A New Twist On A Latke: Potato and Zucchini Pancakes and Homemade Applesauce

Potato pancakes and zucchini fried in a pan on a wooden background
Ananda Headshot Ananda Kaplan

If you are looking for a tasty, crispy, and nutritious dish to accompany any holiday meal, look no further! We took a classic latke (potato pancake) recipe and added in some shredded zucchini and sweet potato to not only boost the fiber and antioxidants but to add depth to the flavor.

Both zucchini and sweet potatoes have vitamins and immune-boosting properties. These potato pancakes can be baked or fried and can be made vegan and gluten-free. While many people love the taste of a fried pancake, the baked method offers a lighter version that still provides a perfectly crisp outside and the pillowy-soft inside we expect from a perfect latke.

To complete the dish, add a dollop of our homemade no-sugar-added applesauce, which provides a lovely touch of spiced sweetness. The dairy-free “sour cream” rounds out the taste experience with a hit of tang. The net result is a truly satisfying taste and texture.

Potato and Zucchini Latkes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Idaho or Russet potato, shredded
  • 1 medium sweet potato, shredded
  • 1 medium yellow onion, shredded
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg or 1 flax egg*
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chives, diced (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour or GF flour or oat flour
  • High heat oil for cooking (avocado, sunflower, coconut)

*To make 1 flax egg: mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside for 10 minutes to thicken.*

Directions

  1. Using the large side of a box grater, grate the zucchini, potatoes, and onion. Place all ingredients in cheesecloth or a kitchen towel over the sink and ring out excess liquid until all ingredients are very dry.
  2. Whisk together the egg or flax egg with the baking powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and chives.
  3. Add vegetable mixture to egg mixture and use your hands to thoroughly combine and evenly coat the vegetables with the egg mixture.
  4. Add in the flour and gently toss to evenly coat the mixture.

Oven Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and oil the parchment paper with high heat oil. If you do not have parchment paper you can add a little extra oil to ensure they do not stick.
  2. Place approximately 2 tablespoons of mixture to form the pancakes on a baking sheet with 2 inches between them. Brush each pancake with a little oil.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy with applesauce and sour cream.

Skillet Method:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1/8 inch of high heat oil over medium high heat. The oil is hot enough when it begins to look glossy.
  2. Using a tablespoon measure or spoon begin dropping approximately 2 tablespoons of potato mixture onto the hot oil and flatten to cook.  Do not overcrowd the pan, there should be at least 2 inches between the potato pancakes. You can use a spatula to slightly mold them into your desired shape but be aware of the hot oil.
  3. Cook each pancake until you begin to see the edges turning golden brown, approximately 3-5 minutes on each side until perfectly golden and cooked through.  Remove pancakes and place them onto a paper towel to remove any excess oil. Repeat until you have cooked off all of the batter.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy with applesauce and sour cream.

Homemade Applesauce

homemade apple sauce or apple puree in ceramic bowl over rustic wooden table. top view

Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 6 sweet apples, cored and cut into 2 inch chunks (fuji, honeycrisp, gala or golden delicious work well)
  • ½ cup water (you may need up to an extra ¼ cup water depending on the water content of the apple while cooking)
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or ½ tsp cinnamon (if you enjoy a more spiced applesauce you can add extra cinnamon to taste after cooking.
  • ½ lemon, juiced

Directions

  1. Add apple chunks to a large pot with water, salt, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cover with a lid and leave it slightly open on the side for steam to escape. Simmer for 30 minutes or until apple pieces are soft enough to mash with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add fresh lemon juice, and mash apple pieces until the desired consistency is reached. I like mine a little chunkier so I use a potato masher, but you can also use an immersion blender, or a regular blender to create a smoother texture.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste, and enjoy warm or cool.
  4. You can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Dairy Free Sour Cream

Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups of your favorite non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Flavor options: chives, dill, paprika, onion powder, garlic

Directions

  1. Place your yogurt in cheesecloth or a coffee filter in a strainer and allow the excess liquid to strain out for at least 2 hours. The longer you strain it the thicker your sour cream will be.
  2. Mix strained yogurt with lemon juice and flavor options of your choice.

 

Nutrient Highlights

Potato: One of the highest sources of potassium, which allows our body to increase circulation and balance our blood pressure by excreting any excess sodium in the body. Potatoes also have a good amount of fiber to aid in digestive health.

Sweet Potato: Packed full of beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A). Vitamin A is integral for vision and immune function, as well as skin and bone health. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body and assisting cells in protection against viruses. Scientists have also reported that carotenoid-rich foods (orange foods) can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer (especially in the lungs, esophagus, and stomach), and can improve immune system function. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response, by reducing oxidative stress.

Zucchini: Nutrient-dense vegetable packed full of fiber and water that aids in digestive health. The insoluble fiber helps us stay regular and the soluble fiber is a “prebiotic” food for the good bacteria to promote a healthy gut. This vegetable’s high amount of zeaxanthin (a powerful antioxidant) also plays a role in preventing oxidative stress to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Garlic and onion: These vegetables are considered prebiotics, meaning they feed the “good” bacteria in our gut and promote a healthy digestive system. Research supports that the compounds in garlic and shallots, such as allicin, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and cardioprotective properties.

Apples: Both are high in nutrients and low in calories, making them nutrient-dense. Also packed full of fiber to feed the good gut bacteria, boost our immune system and help us feel fuller longer. Apples rank second to berries in the number of antioxidants adding a cancer-fighting component.

Cinnamon: It has been shown to enhance motor function and normalize neurotransmitter levels. It can help improve insulin sensitivity and maintain stable blood sugar by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes that slow the breakdown of carbohydrates in the GI tract.

Citrus juice: Packed full of a multitude of nutrients such as vitamin C, flavonoids, and fiber. These support vascular protection, reduced inflammation, improved gastrointestinal function and health, and can play an important role in preventing diabetes, cancer, and neurological disease.

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