3 lighter Hanukkah recipes for the Festival of Lights

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    It’s common for people to eat more than they’re comfortable with on Hanukkah. A reason for this could be because potato latkes, which are rich in carbohydrates, tend to be the star of many Hanukkah meals, while little attention is often given to the vegetable or protein food groups. However, that isn’t to say that latkes don’t have a healthy place on your Hanukkah plate!

    If you want to leave your Hanukkah party feeling satisfied but not uncomfortably full, try eating a balance of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables. Balance out your latkes with my Pita Chip Salad with Tahini Za’atar Dressing, and enjoy these alternative latke recipes and toppings, which are more nutrient-dense than traditional latkes.

    As you’re surrounded by presents, don’t forget that eating nutritious foods is one of the best gifts you can give your body!

    Smoked Paprika Sweet Potato Latkes with Guacamole

    latkes
    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Yields approximately 12 latkes

    I’m a firm believer that avocado makes everything better. After adding guacamole to these Smoked Paprika Sweet Potato Latkes, you won’t even be thinking about sour cream or applesauce. The guacamole cools down the heat from the smoked paprika, plus it provides some omega 3 fatty acids, which aid with satiation and have been shown to promote heart health.

    Latke Ingredients:

    • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated (6 cups)
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped and sautéed in avocado oil until translucent (1 cup, chopped)

      Photo: Dena Gershkovich
    • ¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
    • ¼ cup avocado oil, plus more for frying
    • 4 large eggs
    • 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
    • Dash pepper

    Guacamole Ingredients:

    • 1 large avocado, mashed
    • A few squirts fresh lemon juice
    • Dash onion salt
    • Dash garlic powder
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Directions:

    Combine sweet potatoes, sautéed onion, parsley, avocado oil, eggs, smoked paprika, garlic powder, Kosher salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

    Heat a generous amount of avocado oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high flame. Once pan is hot, use a ⅓-cup measuring cup to drop the sweet potato mixture onto the pan, making sure to leave an inch or so between latkes. Cover the pan with foil, and allow to cook for about two minutes, or until bottoms of latkes appear golden brown and crispy. Flip. Cover and repeat on other side. Repeat process until mixture is finished. You may have to add more oil to the pan as you continue frying.

    To make guacamole, mash avocado with lemon juice, onion salt, garlic powder, salt and pepper using a fork. Gently stir in the cherry tomatoes.

    Top latkes with guacamole just before serving.

    Zucchini, Carrot and Potato Latkes with Dill

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Yields approximately 11 latkes

    Crispy, colorful and fresh, these Zucchini and Potato Latkes with Dill are everything. Top with Greek yogurt, green onions and additional dill to make them more substantial.

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Ingredients:

    • 1 large zucchini, grated (2.5 cups)
    • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and grated (2 cups)
    • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated (1 cup)
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped and sautéed in avocado oil until translucent (1 cup, chopped)
    • ½ cup dill, finely chopped, plus more for topping
    • 3 tablespoons avocado oil, plus more for frying
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
    • Dash pepper
    • Plain Greek yogurt, for topping
    • Sliced green onion, for topping
    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Directions:

    Combine zucchini, potato, carrot, sautéed onion, dill, avocado oil, eggs, garlic powder, Kosher salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

    Heat a generous amount of avocado oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high flame. Once pan is hot, use a ¼-cup measuring cup to drop the latke mixture onto the pan, making sure to leave an inch or so between latkes. Cover the pan with foil, and allow to cook for about two minutes, or until bottoms of latkes appear golden brown and crispy. Flip. Cover and repeat on other side. Repeat process until mixture is finished. You may have to add more oil to the pan as you continue frying.

    Top latkes with plain Greek yogurt, sliced green onions and dill just before serving.

    Pita Chip Salad With Tahini Za’atar Dressing

    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Yields approximately 12 one-cup servings

    This Pita Chip Salad With Tahini Za’atar Dressing is a great way to balance out your latkes. It provides a host of fresh vegetables, plus the chickpeas and tahini add some protein to your plate.

    Pita Chip Ingredients:

    • 2 whole-wheat tortillas or pitas, cut into triangles
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon za’atar, plus additional for topping
    • Dash salt and pepper

      Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Salad Ingredients:

    • 5 cups romaine lettuce, chopped (about 1 head)
    • One 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
    • 1 ¼ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 large carrot, shredded (1 cup)
    • 1 medium cucumber, peeled in stripes and finely chopped (1 cup)

    Tahini Za’atar Dressing Ingredients:

    • ¼ cup tahini
    • 6 tablespoons water
    • 1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
    • 3 teaspoons za’atar
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • ¼ teaspoon onion salt
    • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
    • Dash pepper
    Photo: Dena Gershkovich

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange tortilla or pita triangles in a single layer.

    Mix olive oil, za’atar, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Brush oil mixture onto triangles using a pastry brush. Flip. Brush other side. Sprinkle additional za’atar on top of triangles.

    Bake chips for 10 to 12 minutes, or until desired crispiness is reached. Set aside to cool.

    In a large salad bowl, mix salad ingredients together.

    In a small mixing bowl, mix dressing ingredients together.

    Pour dressing over salad just before serving. Break up pita chips, and add to salad. Mix. Serve immediately.

    Happy Hanukkah!

    Dena Gershkovich
    Dena Gershkovich is a writer, recipe developer and future dietitian. She holds a BS in Dietetics and a BA in Journalism from the University of Maryland. Follow Dena on her blog (The Artsy Palate) and on Instagram (@theartsypalate) to see more of her work!