJohn
AtlJohn
5 years 9 months ago

I usually use bacon grease; adds to the breakfast taste when we have them with eggs.

El
5 years 9 months ago

Maybe not on Hanukkah 😉

Kim
Kim
5 years 9 months ago

I use Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening. It’s much cheaper than using olive oil or any of the nut oils. I usually have 1/2 to 1 inch of oil in the pan before making the latkes.

Kimberlie
Kimberlie
5 years 9 months ago

When we make the zucchini noodles from Mark’s cookbook, we grate, squeeze and then dry them out in the fridge (wrap in a paper towel to help absorb moisture) for a day or so. The air helps dry out some of the moisture. That might help here too. I’ll try salting them first based on the other’s recommendations.

Robin Beers
Robin Beers
5 years 9 months ago

To answer the ignored question above, I use coconut oil. I make a mash of steamed cauliflower and parsnips (about a 2/3 to 1/3 ratio). Season with nutmeg and cinnamon and mash in some coconut oil. I make a huge batch of that because it is always a handy side dish to have in the fridge. Mixed with eggs and fried up, it is the ultimate weekend breakfast.

Alison Golden
5 years 9 months ago

Wow, and I pay a lot of money for an inferior product in Wholefoods. Thank you!

Amanda
Amanda
5 years 9 months ago

These look amazing. They remind me of a recipe I read at Elana’s Pantry: http://www.elanaspantry.com/carrot-scallion-latkes/

DThalman
DThalman
5 years 9 months ago

Tonight my daughter made potstickers for our tree trimming party. She made mine without the wrappers and a wheat-free soy dipping sauce, and a guest commented that they looked like Latkes. Her potsticker filling was Asian cabbage, mushrooms and carrots with grated ginger and some spices held together with egg–very good! I’ll have to try some of these variations. The breakfast casserole recipe from the day after Thanksgiving was pretty good, too–but I would add mushrooms and roasted bell pepper and some spices, as it was a little plain as presented (eggs, ground meat, onion and turnip.)

PHK
PHK
5 years 9 months ago

Hi, DThalman

what your daughter made reminds me
my mom used to make dumplings using egg as a wrapper.

(she fried egg like a thin pancake first).
then she threw those in soup.
i should ask her next time how to hold it together without breaking up.

the latke sounds yummy. yes, i think i’ll salt the vegi first.
then fry in lard or bacon fat.

cheers

Raven
Raven
5 years 9 months ago

I think this would be good with winter squash. I don’t think you talk much about this wonderful vegetable, is it Primal? Sure hope so!

Otter
5 years 9 months ago

These are amazing. Easy to make, helps me clear out the miscellaneous vegetables in my fridge and gives me vegetables and protein in the morning. This is the perfect weekend breakfast.

jonw
jonw
5 years 9 months ago

like like. I can’t believe my kids ate daikon radish. carrot and cinnamon was nice too, I always feel like cinnamon gives a feeling of sweetness without the sugar.

Khrystyna
Khrystyna
5 years 9 months ago

I love latkes, I like to add chopped walnuts to the mix for added texture and crunch. Adding cheese is another winning idea!

kate
5 years 9 months ago

We have these on the menu for TONIGHT! I am using sweet potatoes though since we have a million. I love all the other ideas though.

hiker
hiker
5 years 9 months ago

I made the daikon raddish latkes this evening and OMG are they good. Although the raddish raw was spicy, cooked it was pretty mild. I cut the recipe in half and ended up with 5 smallish latkes; two for tonight and three for tomorrow at lunch. Yum.

roget
roget
5 years 9 months ago

Just make sure the towel you squeeze the veg in wasn’t washed or dried in fabric softener.

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Tim
Tim
5 years 9 months ago

Hi Mark!

I actually tried them out today, pretty nice, but isn’t the oil and fried a little too much? Isn’t it too much fat and unhealthy? I mean olive-oil is not bad, but still they’re being fried and stuff..?

Cheers

MandyMc
5 years 9 months ago

LOVED these. Made them tonight – carrot and parsnip with onion. Oooh la la! Mine didn’t bind very well but were still fabulous. Left them for a couple of hours after grating but they didn’t seem to drain too well even with salt. Must perfect my method…

Tim
Tim
5 years 9 months ago

Then try to use more eggs. Or maybe flour will bind them or you didn’t wring out enough water.

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 9 months ago

Yummy! a coworker made some last night & even leftover cold they’re good!

Oh yea I’m thinking of celery root, & mixed variations with sour cream.

To those who asked what oil to use – use what you want! for me it would depend on what I was cooking but I would use any combination of olive oil, butter, ghee, lard, coconut oil. Then maybe more butter melting on top? (slurping noises)

Tim
Tim
5 years 9 months ago

Yea but my question was if the oil isn’t bad for health => fat and stuff..!

Rick
Rick
5 years 9 months ago

Fat is excellent and necessary for good health. Vegetable oil however, is not. They add a hydrogen atom to the molecule to increase shelf life and stability (hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated). Unfortunately, this raises the free radical burden on your system and causes inflammation.

Naturally derived fats like lard, bacon grease, fish oil are all good and should be consumed regularly in the absence of HFCS or fructose.

Keira
Keira
5 years 9 months ago

This are awesome!! My husband liked them & he hates carrots! For oil I used bacon fat & coconut oil.

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jiwon berkland
jiwon berkland
5 years 9 months ago

It’s exactly same with Korean Vege latkes. But in Korean recipe use flour but you can use amond powder or whole whaet flour with eggs. Also you don’t need too much oil just use a little and put it on the paper tissue let it dry.: )

PHK
PHK
5 years 9 months ago

i remember having those in a Korean deli too.
& yes, they use flour.

Matt
Matt
5 years 9 months ago

If you put the shredded veg in a colander, salt them, and let them sit, it will draw out tons of moisture. Ring out the veg after resting with salt and add the rest of the ingredients (without more salt).

strom
strom
5 years 9 months ago

Your missing a critical indredient to get the flavor similar. Onions! You need at least 1 or 2 onions grated and mixed in with the eggs to get that binder to taste really good. I’d be interested in how xanthum gum works for allowning a larger latke.

colleen
colleen
5 years 9 months ago

My ex boyfriend is russian jewish. His mother use to make something just like this with cauliflower. I will not try to spell what it is called because I will butcher it completely. They were so good and I try to make them every once in a while. I always add dill.

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[…] for potatoes in that dish. A few days later, Mark’s Daily Apple posted a recipe for Vegetable Latkes. The Polish girl in me cannot resist a good potato pancake – preferably slathered in sour […]

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