Different times of the year have their special blessings. I love these winter holidays for the family time (extra-precious now, with two of our daughters married, one in college and only one still full-time at home), and, of course, the food!
I can’t get enough of potato latkes (aka potato pancakes)! And you don’t have to celebrate Hanukkah to enjoy them.
These are my healthier twist on the classic. The traditional way to cook latkes is in a lot of oil. I cooked these in a ceramic nonstick pan with just a bit of oil—enough to give it that nicely fried texture but not enough that they end up drenched. The blend of zucchini and potato makes them surprisingly light…plus they don’t hit your stomach like a lead balloon when you overindulge, as is so easy to do! In addition, I don’t peel my potatoes or zucchini, so you won’t lose all of those wonderful nutrients and fiber in their skins. I prepared these gluten-free and egg-free, but they are easily adapted for other diets.
These latkes are delicious as is or served up with applesauce—especially my homemade strawberry applesauce. I’m practically drooling as I type this!
- 1 small onion, minced (about ½ cup)
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 1 cup)
- 1 large red potato or equivalent smaller potatoes, unpeeled and shredded (about 1½ to 2 cups)
- ¼ cup flour (I used oat flour)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil plus additional for cooking
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs or equivalent (I used Ener-g Egg replacer; If you use egg replacer, I also added ½ teaspoon xantham gum plus an additional 2 Tablespoons water)
- Wash and the dry zucchini and the potato. Be sure to scrub the potato well since you’ll shred it with the peel.
- Finely mince onion and put into a medium-size bowl.
- If you have a food processor, use the grating disk to shred the zucchini and the potato. If you don’t have a food processor, shred zucchini and potato with a hand grater or a mandolin. For hand-grating, keep the end knob on the zucchini as a handle so you don’t shred your fingers. Also, I wear kitchen prep gloves when hand-grating to protect against accidental scrapes.
- Add shredded zucchini and potato to the bowl.
- Add flour, oil, salt and eggs or egg replacer, and mix it all together. Let sit for a few minutes. While you wait, get down a big plate for the finished latkes. Cover with a few layers of paper towels to soak up oil from the surface.
- Heat pan just over medium (I used 6 where 10 is the highest).
- Once the pan is hot, pour in some oil. If you’re using a nonstick ceramic pan as I did, you don’t need much—maybe a tablespoon. Because of the nature of nonstick pans, the oil won’t evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Do your best to spread it around and, when you put in the batter, just do it over where oil is. You can tilt the pan to spread the oil where you want it and it’s easy to adjust the placement of the latkes once they start cooking. Use a soup spoon to spoon the batter into the pan. I cooked four or five at a time—see what works for your pan. Cook about 4 minutes per side.
- Place each completed batch onto the paper-toweled plate. Add additional layers of paper towels as needed. And add additional oil as needed for subsequent batches. I think I replenished the oil in the pan twice over the entire cooking time.
This recipe served four of us, but (sadly) no leftovers. If you do have leftovers or decide to make a bigger batch, the easiest way to reheat is in a toaster oven right on the rack—I use a toast setting rather than warming them on an oven temperature.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous and meaningful holiday season and new year.