This Latke recipe (also called potato pancakes) is written in my own hand from 1988, when I would have been in third grade. Food has always been a part of my history, and this traditional dish from my Polish heritage is a perennial favorite.
When I first served them to my husband, he was incredibly skeptical and didn’t think he’d like them, but now they’re a great go-to “breakfast for dinner” meal for the whole family.
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Better yet, they’re an awesome way to have vegetables for breakfast! We all know we should be having veggies in larger quantities than most other foods, but sometimes they’re tough to get into the meal plan except at dinnertime.
Why not start the day off strong with one or two of your 5-a-day taken care of (and then shoot for 7-10)?
Latke (Potato Pancakes)…with Vegetables!
- 3 large potatoes (about 4 cups worth, grated)
- about 2-3 cups other vegetables, grated (see Q&A notes)
- 3 eggs
- 2 Tbs. flour (see Q&A notes)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tsp. salt
- oil for frying (refined coconut oil is excellent)
- Wash, peel (optional) and grate the raw potatoes. 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.
- Grate or finely chop onion and add to potatoes, along with any other veggies you're using. (Grate = lots of crying; finely chop = only a few tears. Another reason I like the food processor to do the job for me. Use the regular blade to chop onions.)
- Beat eggs well and add to the bowl (or just beat on top and then mix in).
- Add salt and flour. Mix well.
- Heat oil in frying pan or electric griddle at about 350F.
- 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!
Recipe Q&A: Getting more Out of the Latkes
Q: How do I make this dish even healthier?
A: Add vegetables!
Once your family is convinced that potato pancakes are wonderful (you might skip anything green on the first attempt if you have veggie-phobic children), slowly adjust the 6-7 cups of shredded stuff so that the ratio of potatoes to vegetables gets lower and lower. Eventually, you should be able to have just 2 cups of shredded potatoes and 4 cups of shredded vegetables.
But if you want something fun for St. Patty’s Day, put a few BIG handfuls of washed baby spinach in! You really can’t taste it, and eating green food without nasty food coloring is a fun real food trick. 🙂
Q: What vegetables should I use?
A: Anything you have on hand:
- spinach or other leafy greens
- sweet potato
- zucchini or summer squash
- fall squash, raw
- broccoli, stems included
Spinach will make the whole batch a shocking green, but I promise, you can’t taste it. Zucchini, especially peeled, totally blends in. Broccoli and cauliflower will impart some flavor, so use in smaller amounts until you know how they come through.
Sweet potato will naturally add a bit of sweetness, which some will love and some will hate. If your family likes these with maple syrup, you can use less sweetener if you include a few sweet potatoes.
Feel free to add green or colored peppers, but they will really change the flavor of the dish. You can always chop peppers finely and add to individual pancakes just for those who would appreciate the Mexi-flavor, and perhaps include salsa with the sour cream on the table.
Q: What kind of flour should I use?
A: Any flour from white to whole wheat will work just fine.
Q: What’s the gluten-free option?
A: This recipe will work with brown rice flour or even arrowroot starch in place of the 2 Tbs. of flour. You just need a bit to get everything to stick together.
Q: Is this breakfast or dinner?
I highly recommend making this a “breakfast for dinner” meal with your favorite meat on the side and planning leftovers for breakfast. You could certainly make them just for breakfast as well, but you’d have to get up quite a bit earlier than the rest of your hungry family.
It’s also possible to grate the veggies in advance and keep covered in the refrigerator for the morning, as long as you have time to fry them up while you’re getting ready for your day.
Q: How do I reheat leftovers?
A: Leftovers are awesome to have with this recipe. I often make a double batch just so I have leftovers for quick breakfasts. They are best reheated in a frying pan or griddle to retain the crispy outside, but a toaster oven does a good job, too.
Other healthy breakfast ideas:
- Soaked Whole Grain Pancakes
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Best Scrambled Eggs Ever
- Banana Flax Muffins
- Homemade Granola and Granola bars
- Sourdough Pancakes (3 options)
- Cherry Almond Coconut Crepes
- Paleo Pancakes (Banana)
- Soaked Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
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