With the Thanksgiving turkey long gone and gobbled up, it’s time to turn our attention to the next winter holiday ahead of us. Chanukah! Or Hanukkah. Or Channanoonanookahhhhh. Because I never really learned how to spell it correctly. But beyond a rather abundant number of c’s and h’s, there’s one thing I do know a lot about when it comes to this festival of lights — you can’t have Chanukah without latkes.
A crispy, fried, potato delight that usually gets smothered and shmeared with applesauce and sour cream, latkes are a staple of any Chanukah feast. And over the years, I’ve tasted some great latkes. Some overly-oily latkes. Cold latkes. And hot latkes. Leek latkes. Zucchini latkes. Spaghetti squash latkes. Beet latkes (from my first book!). And even some sweet latkes.
Which brings me to this point: While latkes are full of potatoes and tradition, they’re also perfect for experimentation. Or in other words, it is totally ok to break the latke rules, whether you need to avoid potassium or oil or messes. Think of it as an invitation to add more flavor and color, as well as invite other vegetables to the latke party. And, as you’ll soon see, a perfect excuse to make latke making (and your life) a whole lot easier and a whole lot less messy.
So let me introduce you to my new favorite latke recipe: Latke Waffles! No oil or potatoes needed. And very little clean up as well. The equation is simple: shredded root vegetables + an egg + all-purpose flour (or garbanzo bean flour) + waffle maker = quick, oil-free, brunch-ready latkes.
I particularly loving a mix of beets (red and gold) and either butternut squash or sweet potato. But you can use anything from parsnips to celeriac to carrots or traditional potatoes. Add in some fresh herbs like chiveor dill, and finely diced green onions and shallot. Mix and let them waffle. Even they don’t look like your Bubbies latkes, there’s just the right amount of scraggly, crispy, vegetable fringe on the side to make even the strictest of Chanukah sticklers happy. And, hey, since they are so darn easy, you could even set up a DIY LATKE WAFFLE BAR (what?!) and let everyone make their own mix vegetables.
As for toppings, don’t settle for the traditional apple sauce or sour cream. Be equally daring and venture out with something like carrot orange dressing, homemade smoked-fish spread, or Harissa-spiced apple sauce. Because why not? Bubbie would be proud. And happy that you’re eating such healthy food.
So this Chanukah, try this healthy take on the latke. Break out the waffle iron and your grater attachment on the food processor. And get waffling. Or latking.
ROOT VEGETABLE WAFFLE LATKES
makes 6 medium waffle latkes or 12 small waffle latkes
- Oil spray
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups shredded root vegetables (see note below)
- 2 to 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (or garbanzo bean flour if gluten-free)
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped chives or dill
- 2 green onions, root removed and minced
- 1 tsp salt-free garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried dill weed
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Note: Clean and peel your root vegetables, and then roughly chop. Using the grater attachment on your food processor, shred your vegetables into thin ribbons/strands. Set aside and use 1 cup for this recipe (or more if serving a larger crowd). You use extras for some easy weekday salads or add them to soups, grains, and pastas for a simple, veg-filled weeknight meal. OR best of all, freeze the leftover vegetable shreds for other fun adventures to come.
Spray the waffle iron with a little coconut or olive oil spray. Close. Set the heat to high and preheat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg. Then add in all the remaining ingredients and, using your hands, mix everything together until well combined.
When the waffle iron is ready, scoop up a palm-full of the latke batter (if making the medium-sized ones). Place in the center of the waffle iron, press, and let it cook. When the waffle iron says it’s ready, ignore it, and let it cook a little longer — about 2 to 3 more minutes — until you’ve reached the desired crispiness. This may take some experimenting as every waffle iron is different. So don’t be afraid to test the limits and then eat your first one. Remove finished latke waffles to your serving plate and then cover with foil to keep warm. Or, transfer to a 225dg oven until ready to serve. Continue until all the batter is used up.
Then serve. Or wrap in foil and refrigerate for up to a few days and reheat in a 350dg oven for a few minutes. But, let’s be real, why aren’t you eating them right now?