Hi busy moms, dads, and all caregivers,
Unlike a lot of other Jewish holidays that can be more restrictive, Hanukkah, the festival of lights, is a fun holiday for the kids filled with eight nights of gifts, gelt (chocolate coins), jelly donuts, and my favorite potato latkes. Hanukkah falls around the winter holiday season when it could be really tough to eat healthy with all the festivities and yummy temptations.
This year I decided to embark on making a healthier latke that didn’t sacrifice taste. A latke is a fried potato pancake typically made with potato, onion, egg and a binding ingredient like flour, matzo meal or breadcrumbs. It is traditionally served with applesauce and sour cream.
I made several not so great batches until I landed on one that got two thumbs up from my kids. My recipe uses a smaller proportion of potatoes and includes healthy veggies like cauliflower, carrot, and kale without sacrificing the traditional latke flavor. This recipe is also gluten-free using almond meal instead of flour to bind the ingredients, without the almond flavor.
In the recipe directions below, I describe two cooking methods to cut calories from the typical fried method. The first method is to bake them in the oven first until the latkes set and then finish them off by browning in a skillet lightly on both sides and the second method is to cook it in a waffle maker.
You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this holiday treat, my dear Catholic Italian friend asked me to make it for her Christmas Eve gathering! 🙂
Yield: 12-16 latkes
- 3 large potatoes
- 3 scallions
- 1 egg
- 1/4 small cauliflower (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 cup kale (or spinach)
- 4 tbsp. almond meal
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- Frying oil
- Peel the potatoes and grate them with the larger grater holes.
- Chop the scallions into fine rings.
- Grate the cauliflower using large grater holes or chop finely using a food processor. To save time, you can also buy the prepackaged cauliflower rice found in the produce aisle.
- Peel and grate the carrot.
- Remove the tough inner ribs of one large kale leaf and chop the kale into thin slivers.
- Combine all veggies in a bowl and add the 1 tsp salt.
- There are a few ways to remove liquid before frying. You can put the mixture in a colander and let sit for at least 30 minutes until the salt helps remove the excess liquid. I found it quicker to put the mixture in a salad spinner and spin a few times to remove a lot of the liquid and then let it settle for ten minutes.
- Pour the mixture back into the bowl and add the egg, almond meal, and garlic powder.
- BAKING METHOD:
- Measure a heaping tablespoon of the latkes mixture, form into a flat circular patty, and place it onto a generously greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until the latkes set and veggies cook.
- Turn the stove on medium/high heat and add enough oil to form a thin layer.
- Brown each latke on both sides, approximately 3 minutes each side.
- Place latkes on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
- Sprinkle the latkes with sea salt (optional).
- WAFFLE MAKER METHOD:
- Grease the waffle maker and fill 1/3 cup of latkes mixture and place in the middle of the waffle iron, close and cook 5-8 minutes until browned on the outside and cooked on the inside.
- Remove with wooden or plastic utensil to not damage the waffle maker and repeat until all latkes are cooked.
Serve latkes warm with apple sauce and sour cream. Greek yogurt can be used as a healthier substitute to sour cream.
Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet Tip: To make sure the latkes are well seasoned before you cook them, you can microwave a forkful of the mixture for 10 seconds and taste it.