I decided to do this post in honor of Deborah Pomeranz. Deborah was not only a friend & colleague, she & her co-conspirator, Deb Snyder, were the driving forces behind the non-profit, NCCF, North County Cancer Fitness. Deborah would patiently explain the Jewish holidays to me & anyone else who asked. We discussed the traditional Hanukkah foods served & how they were prepared. Some were healthy & others could use some help to become a bit healthier.
No matter what holiday we are faced with, we can enjoy it with healthy variations of old favorites. Hanukkah, December 12th-20th this year, is no exception.
During the festival of Hanukkah children & adults play a game with a Dreidel. The coins they use, Hanukkah Gelt, are made of chocolate. Here is a link to one of our favorite sites, Elena’s Pantry. She has come up with an easy recipe for these coins that are dairy free. You use her Homemade Paleo Chocolate recipe to make the Homemade Hanukkah Gelt. This recipe can also be used in any mold for any holiday: Valentine hearts, Christmas trees, Thanksgiving turkeys & more!
An even easier recipe that can also be used in a mold is from another favorite, the Minimalist Baker, Easy Vegan Chocolate.
The traditional Hanukkah menu includes these favorites: brisket, short ribs, noodle kugel, latkes, doughnuts, apple sauce & Challah, a braided bread.
Martha Stewart has the traditional recipes with healthier variations here: Hanukkah Dinner Recipes That the Whole Family Will Love. For example, she has a recipe for roasted apples rather than sweetened applesauce. Sometimes to dress up my roasted mixed vegetables, I will mix in apple slices when roasting them. Easy to do & very tasty. You can also roast them separately sprinkled with your favorite apple pie spices minus the sugar. Take a look at her Potato Kugel Gratin. It uses 5 eggs but remember that you are only eating 1 (or 2 🙂 ) servings.
Now let’s look at some variations of these traditional recipes.
Elena’s Pantry has several good recipes:
***Her recipes are mostly paleo, so she uses a lot of eggs.
Green Planet has 18 Vegan Hanukkah recipes Also take a look at their 8 Ways to Make Your Hanukkah Miraculously Delicious & 8 Tips for Having a Healthier Hanukkah. There are 2 Blintze recipes & a recipe for raw applesauce in there also.
Another good site with some original ideas is: MAYIM BIALIK’S 7 VEGAN HANUKKAH RECIPES YOU MUST TRY THIS HOLIDAY Her recipes connect you to some of the sites I often use, Epicurious: Morrocan Vegetable Salad for one idea. I often serve a variation of this on a bed of raw, baby spinach. Looks pretty & tastes divine!
My husband & I love potato latkes with home made applesauce. Here are a few recipes;
- I Love Vegan: Potato Latkes Remember this is a holiday so frying doesn’t count if you use the minimum amount of oil & lots of love 🙂
- Vegetarian Times: Potato Latkes I would use olive oil to fry with.
- The Spruce: Vegan Baked Potato Latkes Recipe This is a good recipe to try. I would use parchment rather than grease a pan. Any flour would do & I would use a red or gold potato.
- my recipes: Root Vegetable Latkes Potatoes, parsnips & sweet potatoes make this an interesting combination.
For the applesauce, all you need is a food processor or a blender. I just toss in a sweet variety of raw apples along with some cinnamon & nutmeg & blend until it is chunky or puree if you prefer. No need to cook those apples first. You know how much I like simple 🙂
“Kugel is a baked pudding or casserole, most commonly made from egg noodles or potato.” Wikipedia
This is an interesting article on Jamie Geller’s site: THE HISTORY OF KUGEL by GIL MARKS When I searched the site for Kugel recipes, it brought up a wonderful list of Kugel ideas. Click here. Be sure to look at the Chilis Rellenos Kugel! The list seems endless 🙂 Take a look at her Chanukah page for more recipe. I am loving this website!
This recipe for Kugel from ASWEATLIFE, sounds wonderful: NOODLE-FREE KUGEL RECIPE FOR A HEALTHY HANUKKAH The author uses grated sweet potato, apple & pear. Healthy alternative.
If you just can’t bring yourself to make the traditional Kugel without the noodles & dairy, here is a low-fat version from ChowHound: Bubbe’s Luchen Kugel Recipe.
Brisket is the main dish. You don’t need to replace it with Tofurkey, tofu or seitan, although you could 🙂 Here are some ideas.
- Food & Wine: How to Make the Best Brisket for Hanukkah This site has 8 recipes for brisket. Each one uses a different marinade.
- Everyday Health: Oven Barbecued Brisket Actually, I can see this working with Tofurkey or seitan. Nice sauce.
- WebMD: Have a Happy, Healthier Hanukkah Included are recipes for brisket, latkes, applesauce & jelly doughnut-muffins. Yep, muffins.
Sufganiyot are deep fried jelly doughnuts. They are part of the traditional meal. These can be baked!
- Baked Soufganiyot Recipe from myrecipes.
- This recipe is from Forward: Healthy Hanukkah? Yes, It’s Possible. It has a vegan, baked recipe for Mini Sufganiyot with Cinnamon-Sugar-Jam Glaze, Recipe by Jackie Topol. As you scroll down to the recipe, read the tips on how to make the holiday healthier.
- Neta Cooks: BAKED WHOLE WHEAT JELLY DOUGHNUT OR SUFGANIYOT RECIPE She only uses 1 egg, it could be replaced as in the recipe above, to make it vegan. The photos look just like deep-fried doughnuts.
Challah is a beautiful braided bread. Here is the traditional recipe from Leite’s Culinaria: Challah As the author say’s, “you could buy Challah but where is the fun in that!” If you prefer a healthier version, I found several.
- Irresistible Whole Wheat Challah from AllRecipes
- 13 ALTERNATIVE CHALLAH RECIPES from Jamie Geller Gluten free, made with spelt or whole wheat & even a vegan recipe called Eggless Challah!
BEST CHALLAH BREAD (AND HEALTHY, TOO!) from My Jerusalem Kitchen
Have a healthy & happy Hanukkah!
I am thinking about my Christmas menu. I will share any interesting ideas that I find. Email me if you have any ideas to share. Until next week…Mary 🙂