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20 Healthier Takes on Traditional Potato Pancakes

20 Healthier Takes on Traditional Potato Pancakes
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This year, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlap for the first time since President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Just as the hybrid holiday dubbed Thanksgivukkah is atypical, the following latke recipes are nowhere near the traditional russet potato patty tossed in a vat of oil. Instead, we’ve found fun variations from sweet potato with sweet apple chutney, to super spicy ones, and others made completely of root veggies. With eight nights to celebrate, and no real rules for creating the perfect latke, you’ve got all the time in the world to whip up the potato (or other veggie) pancakes of your family’s dreams.

The Latkes

Spicy Spaghetii Squash LatkesPhoto: Gina / Running to the Kitchen

1. Spicy Spaghetti Squash Latkes
While spaghetti squash is usually used as a stand in for spaghetti, it also makes a perfect and easy latke base. When cooked, the flesh of the squash separates into strands that resemble its namesake. Almond flour instead of the all-purpose stuff makes this version gluten-free.

2. Smoked Salmon Latkes
Slices of smoked salmon take these latkes up a notch (not to mention, adds a hearty dose of omega-3s). The adult potato pancake is topped with a caper, lemon, and chive sour cream.

3. Carnival Squash Latkes with Apple Butter
Carnival squash (which just sounds like a party) is the perfect way to celebrate the festival of lights. Curry powder and chives add flavor, while the “butter” made from apple cider, brown sugar, and spices sweetens things up.

4. Ruby Red Beet Latkes with Cumin
These seriously red latkes get their color from antioxidant-rich beets. Like other entries on this list, these latkes get a flavor kick from warm and nutty cumin.

Butternut Leek LatkesPhoto: Sydney / Crepes of Wrath

5. Butternut Squash and Leek Latke Benedict
Easily one of the most interesting, involved latke creations on this list, these butternut squash beauties make the perfect addition to a Hanukah brunch. Cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and ground cinnamon flavor the latke and homemade hollandaise sauce.

6. Sweet Potato Latkes with Brie and Baby Arugula
This sweet potato latke is all about the toppings: Arugula adds a slightly spicy bite, but the little hunk of Brie on top tones things down.

7. Bombay Aloo Latkes
These “starchy spud cakes” are flavored using rich Indian spices — including ginger, garlic, Garam Masala, cumin, and turmeric. Finely minced jalapeno adds a little kick.

8. Sweet Potato Latkes with Brown Sugar Syrup and Candied Pecans
Why use russets when you’ve got sweet potatoes? This latke is sweet and spicy thanks to cinnamon and curry powder in the latke, and a homemade brown sugar and vanilla syrup to drizzle on top. If you’re feeling extra fancy, go ahead and whip up the cayenne-candied pecans to toss on top.

Butternut Sqash LatkesPhoto: Samantha / The Little Ferraro Kitchen

9. Butternut Squash Latkes with Beet and Apple Salsa
Warm and earthy, this latke combines three fall favorites: apples, beets, and butternut squash. The latke itself uses just squash, spices, egg, and matzo meal to hold it all together (though any bread crumb will do!). The fresh salsa is made up of apple, beets, parsley, lemon zest, and honey.

10. Malaysian Nutty Latkes
Use cashews or peanuts (your preference) to add crunch to these already crispy potato “snowflakes.” For some Malaysian flair, this recipe calls on mint, ginger, curry powder, and jalapeno pepper to season the latkes.

11. Tri-Colored Latkes
White from Yukon potatoes, orange from sweet potatoes, and ruby red from beets, this latke adaptation ratchets up the heat with chipotle chili pepper and a horseradish sour cream.

Brussels Sprout LatkesPhoto: Molly / My Name Is Yeh

12. Brussels Sprouts Latkes with Balsamic-Dijon Sour Cream
No need to fear Brussels sprouts with these crispy jazzed-up, sour cream-garnished latkes. The topping is both sweet and tart with plain old sour cream (feel free to sub plain Greek yogurt) dijon mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. For easy assembly, look for pre-shredded sprouts at the grocery store.

13. Delicata Squash Latkes
With Hanukah falling in November this year, we’d be silly not to include an abundance of squash-based latkes, right? This orange-hued delicata squash patty is sweet and simple with only six ingredients.

14. Poached Egg and Celery Root Latke
For the second poached egg-topped recipe on our list, we present you the celery root latke (made of the underground portion of wild celery). Green pepper and onion make these latkes even more breakfasty.

15. Beet and Carrot Latkes
Superfood beets and vitamin A-packed carrots create the bright color for this root veggie latke. These would taste great with the addition of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Apple LatkesPhoto: Deb / Smitten Kitchen

16. Sweet Granny Smith Latkes
These dessert latkes are a solution to the eternal sour cream versus applesauce debate. With no potatoes used in this recipe at all, the latke is more like an apple pancake. Top with plain yogurt or sour cream for the best of both worlds.

17. Spinach Ricotta Latkes
These cheesy morsels have all the gooey, savory taste of spinach dip, but without all the guilt. Chopped, steamed spinach adds fiber and iron to a normally nutritionally sparse appetizer. Ricotta makes these latkes creamy without the need for a dollop of Daisy.

18. Brie-Stuffed Latkes
A latke is like a little pillow of delicious potatoey goodness on its own, but stuffing it with cheese takes the Hanukah staple to a whole new level. Think of it as a ninth day of presents in each and every latke. To make these a tad healthier, try baking rather than pan-frying.

19. Sunchoke Latkes
Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes, are the star player in this lightened-up latke. With a combination of one egg and an egg white plus fat-free sour cream and minimal oil, there are fewer calories in these latkes than traditional versions.

20. Gluten-Free Brown Rice Latkes
While a number of recipes on this list use flour to hold all of the latke ingredients together, this one is friendly for gluten-free crowds since it uses brown rice flour. For extra assurance, make sure to use separate oil for frying non gluten-free latkes so there’s no risk of cross contamination.

What’s your favorite way to dress up a latke? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet the author @nicmcdermott

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