Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
4 Dec

Vegetable Latkes

latkes1Call 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:
vegetables 1

  • 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.

squeezeoutwater 1

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.

gratedvegetables 1

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.

fryinglatkes 1

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!

latkes2 1

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. 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 wrote on December 4th, 2010
    • 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!

      The Primal Pig wrote on December 6th, 2010
  2. 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!

    Hayley and Bill wrote on December 4th, 2010
  3. Looks tasty! May have to try them out.

    Noctiluca wrote on December 4th, 2010
  4. I absolutely love these! I just put them on the next banquet menu as a vegetarian alternative, thank you!

    Jason Sandeman wrote on December 4th, 2010
  5. They look absolutely delicious, I’ll try them next week.

    Thanks for this lovely recipe.

    San wrote on December 4th, 2010
  6. You use chickpea flour for pakoras. Might be an option instead of the white flour.

    Gordon Jensen wrote on December 4th, 2010
  7. 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.

    Roland wrote on December 4th, 2010
  8. 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 wrote on December 4th, 2010
    • 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 :-)

      Kelda wrote on December 4th, 2010
  9. These taste really good using Sweet potatoes.

    Casey wrote on December 4th, 2010
  10. Mark, don’t forget to salt the zucchini before you squeeze it. That pulls out way more water than just squeezing alone.

    Meagan wrote on December 4th, 2010
  11. 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.

    MamaMagness wrote on December 4th, 2010
  12. 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

    Melissa Fritcher wrote on December 4th, 2010
  13. Do you mix all vegetables together or is each latke made from just one of the vegetables?

    Ryan wrote on December 4th, 2010
  14. 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!

    Maggie wrote on December 4th, 2010
  15. Looks delicious! Will definitely try them. Thanks!

    cjl201 wrote on December 4th, 2010
  16. 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!

    AP wrote on December 4th, 2010
    • 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?

      Marty wrote on December 4th, 2010
      • Just the mash. Simple, but wonderful.

        AP wrote on December 7th, 2010
  17. I made these a couple weeks ago with spaghetti squash, using a recipe from my CSA. They were really good!

    Erin wrote on December 4th, 2010
  18. These made from celery root would be BOMB, too!

    Lizzy wrote on December 4th, 2010
  19. 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?

    Darren wrote on December 4th, 2010
    • I’m sure you could bake them, too. I’d suggest brushing them with butter though for a nice browning without drying them out.

      AtlJohn wrote on December 4th, 2010
  20. 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.

    Ani wrote on December 4th, 2010
  21. 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.

    AtlJohn wrote on December 4th, 2010
  22. What kind of oil are you guys using to cook these in?

    Marty wrote on December 4th, 2010
    • Good old fashioned lard. :)

      Rick wrote on December 9th, 2010
      • 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.

        gail wrote on January 30th, 2011
  23. These looks awesome. What kind of sauces would you guys have with them?

    The Primal Palette wrote on December 4th, 2010
  24. what oil to use for this recipe?? please clarify.

    kevin wrote on December 4th, 2010
    • I used butter (full stick) to do sweet potato latkes and coconut oil for the zucchini and both worked great.

      Edward wrote on December 4th, 2010
  25. I second the motion on sweet potato latkes — they’re delicious. Great with applesauce and sour cream.

    JD Moyer wrote on December 4th, 2010
  26. Try using the salad spinner to wring out more water. Might help things get crispy!

    Charlotte wrote on December 4th, 2010
  27. I’ll be the third person to repeat the question: what kind of oil?

    Curt wrote on December 4th, 2010
    • I usually use bacon grease; adds to the breakfast taste when we have them with eggs.

      AtlJohn wrote on December 4th, 2010
      • Maybe not on Hanukkah ;)

        El wrote on December 5th, 2010
    • 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.

      Kim wrote on December 6th, 2010
  28. 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.

    Kimberlie wrote on December 4th, 2010
  29. 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.

    Robin Beers wrote on December 4th, 2010
  30. Wow, and I pay a lot of money for an inferior product in Wholefoods. Thank you!

    Alison Golden wrote on December 4th, 2010
  31. These look amazing. They remind me of a recipe I read at Elana’s Pantry: http://www.elanaspantry.com/carrot-scallion-latkes/

    Amanda wrote on December 4th, 2010
  32. 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.)

    DThalman wrote on December 4th, 2010
    • 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

      PHK wrote on December 9th, 2010
  33. 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!

    Raven wrote on December 5th, 2010
  34. 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.

    Otter wrote on December 5th, 2010
  35. 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.

    jonw wrote on December 5th, 2010
  36. I love latkes, I like to add chopped walnuts to the mix for added texture and crunch. Adding cheese is another winning idea!

    Khrystyna wrote on December 5th, 2010
  37. 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.

    kate wrote on December 5th, 2010
  38. 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.

    hiker wrote on December 5th, 2010
  39. Just make sure the towel you squeeze the veg in wasn’t washed or dried in fabric softener.

    roget wrote on December 5th, 2010
  40. 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

    Tim wrote on December 6th, 2010

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