The wallflowers of the vegetable world, roots and tubers aren’t popular like volleyball team captain tomato, and they aren’t serious and sexy like class president asparagus. But just as Silicon Valley has shown us that geeks can be cool, so have farmers’ markets turned roots and tubers into something special. They aren’t always pretty—think of the ugly dangling roots of celeriac, which have to be trimmed before you find the gorgeous ivory vegetable underneath. And with the exception of beets and carrots, most come in muted colors, blanched from spending too much time underground. Their thick skins can be hard to penetrate, but they are full of nutrients and sweet carbohydrates—after all, the roots provide food for the rest of the plant—and they are grounded by complex, earthy nuances. You may be used to thinking of them as background players, but roots and tubers are dependable and true, like that loyal friend from drama club you never took to the prom.
Traditionally fried up during Hanukkah, latkes are simply pancakes made of shredded potatoes bound with eggs. This version uses any kind of root and tuber scraps you may have, such as odds and ends that remain after cutting up and trimming vegetables for a soup. Just throw the vegetable ends in the food processor with the grating attachment to shred them. These crisp mini latkes make a delicious appetizer with sour cream and applesauce anytime of the year.–Tara Duggan
LC No Scraps? No Problem Note
Chances are that at some point a craving for these latkes will occur when you aren’t in possession of scraps. (It makes perfect sense that the one time you don’t have scraps is the time when you crave these latkes—thank you very much, Murphy’s Law.) Author Tara Duggan has a solution, and it’s one of countless really quite clever solutions found in this book. Simply grab 1 carrot, 1 beet, and 1 russet potato and grate them whole. You’re welcome.
Root Vegetable Latkes Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 55 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- 3 cups peeled and grated raw root vegetables or tubers, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, or celery root
- 1/4 onion, very thinly sliced or shredded in a food processor
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
- Sour cream, for serving (optional)
- Applesauce, for serving (optional)
- 1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C).
- 2. Place the grated vegetables and onion in a large bowl. Press the grated vegetables with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Add the eggs, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and pepper and stir well.
- 3. Place a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat and add enough oil to fill the skillet to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. When the oil is hot, use a soupspoon to scoop up about 2 tablespoonfuls latke mixture, then use another soupspoon to press down on the mixture to make an oval patty. Gently slide the patty into the oil. Continue making patties with the spoons and cooking them without crowding them, until the latkes are browned, crisp, and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Make sure the oil isn’t too hot or the latkes will burn. Place on paper towels or a brown paper bag to drain.
- 4. If desired, place the finished latkes on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you make the rest of the latkes. Season with salt and serve with the sour cream and applesauce, if desired. You’ll probably have about 20 small latkes.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Nov 25, 2013
I did not have scraps at home, so I went to our local farmers market to get what I needed. I used 10 baby carrots, 1/2 small zucchini, 1/2 yellow squash, and 2 really small eggplants. This was very easy to make, but it became a tad watery. I used a cast-iron skillet to fry them in to make sure the latkes wouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and that worked beautifully. My only question is about the timing and correct amount. I made them nice and small but I had far from 20 small latkes. I actually made exactly 10, which was the perfect amount as an appetizer for 3 to 4 people. They were amazing just on their own, but it was also nice to eat them with applesauce and sour cream. This is a fun recipe to make for a dinner party, or even for your kids to take to school as even next day (though no longer crisp, they are still very good).
Nov 25, 2013
I love it when I can immediately go to my pantry and fridge and make a recipe that I just found. Such was the case with these latkes. I went with carrots and russet potatoes, which made a tasty and slightly sweet combination. The yield was 24 latkes and the dish was made from start to finish in less than an hour. Once assembled, the ingredients became a bit “watery,” I guess due to the lack of flour. However, this did not present a problem. I simply pressed each patty between the two spoons to remove any excess liquid before I dropped it into the hot oil.
Nov 25, 2013
These latkes were delicious! I love that you can easily mix and match the root vegetables depending on what you have on hand. I used a combination of russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots, and it was a great flavor combination. After grating the vegetables in the food processor, I further chopped them to create a smaller grated size. This helped to make a more cohesive patty (less like hash browns) for frying. If using russet potatoes, place the grated potato in a bowl of cold water to prevent it from discoloring. Prior to frying, be sure to drain and/or squeeze out all of the moisture from the vegetables. I added a good amount of kosher salt to the latkes just after frying and as they cooled. I will definitely be making these again!
Nov 25, 2013
What a fantastic way to use whatever random root vegetables you have just lying around. I used beets and sweet potatoes and the resulting latkes were sweet, earthy, and delicious. In order to get 3 cups grated vegetables, I used 2 beets and 1/2 large sweet potato. The mixture came together easily and I was able to prepare it ahead of time and cook the latkes later in the evening when I needed them. This didn’t seem to have an effect on the quality of the latkes. My stove hovered around medium heat and I got a nice crunchy exterior and a cooked-through interior. The latkes did not maintain their crispiness very well while they rested in the oven, so perhaps next time, I’ll keep the oven a touch warmer. They definitely needed a final sprinkling of salt after cooking. I served these with a little creme fraiche. I also used the leftovers in several unorthodox ways, including as a layer in a sandwich the next day (amazing) and as the base for some barbecue pork and cole slaw (also fantastic). I look forward to trying different combinations of vegetables, including celery root. The possibilities are great.
Nov 25, 2013
This was such a simple, good recipe and a really great idea for a quick side. I had some russet potatoes and sweet potatoes on hand, so I used them. I followed the recipe to a tee and they came out perfectly. At first I was a bit worried because I thought that there might not be enough binder, but the small amount of cornstarch and eggs, along with the natural starchiness of the potatoes, came together to make a nice and surprisingly light latke. In fact, I couldn’t wait to try one, so as I was finishing up the frying, I snacked on a couple of the finished latkes. I will definitely revisit this recipe and try making it again with some of the other suggested root vegetable scraps.
Nov 25, 2013
Lovely, crisp, and delicious. I used 2 small potatoes and 1/2 large carrot for my latkes since that’s what I had on hand. I had quite a bit of liquid in the bottom of the bowl, but I just lifted out enough for each individual latke with a spoon, as the recipe instructs, and pressed out the liquid with another spoon before putting the mixture in the pan. The resulting latkes were creamy in the middle and crisp on the outside.
Nov 25, 2013
I love the name “Scraps Latkes.” It turned out that I didn’t have enough carrots and had to add potatoes to make the amount needed. I also love the idea of using root vegetables. The recipe is easy enough to pull together using pantry ingredients. I’ve made latkes before with just potato, and have used zucchini in the batter when I’ve had an overabundance of it, but I’ve never thought to try carrot or beet. My testers loved them (in fact, the first tasting comment was “OMG, these are delicious!”). We could have made a meal out of just latkes. Certainly adding cornstarch makes them great for a gluten-free diet. The carrot gives it a slightly sweeter taste. The latkes turned out crisp on the outside and the inside was creamy and light tasting. The only concern I had was that the batter was very wet. I was concerned that the latkes wouldn’t hold together since there was quite a bit of liquid at the bottom of the bowl. My concerns turned out to be unfounded, but next time I’ll try to squeeze the liquid from whatever vegetables I use.
Root Vegetable Latkes Recipe © 2013 Tara Duggan. Photo © 2013 Clay McLachlan. All rights reserved.