Traditionally, a latke is a potato pancake. Most people think of the potato pancake as a Jewish dish eaten during Hanukkah, but potato pancakes of some sort exist in potato-eating cultures around the world.
My first experience with a potato pancake was at a block party in Allen, Texas…all my neighbors got together one fall evening with a few coolers of beer, several bags of potatoes, a tub of Crisco and all our Coleman camping stoves lined up in the cul-de-sac…a few hours later (and a couple refills of the beer coolers!) I had my first potato pancake. I couldn’t imagine how I had gotten into my early twenties living in the south and never had one of these little bites of heaven, crispy outside, fluffy & salty inside, doused in ketchup…oh my I was hooked! Needless to say those potato pancakes were terribly unhealthy and were full of processed “white” food and hydrogenated oil…AND to this very day (about 15 years later) there is still massive Crisco oil stains on the driveways where we fried them!!!!!
Fast forward to the present day into my gluten-free, grain-free, unprocessed and refined sugar-free lifestyle…I still love to re-create the tastes and textures of the foods I loved back then. For years I have been making a wonderful sweet potato latke but lately have been experimenting using less starchy vegetables with really great results. My favorites are these summer squash and zucchini latkes followed closely by a jicama and carrot combination. Once again, this recipe is easily adaptable with just about any vegetable, the key is to squeeze as much moisture out of the grated vegetables you are using so the latkes don’t get mushy.
Summer Squash and Zucchini Latkes (yields 8 latkes)
1 lb summer squash, grated
1 lb zucchini, grated
2 green onions, sliced
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup coconut oil, avocado oil or lard (or your favorite high heat oil)
celtic sea salt
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
sour cream or creme fraiche (optional for garnish)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Grate squash and zucchini on a box grater or in a food processor and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the squash and mix together, let sit in the bowl for about 15 minutes. Scoop the squash mixture into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all the excess moisture (this is the most important step of the process, so don’t skip it!). Place the drained squash back into the bowl, add green onion, beaten eggs, salt and pepper to your taste and crushed red pepper, thoroughly combine. Drop about 1/4 cup of the squash mixture into the hot oil and slightly press down with a spatula, fry until slightly browned and crispy on each side, usually about 5 minutes per side. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of fresh sour cream.
- Squeeze as much moisture out as you can!
- If the mixture still feels too wet add tablespoon of almond, coconut or quinoa flour
- For vegan option, omit the eggs and add 1/4 cup flour
Vegetables I like to use:
Jicama and carrot
Sweet potato and red onion
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