Spiced Beet Latkes with Avocado Crema

Yesterday I promised you three days of latkes. That is, gourmet, outside-the-box tantalizingly delicious latkes that would be welcome additions to any celebration menus. I said that, right?

So today I might be a little late, but I didn’t forget my promise. And here’s another promise: beautiful beet latkes spiced with earthy cumin and topped with a refreshingly tangy avocado crema are better late than never. These jewel-toned fritters (that’s pretty much what a latke is, I suppose) are impressive in both appearance and taste – at least, that’s the gist I got from my family. I suspect yours will feel the same.

On a side note, a couple people have asked if me butternut or beet latkes are healthier than regular potato latkes. Considering that these vegetables have less calories and carbohydrates and are packed with more vitamins and antioxidants than potatoes, I suppose they are. But let’s not forget, they’re still just as much deep fried as their starchy white counterparts. Which leads to the next question – why do I skip the nutritional breakdown every time I mention latkes? Duh. There are no calories in holiday food, that’s why. All kidding aside, the real reason I omitted it is because I don’t really know how to figure out the oil contribution from frying. Well, that’s not exactly true – I suppose one could estimate by measuring the oil in the pan before and after all of the latkes are cooked. It sounds like something an engineer like me would do, doesn’t it? But frankly I’m a little busy enjoying the holiday. Hope you are too.

Spiced Beet Latkes with Avocado Crema
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2004

1 3/4 lb beets (about 6 medium, or 2 bunches; weight represents the yield after trimming away the greens and long roots)
2 small onions
6 tablespoons (45gm) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
canola oil, for frying

Peel the beets and cut them into chunks. Using the shredding attachment on a food processor, grate the beets. You should yield about 6 cups. Line a colander with paper towels and transfer the grated beets to the colander.

Peel and chop the onion into large chunks, and grate them in the food processor. Add on top of the beets. Cover with a layer of paper towels and gently press to absorb the excess liquid.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add the beets and toss to coat. Pour in the beaten eggs, and mix thoroughly.

Pour about 1/4″ of oil into a wide, deep skillet or dutch oven. Bring to high heat. When the oil is hot, drop scant 1/4 cup-fulls of the beet mixture into the oil. Let cook for about 10-20 seconds, then gently flatten slightly. Continue cooking until lightly browned and crisped, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side. Remove to paper towel lined cooling racks to drain. Serve immediately with the avocado crema, or keep warm in oven until ready to serve. Alternatively, latkes may be frozen in a single layer, then transferred to freezer bags. Reheat in a 400F oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Avocado Crema

1 avocado
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

I am sharing my Spiced Beet Latkes with Avocado Crema over at the 12/28 Slightly Indulgent Tuesday Feature at Amy’s Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

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9 Responses to “Spiced Beet Latkes with Avocado Crema”

  1. 1

    pamanner — December 22, 2010 @ 5:22 am Reply

    Love beets and they look wonderful! Ravenous after midnight. . .

  2. 2

    Notes from the Fatty File — December 22, 2010 @ 5:20 pm Reply

    YUUUM!!! These remind me of the beet cutlets my Indian MIL makes. She pan fries them and they are amazing. The avocado crema I bet would be an amazing addition.

  3. 3

    Joanne — December 22, 2010 @ 5:47 pm Reply

    Eh, I say if you're really worried about the calories, then bake em. They won't be exactly the same but I'm sure they'll still be delicious! Mmm these sound wonderful, especially with the avocado crema!

  4. 4

    Shannon — December 23, 2010 @ 12:15 am Reply

    ooh, yum. another winner. i will be having a latke tasting soon 🙂

  5. 5

    Diana's Cocina — December 23, 2010 @ 1:22 am Reply

    These latke look divine and I'm speechless over the avocado crema!

  6. 6

    brannyboilsover.com — December 23, 2010 @ 3:07 am Reply

    What a delicious looking combination. I think I'll try these but make sure I wear gloves so I don't stain my hands. 🙂

  7. 7

    Kelly — December 23, 2010 @ 5:25 am Reply

    I saw those in the background of your last picture and was wondering if beet latkes were to come. They sound fabulous, I would have just never thought they were possible. I would have assumed they were too juicy, but I imagine they are the perfect pairing with avocado.I hear you on estimating calories from oil. Soo challenging. I find the same thing is true of marinades. I will say though that I've had a lot of success with pan frying latkes. Not quite the same effect, but still pretty tasty.

  8. 8

    Naomi Devlin — December 24, 2010 @ 4:00 pm Reply

    I love the sound of that flavour combination and the colours look fantastic too. A winner!x x x

  9. 9

    pamanner — April 5, 2011 @ 1:11 am Reply

    Love beets and they look wonderful! Ravenous after midnight. . .

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