Vegan Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes
Yes, these are vegan latkes, which means they are dairy-free. They are also gluten-free. But trust me: No one will know the difference. Make them for the masses and, if you’re worried about people’s reactions, don’t tell anyone except those lucky individuals to whom any of this matters. Then sit back and watch them enjoy along with everyone else.
But what about the eggs, you might ask. Fake powdered eggs taste…well, fake. As most vegans know, it’s amazing what ground flaxseed and water can do. Each tablespoon of the flaxseed left to sit a bit in three tablespoons of water takes the place of one egg in many recipes. Coconut flour and potato complete the binding and the rest of the ingredients deliver layers of flavor. As you peel the potatoes and apples, put them in a bowl of cold water with a generous pinch of baking powder to keep them from turning brown. When you’re ready to move ahead, dry them well, grate, mix, cook and try not to eat them all right out of the pan.
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 9 tablespoons warm water
- 2–2½ pounds sweet potatoes (2 large or 3 medium)
- 1 small apple
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons potato starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup coconut milk (can be low-fat)
- 1-2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- High-heat oil for frying (I like avocado and safflower)
- In a small bowl, mix together flaxseed and water. Set aside to thicken for 15 minutes.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and apple. Grate both on large holes of a hand grater or using the shredder blade of a food processor. Mix together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. To the flaxseed mixture, add the coconut milk (be sure to shake it well before pouring and measuring) and ginger. Stir to combine. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, blend very well and then add the wet mixture to the grated sweet potatoes and apple. Mix very well to blend all the ingredients, making sure there are no clumps of ingredients. Using your hands (clean, of course) is the best way to blend the mixture and the most fun, too.
- Heat about ¼ inch of oil over medium high heat until very hot and about to smoke. Scoop a large tablespoon of the potato mixture at a time into the hot oil. Quickly and lightly press down each with the back of the spatula to compress the mixture further, keeping each evenly thick and pushing in the edges to keep stray pieces from falling off. Fry about 4 minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. Drain well, hottest side down, on a few layers of paper towel. Serve with homemade applesauce or, for those not dairy-free, sour cream or yogurt.
- If you’re making latkes ahead to refrigerate or freeze for re-heating when you need them, don’t drain on paper towel, but on cooling racks that allow excess oil to drip off. A plate or paper towel underneath will catch the oil. When you’re ready to reheat, put in a single layer on a cookie sheet, allow to defrost if they are frozen, and reheat in 350 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes until heated through. The oil left on the latkes from cooking will help them crisp up to taste more like just-made than made-ahead.