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Green Veggie Pancakes for St. Patrick’s Day (no food coloring allowed!)

Veggie Pancakes

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!

Easy Potato Vegetable Pancakes with Spinach

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.

Making Potato Vegetable Pancakes

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?

You betcha.

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.)


Easy Potato Vegetable Pancakes with Spinach

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Potato Vegetable Pancakes

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Yield: 15 pancakes 1x


  • 3 large potatoes (about 4 cups worth, shredded)
  • 23 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 (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
  • oil for frying (refined coconut oil is excellent)

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  1. 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.
  2. Food process (with the regular blade) or finely chop onion and add to shredded veggies.
  3. Food process the spinach and mix it in.
  4. 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!
  5. Add salt and flour. Mix well.
  6. 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.
  7. Spoon potato mixture into hot oil and flatten with spoon or spatula to create 3-4” circles.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. Remove to a plate; drain with paper towel if necessary.
  11. 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:

Making Potato Vegetable Pancakes

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.

How (or why) do you avoid food coloring?
Veggie Pancakes

Other St. Patrick’s Day Foods:

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Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

About The Author

3 thoughts on “Green Veggie Pancakes for St. Patrick’s Day (no food coloring allowed!)”

  1. These look so delicious! We just had latkes and now I want to make them again but with added veggies. Does this recipe really serve two? I’m wondering about scaling it for my family.

    1. Cam,
      Oops! Maybe 2 very hungry teenagers. 🙂 That was a bad copy-and-paste from the other recipe where it said “2 adults and 2 small children.” It really makes about 15-18 pancakes, so plenty for a family of 4 with other sides in the meal IMO. 🙂 Katie

  2. Food coloring can be made from almost anything. All colors of food coloring sometimes has grapes (to which im allergic) in it as part of the base, and there’s no way to read the ingredients to find out. Nuts are less commonly in food coloring with the increase in nut allergies, and thankfully are more likely to be marked now, but that hasn’t always been true and still isn’t reliable.

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