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Food 52’s Healthiest: Sweet Potato Parsnip Latkes with Feta and Leeks

Every Tuesday, we scan Food52′s delectable menu of recipes for the healthiest picks they’ve got—bringing you seasonal, scrumptious fare that’s really good for you.
Photo: James Ransom for

Every Tuesday, we scan Food52′s delectable menu of recipes for the healthiest picks they’ve got—bringing you seasonal, scrumptious fare that’s really good for you.

Here’s an easy way to cut unnecessary carbs and add nutrients to your Hanukkah latkes: sweet potatoes are packed with fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C. And the feta and leeks give them a gourmet twist.


Sweet Potato Parsnip Latkes with Feta and Leeks
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 medium-sized leeks, washed and thinly sliced
1 pound sweet potatoes (usually about 1 large)
1 pound parsnips (number will vary depending upon size)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 pinch ground nutmeg
4 ounces feta, crumbled (a creamy French or Israeli style is nice)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup matzo meal
1/2-1 cup canola oil for frying (amount will vary depending upon how many skillets you want to have going)

1. Melt the butter (or heat the olive oil) in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the leeks have softened and are beginning to color (~10 minutes).

2. While the leeks are cooking, wash and peel the sweet potato and parsnips. Grate on the coarse holes of a box grater, and place in a large bowl (if you have no patience for hand-grating, you can use the shredding disk on a food processor, but place about ¼ of the mixture back in the bowl of the processor with the regular blade and pulse a few times). Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, feta, egg and matzo meal. Stir to combine. Mix in the cooked leeks.

3. Pour the canola oil to a depth of ½” in a frying pan – you can use the pan used for the leeks, and additional pans if you’d like to make quick work of it. Heat the oil over a medium flame until hot – if you drop in a shred of the latke mixture, it should bubble vigorously. Shape ~3 tablespoons of the latke mixture into a round shape (I like to pack a ¼ cup measure ¾ full), and place in the oil. Flatten slightly to form a small pancake. Repeat as many times as your pan space allows. Cook the latkes until well-browned, ~5-7 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. These latkes are more delicate than standard potato pancakes (especially when warm), so be delicate.When the second side has cooked, place on a plate lined with brown paper, stacking as needed. If you want to be extra-good, now and then strain out any rogue bits that have floated into the oil before they burn (or leave them in, for a taste closer to what grandma would have made). Serve. Or…

4. If you’re not serving at once, layer the cooled latkes in a sealed container with parchment between the layers, and freeze. To serve, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the latkes on a cookie sheet (you can place them on a rack on top of a cookie sheet for a crisper result, but usually the sheet is fine for me), and cook until they have colored a bit more and are heated through and sizzling (10-15 minutes.)

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