It’s the holidays, a time to indulge in family time and all your favorite foods. And Hanukkah foods, like potato latkes and jelly donuts, are certainly worth giving into. Throughout these eight days, though, you’re likely to get your fill of all your favorite treats. Fortunately, if you start to feel a little overwhelmed by the heavy spread, it’s easy to lighten up a bit when needed.
You can swap fried latkes for a baked vegan version. You can also serve a creamy feta appetizer that is high in protein and calcium. Lastly, for a sweet finale, switch up donuts for challah butternut squash French toast. These recipes are guaranteed to light up your taste buds as you enjoy the festival of lights.
Feta with Olive Oil, Olives, and Oregano
If you need a quick and protein-rich appetizer to serve at your Hanukkah party, Miri Rotkovitz, R.D.N, and author of Bubbe and Me in the Kitchen, recommends this feta dish. It also has special significance for the holiday.
“Olive oil factors big in the Hanukkah story, so it’s always struck me as funny that traditional holiday foods like sufganiyot (Israeli jelly doughnuts) and latkes are almost always fried in vegetable oil,” she says. “Great extra virgin olive oil deserves to be front and center on the Hanukkah table. I love the way it tempers the salty tang of feta, too. This ultra-simple recipe is one of my entertaining go-tos.”
- 8-ounces good quality sheep’s or cow’s milk feta cheese
- Dried oregano
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kalamata olives or a mix of your favorite black and green olives, drained
- Slice the feta into ½-inch thick slabs. Arrange on a serving platter or individual plates.
- Sprinkle each piece with a generous pinch of oregano, then drizzle with the olive oil.
- Spoon four to five olives alongside each piece of feta; serve immediately.
Spiralized Vegan Latkes With Red Cabbage and Apple
Source: The Idaho Potato Commission
Yes, it almost sounds too good to be true, but latkes can be healthy. You just need to swap out some of the potatoes for other vegetables. This recipe also includes a bit of apple infused into the latke for sweetness.
“Some Hanukkah food can be high in calories—think latkes fried in oil. But, that doesn’t mean [that] you can’t lighten up the holiday. Baked latkes are a great example, served alongside dishes loaded with fruits and vegetables,” says Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in New York City.
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed mixed with ½ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups spiralized peeled potatoes (about one large baking potato)
- 2 cups spiralized red cabbage (about ½ of a small cabbage)
- 1 cup spiralized onion (about ½ small onion)
- 1 cup spiralized apple (about 1 large apple)
- ¼ cup olive oil, for baking
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two baking sheets by greasing heavily with olive oil (you will use ⅛ cup per baking sheet).
- Mix the salt and pepper into the flax mixture; it will be very thick after it absorbs the water (this is an egg substitute).
- Use the small noodle blade on your spiralizer to prepare the vegetables. Mix the potato, cabbage, onion, and apple in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
- Add in the seasoned flax mixture and mix with a spoon until the flax coats everything.
- Place the greased sheet pans in the oven for six minutes to heat up the oil.
- Carefully remove the pans from the oven—remember that they are very hot.
- Scoop ¼ cup of the latke mixture onto the hot baking pan (it may sizzle) and press down or shape using a wooden spoon. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
- Very carefully (with a pot holder), put the baking sheets back in the oven.
- Cook on one side for 15 minutes, then carefully take the baking sheets out and flip the latkes using a spatula.
- Bake again for 8-12 minutes and serve warm.
Baked Butternut Squash Challah French Toast
Gorin likes to serve this challah French toast instead of donuts at Hanukkah. You can serve it for dessert at a party, and reheat some for breakfast the following day.
“Challah is a big part of almost any Jewish holiday, so why not add it to French toast?” she says. “This baked French toast may seem decadent, but it packs in veggies (butternut squash) for filling fiber, vitamins, and minerals, [and] to cut out the butter. And, it’s sweetened with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to reduce the amount of sugar.”
- Olive oil spray
- 1 loaf Challah bread
- 5 large eggs
- 4 large egg whites
- 3-½ cups pureed butternut squash, you can use canned or make your own
- 1 cup 2 percent milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup pecans, divided
- ⅔ cup raisins
- ⅛ cup granulated sugar
- Spray a 9-by-13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish with olive oil spray. Slice bread into one-inch pieces; place in baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs and egg whites. Mix in pureed squash, milk, vanilla extract, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, 1-½ teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg. Crush ½ cup pecans and mix into squash mixture, along with raisins.
- Pour mixture over bread pieces, making sure all pieces are covered. Seal tightly with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove plastic wrap; crush remaining pecans, and top evenly over mixture. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar with remaining cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over mixture.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until batter is firm. Serve with maple syrup, if desired.
Now that the menu is planned, you can get back to the menorah lighting and dreidel playing. Happy Hanukkah, everyone!