Spaghetti Squash Fritters

No excuses are needed to justify making these delicious, Southwest-flavored fried squash pancakes.

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Straight from the Forq Kitchen!
by Jacob Dean


Spaghetti Squash Fritters

Christmas is one of my family’s favorite times of year, with the exception of my father. My mom’s side, who are Christian, was responsible for making Christmas the big-deal, blockbuster holiday of the year. My dad’s side, who are Jewish, brought…well, Hanukkah, and none of them were excited about it.

Now, I’m certainly not throwing shade toward Hanukkah, as Jews around the world have got enough to deal with besides a persnickety food writer with a taste for boozy eggnog. In our household though, Christmas definitely got the star treatment, particularly once I moved from NYC to New Hampshire as a kid. If you’re looking for the culture of The Tribe, the homogenous white-bread communities of New England aren’t generally going to deliver.

In the WASP-y wilds (suburbs) of the American Northeast, Christmas gets star treatment. It’s all candy canes and Frasier firs and school vacations, while Hanukkah is a glancing acknowledgment from the lackluster public school system and business as usual. In the food department, Christmas is fine. Not great, just fine. Pretty much everyone loves holiday-themed cookies, and the aforementioned rum-and-brandy laced eggnog is hard to beat, but otherwise there’s not a whole lot happening. For many there will be an unenthusiastic roast and probably some Thanksgiving-y side dishes, but if we’re being honest the food itself isn’t usually what people are excited about.

These are far from your traditional latke, and are really best described as fritters, but they’re a tasty, healthier approximation that manages to capture one of the best aspects of a latke: a crispy exterior with a fork-tender interior.

Hanukkah on the other hand has an ace up its sleeve. I am referring of course to latkes, the crispy-yet-tender potato pancakes that practically define Jewish comfort food. Fried in oil (which is supposed to be symbolic of the oil from the miraculously long-burning temple lamp) these tasty discs are tremendously wonderful, and blow Christmas food out of the water.

Latkes can be made with a variety of ingredients. While some recipes use just potatoes, it’s not unusual to see beets included, or even turnips. In Forq’s recipe, spaghetti squash is used as a healthy substitute for potatoes, and the flavor profile is cranked up to be decidedly Southwestern. Onion, red jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic and chili powder add zest that makes this a dish suitable for any time of year. These are far from your traditional latke, and are really best described as fritters, but they’re a tasty, healthier approximation that manages to capture one of the best aspects of a latke: a crispy exterior with a fork-tender interior.

A dipping sauce of chipotle cream is also a nice addition to this recipe. Sour cream would work equally well (if not better) than the Greek yogurt used here, but the yogurt is by far a healthier choice and it also provides a nice flavor contrast to the chipotle peppers. The heat from the peppers may seem a little tame at first, but watch out if you decide to bump up the pepper quotient because it’ll sneak up on you. It’s not quite the sour cream and apple sauce that you normally get with latkes, but you still get a nice dairy tang to round out the savory edges.

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Hanukkah on the other hand has an ace up its sleeve. I am referring of course to latkes, the crispy-yet-tender potato pancakes that practically define Jewish comfort food. Fried in oil (which is supposed to be symbolic of the oil from the miraculously long-burning temple lamp) these tasty discs are tremendously wonderful, and blow Christmas food out of the water.

Latkes can be made with a variety of ingredients. While some recipes use just potatoes, it’s not unusual to see beets included, or even turnips. In Forq’s recipe, spaghetti squash is used as a healthy substitute for potatoes, and the flavor profile is cranked up to be decidedly Southwestern. Onion, red jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic and chili powder add zest that makes this a dish suitable for any time of year. These are far from your traditional latke, and are really best described as fritters, but they’re a tasty, healthier approximation that manages to capture one of the best aspects of a latke: a crispy exterior with a fork-tender interior.

A dipping sauce of chipotle cream is also a nice addition to this recipe. Sour cream would work equally well (if not better) than the Greek yogurt used here, but the yogurt is by far a healthier choice and it also provides a nice flavor contrast to the chipotle peppers. The heat from the peppers may seem a little tame at first, but watch out if you decide to bump up the pepper quotient because it’ll sneak up on you. It’s not quite the sour cream and apple sauce that you normally get with latkes, but you still get a nice dairy tang to round out the savory edges.

Directions

Here’s how to make this delicious recipe

To start, combine the squash, onion, red jalapeno, cilantro, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Once the ingredients are nice and evenly distributed (feel free to mix using your hands) add in the egg and mix until it’s all evenly combined. Add a quarter cup of flour and mix again to form a kind of lumpy batter. You’re going to want your batter to be moist but not wet. Once the batter is formed, let the bowl rest undisturbed for 10 minutes.

SS_Fritters_4

Mix together the fritter ingredients to form a lumpy batter

While the batter is resting, make the chipotle cream by combining Greek yogurt and canned chipotle peppers in a small blender and pulse until smooth. If you don’t happen to have a small blender (a purchase I highly recommend), just finely chop the peppers by hand (it’ll be a little messy but they’re not hot enough for you to need to wear gloves) and then fold them into the yogurt in a medium-sized bowl. Once your yogurt and chipotle peppers are combined (either in the blender or by hand), transfer to a small serving dish and stir in 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped cilantro and refrigerate.

For the final step, heat a large nonstick pan or skillet over medium heat and add 1/2 cup of peanut oil. Once the oil is simmering gently add the batter to the pan using a 1/4 measuring cop. Press down with a spatula until a patty has formed that is approximately 1/3 of an inch thick (you don’t want them super thick but you also don’t want them paper thin) and then cook until browned on one side, around 4 to 5 minutes.

SS_Fritters_5

Press down the batter with a spatula until a patty has formed that is approximately 1/3 of an inch thick

Do not flip the fritters until they are browned or else they will fall apart. To check their brownness level, simply lift up the patty with a spatula or a fork and take a look at the underside. When the first side is browned, gently flip and then brown the other side, another 4 to 5 minutes, adding more oil to the pan if needed.

Remove the patties from the pan as they finish cooking and place on a paper-towel lined plate. The exterior of the patties should be crisp and brown while the interior will remain soft. Serve immediately with the chilled chipotle cream.

Ingredients

Spaghetti Squash Fritters

  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash squeezed of any liquid
  • 1 small onion
 diced
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced seeded red jalapeno
  • 4 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tspfreshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil

Chipotle Cream

  • 1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt (Fage preferred)
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro

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Who’s Cooking Today

Jacob Dean

Jacob Dean is a freelance food and travel writer, recipe tester, and culinary product reviewer based in Washington, D.C. He is a regular contributor to The Cook’s Cook Magazine, DCist, Industree, has freelanced as a recipe tester for the New York Times, and has been published by the Washington Post. Jacob has tried over twelve hundred unique beers (he keeps count).
You can find him online at jacobdeanwrites.com, on Twitter as @SchadenJake, and on Facebook as Jacob Dean Writes.

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