Had a difficult time deciding what to call these delicious potato-y nuggets precisely... where to begin here?
Hash browns -- a million different traditional ways to make them... quintessential components: shredded potatoes, sometimes with shredded onions, eggs, fried into crispy savory breakfast perfection.
Latkes -- a traditional potato pancake (often served around Hanukkah, but is also eaten all year round)... quintessential ingredients: shredded potatoes, shredded onions, eggs, fried into crispy savory deliciousness.
Are you seeing what I'm seeing here? :) This eggless recipe is perfectly usable for both needs, whether you're in the mood for some gluten-free vegan hash browns or some vegan latkes, or just potato pancakes sans any fancy names -- I've got you covered ;)
Whatever you choose to call these delicious golden potato nuggets, they make a wonderful savory breakfast, a side, snack, or meal of their own.
The ingredients are very simple, relying largely on the potatoes and onions for a flavorful comfort food experience. You can of course play these up with other spices (garlic powder is wonderful, as well as smoked paprika, or chipotle powder, for instance). Or you can stick with the original.
What to Serve With Vegan Hash Browns or Latkes:
Personally, I like to stick with the original basic recipe, but play up the flavors with the dips.
One of my favorites is a garlicky vegan cheese sauce, a recipe for which I'll have to share another time perhaps.
And of course these go great with all the traditional classics: dairy-free sour cream, ketchup, or homemade applesauce.
Now, to fry or not to fry... that is the question. You'll notice within the recipe itself that there are instructions for both, depending on your preference. Up until now, all the photos with the exception of the one right above this paragraph are pictures of the fried hash browns recipe version. The photo above is of the baked and oil-free kind.
Fried Vegan Hash Browns Option:
These are definitely a favorite around here. They're fried to a crispy perfection on the outside, yet tender, juicy and flavorful on the inside. You can also make them pretty quickly using that method.
Baked Vegan Hash Browns (Oil-Free Alternative):
Baked.. I'll start off by saying that the baked version of this recipe doesn't precisely resemble a hash brown or a latke as we know it. They are less tender and a little drier, and the flavor is a little bit different due to the absence of the frying oil. However, there are several advantages to the baked version which I like very much and think it makes it a worthwhile alternative:
1. They can be made completely oil-free and fat-free, as per the recipe further down. So they're great for people looking for a lower fat or plant-based whole foods alternative. If you're not entirely oil-free, but just looking to avoid frying in oil or lessen the fat content, you can lightly oil the parchment paper in the baked version, as well as very lightly brush or spray with oil the top of the pancakes before baking as another alternative.
2. The oil-free baked hash brown-like nuggets are almost bready and are extremely portable. They make a great clean finger food and can be easily packed for a snack or meal on the go with your favorite dip in tow. The fried kind is a bit more tender, and although it also packs up nicely as a meal to go, you'll probably need a fork to handle those fried fellas...
Below is once again a photo of the baked version of this recipe
Vegan Latkes vs Hash Browns:
Lastly, when it comes to whether to use the recipe as a hash brown base or as a latke base, see the additional instructions in the recipe notes below. Essentially it comes down to pressing them flatter and thinner for hash browns, so they become more crispy. Or keep them a little bit fuller (though still thin) for a more latke-like experience.
Additionally, I feel that latkes tend to have a slightly more eggy taste in my experience. And since this is an eggless latke recipe, if you feel like you might miss that subtle eggy flavor you can add in 1-2 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes to the mixture. However I make these without it as well and they still pass for a delicious latke-like alternative. So long as you've got that apple sauce and sour cream handy, you'll be good to go :)
Vegan hash browns recipe (which also conveniently doubles as a vegan latkes recipe). Gluten-free, and can be made oil-free by baking instead of frying.
- 565 gr yellow potatoes
- ½ cup white rice flour*
- 1 small onion
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- oil for frying (if using)
1. Shred potatoes evenly using a food processor with a shredder attachment (or alternatively grate into even shreds using a hand grater). Transfer the potatoes onto a clean kitchen towel and spread them out in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with ½ a teaspoon of salt.
2. Next, gather the edges of the towel closed and twist the towel to enclose the potatoes in it in a bundle. Place the towel bundle into a strainer, and set it over a large mixing bowl. Set aside for about 15 minutes. At the end of the 15 minutes you should see some liquid at the bottom of the bowl.
3. Pick up the potato bundle towel (making sure it's still twisted closed) and remove the strainer. Squeeze the potatoes in the towel as best as you can (put some elbow grease into it!) -- keep squeezing until no more liquid comes out (this will take a few minutes). You'll be left with a bowl of liquid that looks like this:
Carefully pour this liquid out into the sink, however you'll notice that there's a layer of firmer white starch hiding underneath all that liquid and "glued" more solidly to the bottom of the bowl -- do not discard that! You'll need it in the recipe. It should look like this after the liquid is poured out:
4. Place the shredded potatoes into the mixing bowl with the starch in it. Shred the onion using the food processor or a hand grater into the same shape as the potatoes, and add them to the bowl. Add all remaining ingredients (except the oil for frying..) to the bowl and mix everything thoroughly with your hands (especially making sure to scrape off the starch from the bottom of the bowl and making sure it's mixed through the mixture).
5. If frying (see next step for baked / oil-free option): Heat up some oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Pick up about 2 tablespoon of the mixture (you can use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop for even measuring, or just eyeball), place on your hand and shape it into a rough ball / lump and then flatten lightly with the other hand. Note: don't over-shape it with your hands -- you just want to press the mixture together lightly, enough so it sticks until it reaches the frying pan.
Carefully place this on the edge of a spatula, and then place in the pan to fry (placing on spatula is important so you don't burn yourself -- oil droplets will jump out when pancakes go in and you don't want to have your hand so close in there). Fry on each side for a few minutes until they turn golden.** Remove and set onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the remainder of the mixture. Serve warm and enjoy!
6. If baking (instead of frying): Pre-heat oven to 420F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Shape the mixture into small flattened lumps with your hand (see previous step for details) and place onto the parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, then flop the hash browns over and bake for 10 minutes more. Cool the tray off on a wire rack for a few minutes and enjoy!
*Can alternatively use an all purpose gf baking mix, regular all purpose flour, or brown rice flour.
**Note: if you want them to be more crispy and hash brown-like, press them down into a thinner consistency with a spatula once they are in the frying pan. If you want them more latke-like, keep them a little thicker. Either way, I recommend not going over the 2 tablespoon ratio as it makes flipping them and shaping them a lot more manageable.