Grown-up Root Vegetable Latkes

When Hanukkah comes around, I make latkes — potato pancakes fried in oil. They're a major symbol for this Jewish winter holiday.

Usually when I make latkes, I reach for a boxed mix ­— not because the boxed kind are the best tasting, not because they are healthier and not even because they cost less. So, why do I love them? Because, just as the eight days of celebration are deeply rooted in tradition, so is my love for boxed potato pancake mix. The smell of frying boxed latkes transports me back to family gatherings at my grandparents' house.

Now, living in England in the beginning of winter, I am surrounded by more root vegetables than I even knew existed. Sure, I recognized the carrots and potatoes, and I knew what a turnip looks like, but then I started to see roots such as a swede (Good thing I checked that out because now I know this is another name for a rutabaga). Beets are very popular in England, too. After living here for a few weeks, I decided root veggies will be part of my diet for the duration of my time here.

I also decided to take a break from making latkes from a box and give a new homemade "grown-up" version a try, made with a variety of root vegetables and lightly fried to remind me of my own roots.

Grown-up Root Vegetable Latkes

Recipe by Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD


  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 medium parsnips
  • ½ cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more if needed


  1. Peel and shred potato and sweet potato. Place in a colander and press to remove excess liquid. Remove from colander and place in a large bowl.
  2. Peel and shred carrots and parsnips and add to bowl with potatoes. Add onion and mix until all vegetables are evenly distributed.
  3. Add eggs, making sure to coat all of the vegetables. Add breadcrumbs and continue to stir, adding salt and pepper.
  4. Heat skillet to medium heat with 2 tablespoons oil.
  5. Shape the vegetable batter into balls and gently press to flatten slightly. The patties should be about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter. Depending on preference, you will get a different number of total latkes from the recipe. 
  6. Place the pancakes into the hot oil, flipping them after 3 to 4 minutes. Continue cooking on the other side for another 3 minutes. Flip once more and cook the first side for an additional 1 minute. This will ensure the latkes come out nicely browned on both sides.
  7. Add more oil, if necessary, and continue with this process until all latkes are made. Makes 20 to 30 latkes.
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Melinda Boyd
Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD, is a registered dietitian and military spouse living in Japan. She is co-author of Train Your Brain to Get Thin, and blogs at Nutrition, Food, Travel & More. Follow her on Twitter.