“Traditional latkes take a sweeter turn in this version made with sweet potatoes, leeks, sage and allspice.”
While latkes are a traditional potato dish eaten during Hanukkah, they are a delightful treat that can be enjoyed year-round. Latkes are a breeze to make, and this sweet potato version is loaded with flavor and nutrition.
Choosing to simplify the process as much as possible, I chose sweet potatoes over baking potatoes. By using sweet potatoes, you don’t have to worry about the browning (or oxidation) that happens when baking potatoes are exposed to air. I also found that I didn’t necessarily need to squeeze out any moisture from sweet potatoes, which is a step that can’t be overlooked when using baking potatoes. By removing these factors, I was able to make a recipe that involved less stress and time, but didn’t sacrifice flavor.
Making sweet potato latkes is a fantastic way to add nutrition to any meal. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, a powerful vitamin that promotes eye health. Vitamin A also acts as an antioxidant that fights free radicals, which damage your body’s healthy cells. Cooking latkes in a non-stick or cast-iron pan also eliminates the need for extra oil. This helps cut down on unnecessary calories from fat and also keeps these latkes tasting light.
Sweet potatoes are also a great alternative to baking potatoes in latkes because they have a wonderfully sugary flavor profile. This makes for a perfect pairing for a myriad of ingredients. Fresh apple or parsnips would be delightful mixed into this batch of latkes. To keep it simple, I decided to used leeks and fresh sage. The leeks add a light, grassy onion flavor and the sage provides a hint of earthiness. The touch of allspice adds just the right amount of warmth.
Food Safety Tip: This latke recipe uses eggs which can harbor harmful bacteria known as Salmonella. To keep your kitchen safe, be sure to wash your hands and kitchen counters after touching any raw egg. Cook the latkes to 160°F to ensure the food is safe to eat.
Sweet Potato Latkes with Leeks and Sage
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean, peeled
- 1 leek, washed
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, washed, thinly sliced then chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour + 1-2 tablespoons, if needed
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200°F.
- Shred the sweet potato using a box grater or food processor then place in a large mixing bowl.
- Remove and discard the top part and root end of the leek, leaving only the white and light green part of the stalk. Thinly slice the leek and place in a bowl of cold water. Swish the leeks around and allow them to sit in the water for a few minutes. Carefully remove the leeks from the water and add them to the mixing bowl (this step helps remove dirt and sand that can get trapped in the leaves of the leek).
- Add the sage, allspice, salt and black pepper to the mixing bowl and stir until well-combined. Add the flour and stir again to combine. Mix in the egg and stir. If mixture appears excessively wet, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons flour.
- Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet, griddle pan or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Working in batches, start by adding 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan. Once hot, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture for each latke onto the pan, for a total of 5 latkes. Gently smash with the back of the spatula to flatten. Cook for four to five minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove the latkes from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack set on a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm while making remaining latkes. Continue this process until all of the latkes have been made.
- Serve warm along with low-fat Greek yogurt and applesauce.