I love holiday foods. I love the tradition that they represent and the connection that foods can make between people who don’t even know each other but can connect over a common history. Chanukah is a holiday that basically requires you to think about food. The entire central premise of Chanukah is the celebration of oil! How well does that tie into a celebration of food?? Probably the most traditional Chanukah food is the latke, a potato pancakes fried in oil. This year, I have been thinking a lot about fun ways to honor the holiday and the tradition, while at the same time upping the nutrients in my meal.
Typically, latkes are a combination of potato, onion, flour, and egg, which is then fried in vegetable oil. While I have no qualms with potatoes, I was thinking about how much fun it would be to play with some other combinations. Here are some ideas:
Sweet potato latkes: instead of white potato, use sweet potato. This naturally sweet root vegetable can be paired with so many fun flavors. Try adding cumin for a southwestern take on latkes, or cinnamon for a sweet dessert latke. Mixing in some carrots would also work well for this latke.
Add fruit: while most people think of applesauce as a topping for potato latkes, fruit can be used as part of the base, upping the nutrient profile of this yummy treat. Try grated apples, pears, or orange zest.
Non-traditional toppings: I love applesauce or sour cream as toppings for latkes, but I think there are so many other great ideas. Avocado, guacamole, or a corn salsa would pair great with sweet potato latkes. Fresh tomato sauce would be great with zucchini latkes. Or make it a meal. Top potato latkes with smoked salmon or fresh poached salmon on and you could easily take latkes from a side dish to a main. Or try a fried egg on top of your sweet potato latkes.
Another thought is instead of frying your latkes, try baking them instead. Twenty minutes in a hot oven, or even under a broiler, can result in such great crispy latkes that you wont even miss the oil. Plus, this way you can save room for another holiday favorite, sufganiyot, which are fresh donuts fried in oil! Yum!