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Home > Popular Stories > > Celebrating Hanukkah the Lean Way

Celebrating Hanukkah the Lean Way

8 salads for 8 days, because a salad a day keeps your weight at bay. by

Concerned about the overabundance of food and especially the fried latkes and donuts that come around on Hanukkah? Here is an interesting array of salads for each night of Hanukkah. Some of them feature cheese while most of them are served with liberal amounts of olive oil. Sure we will indulge in some latkes and donuts but we hope that filling up on these will help keep your weight at bay.


Tossed Salad with Fried Garbanzo Beans

We try to start every meal with a tossed salad. Fried garbanzo beans add unexpected flavor and crunch to a chopped salad you can serve family style.

  • ½ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper divided
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce washed and dried
  • 3 oz. feta cheese cubed
  • ½ cup vinaigrette dressing


  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 3 Tbs oil
  • 2 tsp dry basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed (or to taste)
  • 1 shallot diced
  • Salt, and pepper to taste
  • 1 shake chili powder (optional)

In a large nonstick skillet heat 2 tablespoons oil, over medium-high heat. Carefully add garbanzo beans and fry, stirring often, until crisp and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and chili powder; set aside.

In a bowl whisk together vinegar, basil, oregano, garlic, shallot, and remaining oil, salt, and pepper to taste to make a dressing. In a large bowl tear romaine lettuce to bite size pieces. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and feta cheese, tossing gently to combine. Transfer to bowls, drizzle with vinaigrette dressing over the top, garnish with fried garbanzo beans and serve immediately.

Preparations 20 minutes
Serves 6


This time of year it is most beneficial for us to consume root vegetables. They are healthy, cheap and abundantly available in all supermarkets. Sweet potato adds a new twist to this beet salad; its sweetness helps us keep away from the sugar that is used in most commercial salads.

  • 2 red beets peeled
  • 2 yellow beets peeled optional (available in better markets)
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 3 Tbs thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large saucepan cook beets for 20 minutes then add the sweet potatoes boil for another 20 minutes until a knife inserted into either of them show they are soft but not too soft. Remove from the fire allowing to cool. Cube beets and sweet potato in a large bowl; in a small bowl, combine red onion, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Pour over beet mixture, season generously with salt and pepper, toss, and serve, warm or at room temperature.

Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Serves 4-6


When you are looking for something fast and light, this simple salad couldn’t be simpler, tastier, or prettier….

  • 2 pints red cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pint yellow baby tomatoes
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, cubed
  • 1 small red onion, cubed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs white wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh basil
  • 2 handfuls of any sprouts available such as sunflower or alfalfa or mung bean sprouts
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes in half place in a serving bowl, gently toss together all ingredients. Serve immediately or chill, covered, until ready to serve.

Preparation 5 minutes
Serves 8


Salmon Salad with Mango and Avocado

Salmon. Avocado. Mango. All great ingredients when combined they are just the perfect meal in a dish. Serve with a vegetable soup and a slice of bread and you have a great meal, good to go.

  • 4 slices salmon fillet
  • 2 Tbs lemon pepper spice
  • 2 ripe avocados seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 mango peeled and diced
  • 3 Tbs chopped fresh garlic
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 large endives heads, leaves separated washed and dried
  • Few sprigs cilantro, for garnish

Wash salmon fillet and season with salt and lemon pepper spice. Place in a pan and broil ten minutes on one side and 5 on the second side. Remove from broiler and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt and crushed garlic. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended. Season with pepper.

In a medium bowl, gently stir together broiled salmon sliced in strips, diced avocados, mango, vinaigrette,
Remove bases of endives and separate leaves. Arrange salmon salad in the center of a large serving platter and place endive leaves filled with fish mixture around the salad. Garnish platter with cilantro sprigs.

Preparation 20 minutes
Serves 6-8


Salad with Pear, Cheese, Beets and WalnutsThis salad has a tantalizing sweet and sour taste that will awaken your taste buds and get you ready for whatever else is being served.
Save time! Make this salad in the morning so it is ready to start your party but dress it right before serving.

  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 ½ ounces thinly sliced Gouda cheese (about 5 slices) 0r
  • 3 sticks Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 medium cooked beets , cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 cups lettuce
  • 1 large Anjou pear , cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts , coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp toasted coriander seeds, crushed (optional)

To make vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil until blended; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine beets and 1 tablespoon dressing. In a large bowl, toss lettuce with remaining dressing; divide among 6 salad plates. Top each salad with, pear, cheeses, walnuts, and beets; sprinkle with coriander seeds.

Preparation 10 minutes
Serves 6


Tasty Broccoli and Cashew Salad

Broccoli is always a winner on the salad bar, this simple salad is delicious and a family favorite.

  • 1 large bag of frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 medium red onion, diced finely
  • 3/4 cup raw cashew halves, broken
  • 3/4 cup craisins
  • 2 hard boiled eggs sliced (optional)


  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 5 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.

Pour dressing over salad, mix to coat.

Refrigerate for a few hours to develop flavors. It can even be prepared the day before!



Fattoush is the name given to a salad that has pita triangles or thinly sliced cubed bread baked to a crisp with some oil and garlic and some other spices like Zaatar and tossed over the salad. It is always a favorite that is often served in Oriental restaurants!

FATTOUSH CHIPS:Do not discard old pita bread, rather cut it in half to obtain two sides. Cut the whole pile in triangles; spray a baking pan with olive oil and garlic powder and Zaatar spice to taste. Spread the pita pieces over the garlic and oil, toss pita with more oil and garlic to coat all pieces. Bake it in the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes, mixing once or until crispy. Set aside.

FATTOUSH DRESSING: 1 Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1 Tbs red wine vinegar, ½ Tbs maple syrup, 2 large cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, a bit of cumin.

SALAD: In a large bowl tear 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce; add 1 English cucumber cubed, 1 pint baby tomatoes halved, crumbled feta cheese and sliced red onion. Pour dressing over the salad and toss lightly.. Garnish with seasoned pita chips.

Preparation 30 minutes
Serves 6


Fabulous Caesar Salad

Caesar salad is a classic. It will add a festive note to any happy meal. Fill up on this light salad any night and you will be sure to eat less of the delightful Chanukah offerings.

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs Tamari sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher salt divided
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce (about 1 pound)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups bread croutons
  • 1 pint baby tomatoes
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers cut in rounds
  • 3 Tbs grated Parmesan or feta cheese (about 1 ounce)

To make dressing: In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, mustard, Tamari sauce, salt, and garlic, whisk until smooth.

In another bowl, briefly whisk together olive and canola oils, while whisking lemon juice mixture constantly, add oil in a slow, steady stream. Use dressing immediately, or store in refrigerator for 1 day; shake well before using.

Wash, dry, and tear lettuce into 1 ½ inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss together lettuce, salt, baby tomatoes and cucumbers, most of the croutons, and ½ of the dressing (reserve rest for another use). Toss salad together, making sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan/feta cheese and garnish with a handful of croutons.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Serves 6

Happy Hanukkah to all!

About the Author:

Gitta Bixenspanner is a certified nutritionist who lives in Montreal with her husband. She teaches high school, seminary and give inspiring adult education classes in Jewish topics. As a certified nutritionist she gives cooking seminars, the main purpose being to teach people to adopt healthier lifestyles in keeping with the mitzvah of taking care of our bodies.

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