Celebrate fall with these vegan sweet potato latkes from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen. They’re a little sweet, a little savory, very decadent and served with a kicky brandy-spiked apple sauce.
Ah, comfort food. This is the kind of comfort food that’s perfect for fall. When I accepted a review copy of Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads, the publisher suggested I try one of the fall inspired recipes (read, comfort food). A-okay with me.
While the book is full of recipes that are perfect for fall (check out the acorn squash ravioli, and definitely check out the lasagna with puttanesca sauce), I opted to go with the sweet potato latkes, because, truth be told, I attempted something like this back in my early days of blogging, and failed miserably. The trick is lots and lots of egg substitute, in this case a blend of commercial egg substitute and chia seeds, which I successfully swapped with flax. The other trick is not to be afraid of frying. The result was a beautiful stack of crispy delicious latkes that held together perfectly.
Obviously somebody knew what they were doing.
As far as the other recipes in the book, they’re as pleasing to the ears and eyes as they presumably are to the palate…meaning the recipe titles and photos alone are enough to make you hungry. Tortellini with Sun-Dried Tomato Ricotta and Sweet Peas, Cauliflower Bisque with Fried Capers, and Fig Caponata with Polenata Fries are a few that got my attentioon. Lots of bold flavor combinations, and as the book promises, these are recipes that would appeal to anyone, omnivore or herbivore. You won’t find any meat substitutes, but instead will find sections devoted to pasta, flatbreads and small plates like the one you see here. I’m hanging on to this one for the next time I host a dinner party for non vegan friends. They’ll be impressed.
- 1 tablespoon Ener-G powdered egg replacer
- 1 cup filtered water
- ½ cup ground chia seeds
- 1 onion
- 2 sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled
- 1 russet (baking) potato (about ½ pound), peeled
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons rice flour
- 10 fresh chives, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
- Expeller pressed canola oil, for frying
- 3 Gala or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, or to taste
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brandy or unfiltered apple juice
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Put a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Whisk the egg replacer, water and ground chia seeds in a bowl until they have the consistency of beaten eggs. Set aside.
- Using the large shredding blade of a food processor, shred the onion into long, thin ribbons. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Shred the sweet potatoes and russet potato in the food processor and add them to the bowl. Toss the potatoes with the onions as you go to keep them from discoloring. (If you do not have a food processor with a large shredding blade, use the large holes of a box grater, grating down the length of the onion and potatoes to get long strands.)
- Wrap the shredded potatoes and onion in a large square of cheesecloth or a dish towel and twist it tightly to wring out the excess liquid. Put the potatoes and onion in a clean bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Fold in the egg replacement mixture, along with the flour and chives, to bind the mixture together, making sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Put a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, add ¼ inch of oil and heat until hot. Working in batches, spoon about ¼ cup of the potato mixture into the hot oil for each latke, pressing lightly with a spatula to for 4-inch pancakes that are about ¼ inch thick. Take care not to overcrowd the pan.
- Fry, turning once, until crispy and golden, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the fried latkes to the rack on the pan in the oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining batter, adding more oil as needed.
- Put the apples in a Dutch oven or other large pot and set over medium heat and add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally to mash up the apples, until the apples release their juices and completely break down, 20 to 25 minutes. If the apples seem dry, add a few tablespoons of filtered water and continue to cook until tender. Taste the applesauce for sweetness: it should be tart-sweet, but if you want it sweeter, add more sugar.
- Stir in the brandy (or apple juice) and simmer for a few more minutes to cook off the alcohol. Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon sticks.
- Mash the apples with a potato masher or puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Alissa's notes: I substituted ground flax seeds for chia, because I had them on hand, and it worked just fine.
I reheated the leftovers in a 450°F oven, cooking a few minutes on each side, and they recrisped up very nicely.