It’s not Chanukah without latkes! That’s true; but don’t make the same boring latkes this year. Go for something healthier, more vibrant, and flavorful. Try savory sweet potato latkes, green zucchini latkes, or gluten free potato latkes. Don’t forget to liven things up with creative toppings as well.
Sweet Potatoes add fiber, vitamin A, and beta carotene to latkes. Even though they taste sweeter, sweet potatoes actually have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes. They won’t spike your blood sugar like white potatoes.
Another way to ramp up the nutrition this Chanukah is by adding zucchini to your latkes. Zucchini latkes are less “carby” and less caloric than traditional potato ones. Leave the zucchini skins on for extra color, texture, and nutrition. You can even leave out the potatoes. How’s that for an unlatke?
Other grated vegetables that taste fabulous in a latke are carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach. Experiment with your favorite veggies. Start with a basic potato latke recipe and reduce the amount of white potatoes (substituting an equal volume of grated vegetables). The result will be latkes that are nutrient-dense and calorie reduced.
You can even make latkes without potatoes. Yes, you read that right. Form patties with lots of grated veggies and fluff them up with eggs and breadcrumbs, flour or matzah meal. Fry them up as you would any latke and you’d be amazed how good a potato-free latke could be.
Baking rather than frying is another healthy tip. The baking pan will need to be generously coated with baking spray but you’ll still end up using a lot less oil than if you were frying. There’s more than one way to get a hot and crispy latke!
Gluten free potato latke recipes omit wheat – that means no breadcrumbs, matzoh meal, or flour here.
Some recipes use alternative gluten-free flours like rice or tapioca flour or potato starch. Others omit the flour completely. The onions, salt, pepper and frying provide plenty of flavor. The eggs bind the mixture. You’ll never even miss the wheat flour.
What if gluten isn’t an issue but eggs are? If you’re egg allergic, you’ve probably discovered that many recipes can be adapted to be eggless. The consistency is slightly different but the taste isn’t usually affected. Think you can’t make latkes without eggs? Think again. Just like flour, eggs are not the main ingredients in latkes. They can easily be omitted for those who are egg-allergic. Add a little bit of baking powder to fluff up the latkes if desired.
Only eight nights and so many latke and topping combinations to try! From the old standbys to unconventional, spicy condiments, there are lots of ways to make those latkes sing. Nothing wrong with traditional creamy sour cream except for the fat – so why not try light or fat-free sour cream. If you’re lactose intolerant, try a soy-based variety. Pareve sour cream works well for a fleishig meal as well. Garnish the sour cream with dill, scallions, or chives and now you’ve got a feast for the eyes as well.
Applesauce is another great traditional latke topping that can be dressed up. Jarred, store-bought varieties are fine but nothing beats homemade goodness. Simmer the apples with berries, citrus, and cinnamon to ramp up the wow factor. Omit the sugar for a healthier topping (that’s fat free as well).
Be adventurous: leave the applesauce and sour cream in the fridge and instead, top the sizzling pancakes with sautéed mushrooms, grilled vegetables, or golden caramelized onions. Guacamole or Salsa can add a little Mexican zing to your Chanukah table.
Before you get out the food processor and do your regular latke routine, get inspired.
Make a variety of latke offerings to please all of your guests. Serve them up with lots of creative toppings and you’ll turn your latke meal into a true celebration.
A lichtigen Chanukah!
Sweet Potato Latkes
2 large sweet potatoes (shredded)
1 white potato (shredded)
1 onion (shredded)
1 egg (can add additional egg if desired)
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt and black pepper to taste
Dash of parsley flakes
Dash of curry powder
Oil for frying
Combine egg, breadcrumbs and seasonings and set aside.
Mix in shredded onion and potatoes until mixture is thoroughly incorporated.
Form into patties (squeezing out excess liquid) and fry or bake.
Heat oil in a pan. Place patties in pan and fry for about 6 minutes on each side until
golden and crispy.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place patties on well-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy.
4 zucchini (scrubbed and shredded)
1 onion (shredded)
1 small sweet potato (shredded)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Combine egg, seasonings, onion, zucchini and sweet potato. Form into patties then fry or bake.
About the Author: Tamar Warga is a mother of 4 food allergic children and the author of two books: A Taste of Sweetness- Rosh Hashana Cookbook and A Taste of Freedom- Passover Cookbook. She blogs at Kosherfoodallergies.blogspot.com
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