The holiday season is packed with traditional foods like candy canes, hot cocoa and … latkes? If you haven’t tried this Hanukkah staple, it’s time to add my sweet potato latkes recipe to your list this December.
What Is a Latke?
Latkes are a delicious Jewish appetizer, but they have a big history behind them. Legend has it that Judith was a Biblical figure who heard that General Holofernes was headed to town to destroy the Jews. Instead of letting that happen, Judith took salty cheese and wine to Holofernes’ tent and got him to eat and drink. He wound up getting so drunk that he fell asleep, giving Judith the opportunity to cut his head off and presenting it to the rest of his army. They became so scared that they fled the town, leaving the Jews to celebrate.
Originally, latkes were made from soft cheese as a nod to the salty cheese Judith served the general. In warmer climates, Jewish people still often make ricotta latkes. As fried foods and dairy are both common in Jewish cooking, latkes became an important part of Hanukkah cooking.
It wasn’t until the 1800s that potato pancakes became popular. Potatoes were cheap to grow in Eastern Europe and, with the abundance of the vegetable, became the main ingredient in latkes. Eventually it spread to Jewish cultures throughout the world and, today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Hanukkah celebration that didn’t include potato latkes.
Why Sweet Potato Latkes Instead of German Potatoes?
Traditionally, latkes are made from white potatoes. But with my version of the potato pancakes, you’ll get an extra nutritional boost. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A and antioxidants, but they’re also low on the glycemic scale. I can always get on board with extra vitamins and minerals!
Though potato latkes are usually made with all-purpose flour, my version is made with arrowroot or tapioca starch, making these gluten-free latkes. I’ve also created two different versions for you to enjoy: the first latkes have baked potato-style toppings, with plain yogurt and chopped green onions.
The second sweet potato latke recipe uses yogurt, healing raw honey and cacao nibs for a more dessert-style potato pancakes. You can make a big batch of latkes and put out all the toppings for friends and family to create their own favorite version. Variety is the spice of life!
But enough about toppings. It’s time to make some sweet potato latkes!
How to Make Sweet Potato Latkes
Mix together all of the ingredients, except the green onions and reserved butter, in a food processor.
Blend the sweet potato latke ingredients on high until they’re well combined.
Next, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of grass-fed butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Take the sweet potato latke batter and form into little balls, then flatten them into 3-inch discs.
Add two or three sweet potato latkes to the pan, pressing them down with a spatula to flatten.
Fry each latke for 5–7 minutes per side until they are golden brown.
Top with one of the two topping options and enjoy!
- 2 sweet potatoes, shredded
- 2 parsnips, shredded
- ½ white onion, minced
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca starch
- 6 tablespoons grass-fed butter, divided
- Topping #1:
- 1 dollop plain goat milk yogurt
- green onions, chopped
- Topping #2:
- 1 dollop plain coconut yogurt
- raw honey
- cacao nibs
- Mix all ingredients, except the green onions and reserved butter, in a food processor and blend on high until well combined.
- Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium pan over medium heat.
- Form batter into little balls and then flatten them into about a 3 inch disc.
- Add two or three latkes to the pan, pressing them down with a spatula.
- Fry for 5–7 minutes on each side until they are golden brown.
- Top with one of the two toppings and enjoy!