What Are Latkes?
These delicious vegan, gluten-free stuffed latkes are great for Hanukkah. Latkes are potato pancakes, and many families have traditional recipes handed down through generations. In addition to fried latkes, fried jelly donuts, called Sufganiot, are another favorite. But salty, crisp latkes are a favorite around the world! Fried foods are eaten on Hanukkah in commemoration of the oil that miraculously burned for eight days in Jerusalem.
The most laborious part of latkes is shredding the potatoes. We used a food processor with a grater blade, but if you’re a purist, go ahead and use a hand grater — many people feel the best latkes are hand shredded! In this vegan version, eggs are replaced with flax meal and we added a savory stuffing made with kosher-friendly Beyond Meat Beefless Crumbles. Can’t find Beyond Meat? Other companies make beef less crumbles, including Lightlife, Trader Joe’s, Boca and Gardein (they aren’t all gluten free or kosher, be sure to check for what you need!). Instead of flour, we used gluten-free, vegan matzo ball mix found at a local grocer. All purpose flour in the same ratio will also work in this recipe, too.
Depending how big you make your stuffed latkes, you will get about 18 to 24 from this recipe. They’re quite filling, so two to three per person is plenty!
- 6 tsp. ground flax meal in 6 Tbl. warm water (try Bob's Red Mill or grind your own)
- 1 large onion (about 1 cup), cut into chunks
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 pack beef less crumbles, we prefer Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles, which is kosher
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup matzo ball mix (Streit's offers a gluten-free, vegan variety)
- 5 to 6 large potatoes, skinned and shredded
- salt and pepper, to taste
- oil for frying, such as canola or grape seed
- additional chopped fresh parsley, to serve (optional)
- vegan sour cream and/or applesauce, to serve (optional)
- In a small dish, stir together ground flax meal and warm water. Set aside to congeal into a stringy "goo," this will be the binder for the latkes. You have to use ground flax meal, as whole flax seeds don't have the same reaction in the water.
- If you have a food processor, this is the perfect recipe to for it. A blender will also work, and of course you can chop by hand, too. In the bowl of a food processor with the usual blade, add one large onion in chunks, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup fresh parsley and red pepper flakes. Pulse until a liquid-y paste is made of the ingredients. If you are chopping by hand, cut everything as small as possible, then mush it together using a heavy spoon until it's a paste like consistency.
- Add olive oil to a large, heavy-bottom skillet. Combine beef less crumbles with onion paste and sauté about 5 to 7 minutes over medium-low heat, until crumbles are browned and onion paste has incorporated into the mixture completely. Set aside in a small bowl to cool.
- Combine baking powder and matzo ball mix in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
- If you have a food processor with a grater blade, now is the occasion to use it! That tool will shave lots of time off this recipe! Using your food processor with the grating blade, push all the potatoes in chunks through the processor's top chute into the grater. The result will be a big pile of potato shreds. This takes about 2 minutes this way! If you plan to grate by hand, grate each potato over a sheet to wax paper until all potatoes are in shreds. This takes a little longer, but it's a great work out!
- Add all potato shreds to the large bowl with matzo ball mix and baking soda. If desired, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add flax seed meal in water. Mix into the shreds with your hands until all the flax meal "goo" and dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
- To assemble and fry the latkes, warm enough frying oil to cover the bottom of the same heavy-bottom skillet from the onions over medium-high heat.
- Form a palm-full of potato-shred batter into a round shape and top with a spoon of onion mixture.
- Finish with another portion of potato-shred batter on top, and pat together. Place in hot oil, being mindful of spatter. Latkes will fry about 3 to 4 minutes, per side, until golden brown, crisp, and cooked all the way through.
- Once you get the hang of it, you can do two for four at a time, as your pan size allows. Replenish oil as needed until all latkes are cooked. Allow finished latkes to rest on a plate with paper towels to drain as you make the rest of the batch.
- Before serving, sprinkle with salt or fresh parsley, if desired. Serve with vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti, or Follow Your Heart -- both are kosher) and a side of applesauce.
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