Vegan Lefse

When I was growing up one of my favourite treats was lefse. (For the uninitiated, lefse is a Scandinavian dish, a very flat bread made out of mashed potatoes. You can roll up just about anything imaginable inside of it – jam, sugar, lemon juice, cheese, etc.) My Grandma Morck used to make amazing lefse and I always loved getting a little zip-lock baggie of it to take home. I think I might have helped her make it once or twice, but if pressed I wouldn’t have been able to tell you exactly how lefse was made.

One day when I was first living on my own I was talking to my grandma on the phone and I asked her how to make lefse. My grandma told me some less-than-specific directions over the phone, the way a person might when they have been making a recipe for years and years and years. I jotted down her words on a purple post-it note sitting by the phone, but ended up being too intimidated and/or lazy to try making lefse myself, especially once I figured out that one of the grocery stores near me carried bags of it from the Lefse House in Camrose.

Last Christmas my mom and dad were out visiting and we decided to make a batch of lefse. It was so much fun! We set up a whole production line – one person on rolling, two on the pans, etc. It turned out great!

As this Christmas rolled around I wasn’t sure what to do about my ever-increasing lefse craving. My grandma’s recipe had an egg and some yogurt in it, other lefse recipes I’d found online called for butter and milk as well (or instead of – there are many variations of the lefse recipe!). I searched around and came across the following vegan lefse recipe:

-2c. leftover mashed potatoes (*this is important, you need to cook them a day or so ahead of time)
-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (I used Almond)
-1 tablespoon vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-vegetable oil

-“rice” the potatoes by squashing them through a strainer (or you can buy a fancy potato ricer – your choice! :) )
-mix potatoes, soy milk, margarine, salt and 3/4 c. flour
-kneed dough on floured surface, adding enough flour to make the dough not sticky (I ended up adding quite a bit of flour here)
-divide dough in to 12 equal balls. Roll each ball on a floured surface until it turns in to a paper-thin circle.
-Lightly oil a heavy skillet (I used a cast iron pan) and set to medium heat.
-cook each piece until lightly browned, about 1 minutes on each side
-place on a plate to cool, with a paper towel separating each piece of lefse. (*this is important! If you don’t they will stick together and make an icky mess!)

I was a bit apprehensive to try this – I wasn’t sure how a vegan recipe would turn out. Also I recall that the making of lefse seemed to involve some tricky-looking techniques, the kind of thing that I’d probably feel confident doing if my grandma, mom or dad was with me, but a little less confident about as I branched out on my own.

All my worry was for nothing – I was pretty happy with my first attempt. My circles aren’t perfect and maybe it could be a tad thinner, but all-in-all I’d call it a success. I only wish I’d made a double batch!

9 thoughts on “Vegan Lefse

  1. Wow, sounds great! My mom makes it every Christmas, tho not vegan… What other Scandinavian treats do you have with the holidays?

  2. Hi Lisa! Yay! Someone else who knows and enjoys lefse! Other holiday treats when I was growing up included: pebbernodder, aebleskiver, frigadella and, of course, red cabbage. I didn’t make vegan versions of any of the rest of these this year though – maybe one day!

    How about you? What are some of your favourites?

  3. I’ve been searching for vegan lefse too. I am not a vegan purist, just very allergic to anything from a cow. I was a very sick child, because of undiagnosed allergies. So it is great to find recipe for lefse I can eat without getting sick, because I love lefse. Thank-you, Thank-you and Thank-you.

  4. Oh, wow! I’m so happy I found this! I remember eating lefse when I lived in Northern Iowa–it was available in all the grocery stores there, and people made it at home a lot. Years later and vegan now, I’ve been getting cravings for lefse–I’m going to try this right away. What kind of potatoes are best for this?

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