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. 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…

    MandyMc wrote on December 6th, 2010
    • Then try to use more eggs. Or maybe flour will bind them or you didn’t wring out enough water.

      Tim wrote on December 7th, 2010
  2. 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)

    Peggy wrote on December 7th, 2010
    • Yea but my question was if the oil isn’t bad for health => fat and stuff..!

      Tim wrote on December 7th, 2010
      • 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.

        Rick wrote on December 9th, 2010
  3. This are awesome!! My husband liked them & he hates carrots! For oil I used bacon fat & coconut oil.

    Keira wrote on December 7th, 2010
  4. 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.: )

    jiwon berkland wrote on December 8th, 2010
    • i remember having those in a Korean deli too.
      & yes, they use flour.

      PHK wrote on December 9th, 2010
  5. 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).

    Matt wrote on December 9th, 2010
  6. 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.

    strom wrote on December 9th, 2010
  7. 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.

    colleen wrote on December 10th, 2010
  8. I make them with celery root – they’re fantastic! Top with a poached egg for a delicious brunch!
    http://www.freshtart.net/Poached-Eggs-Over-Celery-Root-Latkes-12268637

    Stephanie Meyer (Fresh Tart) wrote on December 20th, 2010
  9. I made mine with carrots, zuccinni and shredded chicken and it was AMAZING!

    Ryan wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  10. I tried to make up my own recipe for this once and it didn’t go well. Now I’m inspired to try again. Plus I didn’t consider all the different veggies this will work for. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Brenda wrote on January 3rd, 2011
  11. I grated extra turnip when making Primal Breakfast Casserole (excellent)and put it in a Tupperware container with a paper towel for two days and there wasn’t any moisture left in the veggies.

    tracepdx wrote on January 12th, 2011
  12. these are going to be my savior!
    i mixed shredded cabbage, spaghetti squash, carrots and onion and salt. waited 10 min squeezed out the water then added onion powder, old bay, pepper, garlic powder tiny bit of curry and cayanne and egg. trick is to have the flame high and make them thin – so GOOD!!!

    steph wrote on March 8th, 2011
  13. Making carrot latkes tonight fried in bacon grease, served with a dollop of sour cream…oh and the bacon. Can’t wait!

    Andrea wrote on March 18th, 2011
  14. These are de-lish, I just made them for dinner with turnips. Thanx.

    Melody wrote on March 21st, 2011
  15. Made these tonight so my vegan boyfriend and I would have something to eat together. They came out delicious, but I made a few alterations. I added onion powder, since real potato latkes have grated onion in them. I also added 2T of coconut flour and that helped hold them together. None of them fell apart! Fried them in olive oil and just ate them plain. Very delicious!

    Amanda wrote on April 16th, 2011
  16. 2 medium zucchini, grated fresh garlic, grated fresh onion, 3 tbs of toasted sesame seeds, grated fresh nutmeg, 6tbs grated Parmesan cheese, black pepper, Spanish paprika, 3 eggs…all amalgamating in a bowl right now awaiting cooking — probably in coconut oil — hoping they’ll hold together — certain they’ll be delicious.

    li'l milo wrote on March 25th, 2012
  17. the zucchini pancake experiment did not go as well as i hoped it would. the batch yielded 9 pancakes.

    i used a 1/4cup of ‘batter’ per cake. the first 6 were fried in a stainless steel thick bottom skillet with unrefined coconut oil. i found the scent of the coconut oil kind of cloying, even before the batter went in the pan.

    i made certain the oil was super hot — but the cakes still came out very greasy — and browned better on the first side.

    with the remaining batter(3 cakes)i opted for a non-stick pan and cooking spray, as i wanted a firmer consistency. this actually worked as i hoped it would.

    taste: actually, kind of icky. too much nutmeg or parmesan, maybe? dunno. i tossed the 6 i cooked in coconut oil. i really don’t like greasy or fried food of any kind(except for very good calamari.) i am surprised i actually thought i’d like these.

    the 3 i cooked in the non stick/cooking spray are sitting on the counter. honestly, i think these are going in the trash too.

    li'l milo wrote on March 25th, 2012
  18. What can I use instead of eggs? Probably has been answered but if you don’t mind adding a tip, thanks!

    Cris wrote on August 19th, 2012
  19. EGGS ARE NOT VEGTABLES!!!!!

    I am sure there is a BETTER more HEALTHY recipe than one that uses future chicken babies……..

    david wrote on August 21st, 2012
  20. hi just a couple sugestions.. mint in the zuchini ones and i like to use flour so try coconut flour :)

    melissa wrote on August 21st, 2012
  21. Use some whole wheat flour try sweet potato ,carrot ,sliced smoke almonds :-}

    Patrick wrote on August 28th, 2012
  22. i top the zucchini latkes with apricot preserves! super yummy!

    cari wrote on September 17th, 2012
  23. What to do with the squeezed juices? Waste to shame all the nutrients. I’m thinking a soup of some kind…

    James wrote on November 7th, 2012
  24. What oil did you use? I know that is a loaded question!
    Look forward to having a go with these.

    Cynthia Parkin wrote on November 19th, 2013
  25. Jewish friends turned me on to latkes and I’ve been a fan ever since. Tried potato, cauliflower and taro, all good. This year I made them out of turnips for sweetness with a bite. They were great with homemade applesauce. I “oven-fry” them to reduce the fat content. I know this is not the traditional way to do it, but it tastes just as good.

    Elaine Rose wrote on December 3rd, 2013

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