Potato pancakes (aka latkes) are one of my biggest weaknesses, especially when topped with loads of applesauce and sour cream. There might even be a German beer hall in the East Village where I’ve been known to over-indulge in these sweet and savory little delicacies. So with this week being Rosh Hashanah, there was no way I was going to go without them. Now most recipes for latkes call for frying white potatoes in an excessive amount of oil, so in true Wellness Made Natural fashion, I’ve created a healthier version.
By using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, you can increase nutrient, antioxidant and fiber content while reducing the amount of sugar. I’ve also discovered that you can get the same crispy outside and soft center by cooking them in a substantially lower amount of oil in a nonstick or cast iron pan. I took it one step further and used garbanzo bean flour to create a delicious gluten-free friendly version. Plus, I made the applesauce myself. No offense Mott’s, but it’s just too easy and too fast and too healthy to not do it yourself. You can season it, sweeten it, cook it down, leave it chunky, add herbs, add wine – all in under half an hour. What says Happy New Year more than that?
Sweet Potato and Sage Latkes with Homemade Applesauce
Makes 12-16 medium-sized latkes
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
- 1 medium onion, grated
- 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons chopped sage leaves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ canola oil
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine sweet potato, onion, flour, eggs, sage, salt and pepper. Make sure the egg and flour are evenly distributed throughout the potato mixture.
Heat a thin layer of the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet (I used a Nonstick Scanpan which is free of harmful chemicals and eco-friendly) over medium to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, form the latkes: on your hand, put a scoop of potato mixture about the size of a golf ball and flatten against your fingers (gently squeezing out any excess liquid). Drop flattened latke into the hot pan. Form another one and drop it in, repeating until you fill the pan. The latkes should sizzle but not smoke. Cook the latkes on the first side until deeply browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip carefully and cook on the second side until nicely browned, 4 to 5 additional minutes. Place the cooked latkes on the parchment-lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Add more oil and continue with remaining batter. Once completed serve with applesauce.
- 8 tart apples (I used honeycrisp), peeled, cored and chopped
- 2 tablespoons light agave nectar
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger juice
- 1/4 cup water
Put the apples, agave, cinnamon stick, ginger juice and water in a pot. Cover and cook gently on low for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and mostly falling apart. Let cool, remove the cinnamon stick, and mash with a potato masher. You can also stir a pinch of cinnamon powder in if you like. Cooked shorter = chunkier applesauce. Cooked longer = smoother applesauce.
For ginger juice: grate ginger into a small heap (peel and all). Take the ginger and squeeze with your hands or through cheesecloth into a small bowl.
* Latkes are actually the traditional food of Hanukkah…no doubt I will create a new version in a few months.