Cauliflower Latkes (Parve)

Cauliflower Latkes, topped with chutney and scallions
Cauliflower Latkes, topped with chutney and scallions. © Miri Rotkovitz
    55 min
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For a change from traditional Potato Pancakes, try these Cauliflower Latkes for Hanukkah, Passover, or as a side dish for winter meals. Giora Shimoni also likes to add steamed and mashed broccoli to the pancake batter. If  you use a whole head of cauliflower and broccoli, just remember to double the rest of the ingredients. 

Miri's Recipe Testing Notes and Tips: 

The original recipe called for 3 eggs; I found this made the batter too eggy and loose, so reduced the number. If you have a very large head of cauliflower, you may find another egg useful for binding the batter, but will probably need to add additional flour as well. 

Instead of topping these delicate latkes with applesauce and sour cream, take a cue from Indian cuisine and pair them with your favorite storebought or homemade chutney (Blake Hill Preserves offers some great kosher options) and sliced scallions or mint. If you're serving a dairy meal, add a dollop of cucumber raita.

Want to spice up your latkes? Try accenting the batter with a little curry powder, garam masala, za'atar, or Old Bay. 

If you're feeling intimidated by frying, don't fret. These latke making tips will have you turning out pancakes like a pro. And if you don't feel like standing over a skillet, never fear -- I've included instructions below for no-fuss oven frying. 

Updated by Miri Rotkovitz

What You'll Need

  • 1 large head fresh cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour or matzah meal, plus extra if needed
  • 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or black pepper)
  • Sunflower or canola oil, for frying

How to Make It

1. In a large stockpot, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the florets are soft enough to be mash easily with a fork.

2. Drain the cauliflower in a colander. Mash lightly with a fork, leaving some texture rather than creating a puree. Set aside the cauliflower to cool a bit.

3. Place cauliflower in a mixing bowl. Stir in the beaten eggs. Sprinkle with the flour or matzah meal, and mix well to create a pancake-like batter. (If needed, add more flour or matzah meal 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition). Season with the salt and pepper.

4. To Pan Fry: Line a plate with paper towels. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, warm a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, drop the batter by tablespoonfuls into the pan, taking care not to crowd the pan. Flatten the pancakes a bit so they are not too thick to cook well in the middle. Fry approximately 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until the latkes are browned on both sides and firm in the middle. Remove from frying pan onto the paper towel-lined plate to drain of excess oil and cool.

5. Add more oil to the pan, heat, and continue frying the remaining latkes in batches, until the rest of the batter is used. Serve hot. 

6. Or, To Oven Fry: Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, and drizzle with a little oil. Drop the batter by the tablespoon onto the prepared sheets, and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. Drizzle the pancakes with more oil. 

7. Cook in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully turn with a spatula and cook for 10 to 12 minutes more, or until the latkes are cooked through and golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately.