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Traditional & Vegan Herbed Potato Latkes

This Hanukkah I locked in my favorite latke recipe, cooking it over and over and taking notes. I’m resharing it here, if nothing else so I can easily find it next December.

I was lucky to celebrate with my brother, who is vegan. We cooked together and over several nights made eight batches of latkes, half traditional and half vegan. We nailed the vegan version: side-by-side, they were nearly indistinguishable.

They were excellent. Pureeing some, but not all, of the potatoes yields a latke with distinguishable strands that is also firmly bound. And they are herbed, which gives them flavors beyond oil and salt. There was no point at which I suddenly felt ugh, that’s enough.

Source: this recipe appears in a 2006 cookbook from Kehillat Israel, a synagogue in East Lansing. It was contributed by Diane Levy, who cites the original source as the 1966 Planter’s Oil cookbook, “Festive Manna.” I’ve modified it and note the vegan substitution for eggs below. You could make this without a food processor but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Herbed Potato Latkes

This makes 9-10 large latkes, enough to serve 2.5 adults. We quadrupled this recipe to feed 11 people (6 adults, 5 kids) and had a few left over.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups grated potatoes, about 1.5 pounds by weight
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 eggs OR 1 tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 1/4 cup warm water, mixed thoroughly
  • 3 tbsp flour or matzo meal
  • 1.5 tsp salt (these are on the saltier end)
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves or 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • (optional) 3 tbsp fresh parsley or 1.5 tsp dried parsley
  • Frying oil

Cooking

Grate the potatoes (peel them first if you feel like it) with the food processor’s coarse grating disc. Remove the potatoes and swap in the chopping blade. Add all other ingredients along with 1 cup of the grated potatoes and pulse until mushy. Mix this glop back into the reserved 2 cups of grated potatoes.

Prepare for possible oil spatters and smoke alarm activation. Heat about 1/4″ oil in a heavy skillet. If you have a high-temperature thermometer, aim for oil temperatures around 325-350 degrees. Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture per latke into the oil (a measuring cup works well). Fry each side until golden brown, then remove and drain on paper towels. Replenish oil as needed. If making large quantities, keep them warm on a tray in an oven on low heat.

I marked the parsley optional. We used it until we ran out and the latkes were good both ways. The fresh parsley does turn them a striking green color. I’d recommend it, but its absence won’t be felt.

If you’re making the vegan version, consider serving the latkes with sauerkraut in place of sour cream. Sauerkraut made a surprisingly good latke topping and will be appearing at my future latke feasts.

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