Ten years ago, I told one of my third graders that she couldn’t possibly be allergic to food coloring.
It was March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and I had gotten eggs in green shells from a hobby farmer and thought it would be hilarious to add green food coloring and play it up like the green eggs were actually green eggs on the inside too.
My student kept asking if it was really green food coloring because she was allergic, and I told her she must have been mistaken, that people aren’t allergic to food coloring, but that of course she didn’t have to eat it if she wasn’t interested.
I still feel guilty about that.
Oh, if I knew then, what I know now!
I’m guessing in hindsight that food coloring negatively impacted her behavior so her mom had asked her to avoid it and offered the excuse of “I’m allergic,” to explain it to imbeciles like ME who didn’t know any better and weren’t really listening anyway.
Now I know about the many potential hazards of artificial colors for kids and wouldn’t dream of adding it to food, nor would I ever do a food-based activity without warning parents in advance (if I was still a teacher).
Besides that, it’s not like it’s that hard to make things green without the help of food scientists and a little bottle that will stain your fingers for five days.
This recipe has been posted before with the “green” as an option; for St. Patrick’s Day fun, it’s a must. And don’t we all need to have a little fun in the kitchen sometimes, since we probably spend five thousand hours a day in there?
And these veggie-laden “latke” potato pancakes make a hearty breakfast or side dish at any meal. (If making for breakfast, you can grate/shred the vegetables in advance the night before.)
- 3 large potatoes (about 4 cups worth, shredded)
- 2–3 cups shredded sweet potato
- optional other veggies – you can replace some of the white potatoes with zucchini, carrots, or other root vegetables.
- a few BIG handfuls of spinach
- 3 eggs
- 2 Tbs. flour (any – white, whole wheat, brown rice, ETC.)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tsp. salt
- oil for frying (refined coconut oil is excellent)
- Wash, peel (optional) and grate the raw potatoes (all). I use a food processor! Salt the gratings and allow to sit for 10-60 minutes (depending on how long you have before the meal), then drain the excess water that accumulates at the bottom of the bowl. If you’re hurrying and must skip this step entirely, the pancakes will survive.
- Food process (with the regular blade) or finely chop onion and add to shredded veggies.
- Food process the spinach and mix it in.
- Beat eggs well and add to the bowl (or just beat on top and then mix in). If it’s green, you’re good to go!
- Add salt and flour. Mix well.
- Heat oil in frying pan or electric griddle at about 350F. I love my cast iron griddle (found on Amazon) and use it multiple times a day.
- Spoon potato mixture into hot oil and flatten with spoon or spatula to create 3-4” circles.
- Add a spoonful of the liquid that collects at the bottom of the mixing bowl right in the center. It’s mostly egg and will remind you of a fried egg around the edges of the pancake.
- This helps to hold everything together nicely so you don’t end up just making veggie hashbrowns. Flip when the underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes. The second side won’t cook quite as evenly brown, but when it starts looking like toasty hashbrowns, they’re done (about 3-5 minutes).
- Remove to a plate; drain with paper towel if necessary.
- Traditional toppings include sour cream or applesauce, but they’re also good with real maple syrup, homemade yogurt in place of the sour cream, or even ketchup. My son uses 3 of the 4, which makes my husband cringe, but hey – to each his own toppings as long as they’re eating their vegetables!
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The spinach disappears quickly when you food process it – so a “few handfuls” means a LOT. Make sure you use enough so that the eggy liquid turns green, like this:
If you have a food processor, kids are great helpers to feed vegetables into the tube to shred, and it’s really a quick and fun job to prep! Be bold with your veggie choices, friends – you never know what a kid will enjoy.
Other St. Patrick’s Day Foods:
- Cabbage Rolls – UNrolled and in the slow cooker, takes only 15 mins to throw together!
- Shepherd’s Pie, real food style