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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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December 04 2010

Vegetable Latkes

By Worker Bee

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?


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


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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83 thoughts on “Vegetable Latkes”

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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.

    1. 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!

  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!

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

    Thanks for this lovely recipe.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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 …

    1. 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 🙂

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

    1. 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?

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

  14. 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?

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

      1. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

    2. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.)

    1. 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.


  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

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

  30. 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..?


  31. 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…

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

  32. 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)

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

      1. 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.

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

  34. 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.: )

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

  35. 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).

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. I made mine with carrots, zuccinni and shredded chicken and it was AMAZING!

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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!!!

  42. Making carrot latkes tonight fried in bacon grease, served with a dollop of sour cream…oh and the bacon. Can’t wait!

  43. These are de-lish, I just made them for dinner with turnips. Thanx.

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. What can I use instead of eggs? Probably has been answered but if you don’t mind adding a tip, thanks!


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

  49. hi just a couple sugestions.. mint in the zuchini ones and i like to use flour so try coconut flour 🙂

  50. Use some whole wheat flour try sweet potato ,carrot ,sliced smoke almonds :-}

  51. What to do with the squeezed juices? Waste to shame all the nutrients. I’m thinking a soup of some kind…

  52. What oil did you use? I know that is a loaded question!
    Look forward to having a go with these.

  53. 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.

  54. These are delicious!

    I made mine with turnip, carrot, onion and egg.

    Added a little cayenne pepper for heat and some powdered coconut.

    Had them hot with dinner and popped a couple of cold ones in with my salad for lunch today. Shall be experimenting with lots of variations once this batch is eaten up! 🙂

  55. These look awesome! One item I would suggest, and that is onion, either grated or finely diced. Can’t be a REAL latke without onion!!!