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Traditional and Creative Latkes for Chanukah
Plus a few other festive dishes.
Since we have eight days to celebrate here is a bit of a varied menu for one of the festive Chanukah nights.
TRADITIONAL CRISPY POTATO LATKES
Latkes are a real staple of Chanukah menu. If you plan to serve latkes, make lots of them, as they are sure to disappear quickly. White or red potatoes work well and a mixture of both yields even better results.
- 6 potatoes
- 1 small onion
- 4 eggs
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper (optional)
- Oil for frying
Grate potatoes in food processor on your favorite blade. I favor the shredder as pieces are a bit bigger and latkes come out crispier. Squeeze out the liquid through a colander. Add the rest of ingredients. Mix well.
In a deep pot or deep frying pan, heat oil very thoroughly. Drop batter by spoonful and fry until golden on both sides. Pat with paper towel to absorb the oil.
Serve warm with applesauce or sour cream, if desired. Just plain is great too.
Preparation time: 12 minutes
Cooking time: 18 to 24 minutes
SWEET POTATO-WHITE BEAN LATKES
In as much as potato latkes are the all time favorite and preferred latkes here are some assorted latkes to add some variety to our Chanukah menu.
For the latkes:
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total)
- 1 can (15 ounces)navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 2/3 cup toasted wheat germ
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
To serve a complete feast make this sauce and serve with the latke in a pita bread, add a spoonful of salad for a full meal.
For the Tahini Sauce:
- 2 Tbs tahini
- 4 Tbs water
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 shallow tsp cumin
- 4 large whole wheat pitas (6 to 8 inches)
For the patties : Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork, then set on a paper towel and microwave on high for 6 minutes, or until tender.
When cool enough to handle, halve the sweet potatoes and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the beans and mash together with a fork. Mix in the wheat germ, onion, walnuts, mustard, cumin, salt, and pepper until well combined.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Use a tablespoon to shape the sweet potato mixture into 16 patties (each about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide) and set the falafel patties on a plate. Add half of the falafel to the hot skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until they form a crispy, golden crust. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and falafel patties.
Make the tahini sauce:
In a small bowl, stir together the tahini, water, and lemon juice, 1 tablespoon cumin salt and pepper to taste.
With the tip of a knife, cut an opening in one side of each pita. Divide the falafel among the pitas and drizzle with the tahini sauce.
Along with the patties and tahini sauce, stuff the pitas with your favorite toppings, including cucumber slices, lettuce, tomato, and red onion.
Note: These patties freeze well so feel free to double the recipe and use for other nights supper or next day nutritious lunch box .
Preparation 20 minutes
EASY PEA AND CABBAGE LATKES
These easy pea and cabbage latkes taste delicious and are very filling. It adds a twist to our menu. They taste mellow, have a crispy texture and they are super cheap and filling. One of my favorite ways to eat these patties, is to put them on a rye bread along with some mild mustard and pickles.
- 10 ½ oz (about 1 ½ cups) dried split peas
- 1 bag Bodek cabbage
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup whole wheat flour or favorite flour
- 1 onion, finely chopped
Soak the peas in plenty of water for 10-12 hours. Drain and rinse the peas carefully. Add the drained peas to the food processor along with chopped cabbage, water, salt and curry powder. Process for a couple of minutes, until fairly smooth. Add whole wheat flour and finely chopped onion. Stir carefully. Preheat a pan and pour some oil in it. Form mixture into patties of desired size Fry the patties in hot oil until crispy on both sides. Make sure the patties are cooked completely on one side, before you try to flip them over. They are delicious served hot or cold.
Preparation time: 25-30 minutes + soaking the peas
Yields 25 latkes.
TASTY CABBAGE LATKES
Combining leftover sweet potato and cabbage, these cabbage latkes are a play on the traditional “bubble and squeak” and are a great way to use up leftovers!
- ¾ cup cooked mashed sweet potato
- 2 cups shredded cabbage / carrot / broccoli – bagged slaw mixes would also be perfect
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbs onion chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp cilantro (optional)
- Oil to fry
Beat the eggs together, then whisk in the flour
Add the mashed sweet potatoes to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the cilantro and garlic, then season to taste.
Add the shredded vegetables to the bowl, mixing until they are evenly distributed.
Form the mixture into four rounded patties.
Heat a pan over medium low heat with plenty of oil to coat. The oil is hot enough when little bubbles form around the handle of a wooden spoon placed in the pan.
Place the patties in the pan and space them out evenly. Use a spatula /slice to flatten them down to about a half inch thick but no bigger than the size of your spatula / slice as that will make them too big to flip!
Fry until browned, about 3-5 minutes, then carefully flip and brown the other side. Done!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 servings
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE WITH HOMEMADE MUSHROOM GRAVY
- 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbs oil
- 1 pound mixed gourmet mushrooms, such as shiitakes, creminis and oyster, cleaned and quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 4 medium shallots, sliced and separated into thin rounds
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until they just turn bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. (You don’t want to cook the green beans through as they will cook in the oven also.) Strain and plunge the green beans immediately in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. When cool, drain and set out to dry on paper towels.
Set a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil. Once the pan is hot, add the mushrooms. Cook undisturbed so the mushrooms sear nicely, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and continue cooking the mushrooms to achieve some nice color. Season with the salt, pepper, cayenne.
Cook 2 to 3 more minutes longer, dusting the mushrooms with some of the flour as they release moisture. Stir with a whisk to incorporate the flour (just like making a roux) and gradually add in the water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and add mayonaise. Stir gently and cook over low heat until gravy thickens, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the blanched green beans to the pan and fold together so everything is mixed well. Spread out evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the green beans with the grated Parmesan and transfer to a roasting tray (to catch any spill-over). Bake until the casserole is bubbly and the top is melted and golden, 15 minutes.
Pour the vegetable oil into a deep skillet and heat to 350 degrees F. Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Toss the shallot rounds in the seasoned flour, then place in a strainer and shake off any excess flour. Fry the shallots in the hot oil in small batches until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt while still hot.
Top the green bean casserole with the fried shallots and serve.
Serves 6 to 8
STUFFED SPAGHETTI SQUASH
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (or see the simple sauce recipe below)
- 2 diced tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato and garlic sauce (optional)
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 2 Tbs fresh basil
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (plus extra for topping)
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
Roasting the squash
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Wash spaghetti squash, cut off stem and slice squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and threads. (save the seeds and roast them with a light dusting of sea salt or tamari sauce!) Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place, cut side down, in baking dish (9×13 works well) with a little water in the bottom of the dish — as the squash cooks, you can add more water if it dries up. Roast for 30-45 minutes, depending on squash size, or until inside is soft and easily “fluffs” with a fork. It will look like very tiny spaghetti noodles… hence the name. Try not to over bake or strands will turn to mush.
While squash is roasting, sauté toamotes and peppers in large skillet over medium heat. Remove from the pan and set aside, but SAVE the drippings in the pan for the next step.
If you are using a jar sauce, add that to the pan now and simmer. If you chose to make the super simple sauce recipe below, use the sautéed tomatoes and peppers in the pan with some olive oil to start your sauce.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and fresh basil, set aside.
When squash is tender, remove from oven and using a fork, scoop, fluff, flake, scrape, to get the inside of the squash to look like spaghetti noodles. You don’t have to get at ALL of the squash, you can scoop more later when you get to the bottom after it’s been filled and you’re enjoying it for dinner.
Now we FILL THEM! Start with a scoop of the red sauce, followed by a layer of the cheese mixture, (you can add extra mozzarella on each layer too!) and repeat the layers until you’ve over filled your squash, ending with a layer of red sauce and then topping them with mozzarella. Trust me. Over fill ’em.
Turn the oven to broil and put them back in to until top cheese layer is melted.
VERY BERRY DELICIOUS TRIFLE
Trifles are fun way to serve dessert Very easy to assemble and sure to impress company.
- 3 package frozen strawberries
- 1⅓ c. confectioners’ sugar
- 1½ tsp. cornstarch
- ¾ c. heavy cream
- 3 container nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt Or 16 ounce whipped cream whipped (for pareve version)
- 4 0 ladyfingers
- 2 Tsp orange liqueur (optional)
- 1 package frozen blueberries
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together blueberries and strawberry juices with 2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch. Boil until thickened, 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks; set aside. In a large bowl, combine yogurt and remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Fold in whipped whip cream.
Break ladyfingers in half. Place half of them in a 2-quart glass bowl or trifle dish. Drizzle cookies with 1 tablespoon liqueur, if using, and dollop with one-third of yogurt mixture. Spoon half of berries over yogurt mixture, and then drizzle 3 to 4 tablespoons thickened juices. Layer another one-third of yogurt mixture over berries, followed by a layer of remaining ladyfingers. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon liqueur and dollop with remaining yogurt mixture. Top with remaining berries and 3 to 4 more tablespoons thickened juice. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours, before serving.
Preparation 20 minutes
Happy Chanukah to all
About the Author: Gitta Bixenspanner
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.