Tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah for 2011, also known as the Festival of Lights for those of the Jewish faith. The holiday commemorates an ancient battle victory and the re-dedication of a holy temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah is not the most holy of Jewish holidays, but it could be called the most anticipated. It comes with a bounty of traditions – be it lighting the eight candles on the menorah, spinning a dreidel, or preparing favorite foods – that make the holiday special and memorable.
Like other holidays, be it Independence Day, Christmas, or Thanksgiving, Hanukkah celebrations are made complete with recipes, treats, and entrees that are typically enjoyed just once a year. And like other holidays, they can wreak havoc on the diets of those trying to watch their pounds during this indulgent time of year.
Latkes are a favorite. These potato pancakes are one of the foods most associated with a Hanukkah celebration. Traditionally made with deep-fried potatoes, a few recipes use other vegetables and alternative cooking methods like baking to preserve flavor while cutting calories. We’ve found a few latke recipes that are a little better for you.
Zucchini Latkes, shared with DIR by DailyBurn’s Kate Brown, use zucchini, onion, peanut oil for frying, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Sweet Potato Latkes, shared with DIR by The Scramble’s Aviva Goldfarb, use white and sweet potatoes, onion, and applesauce and pan-fried in a slight amount of vegetable oil.
Gluten-Free Latkes, posted by the Care2 community, use a combination of baking and sweet potatoes with gluten-free flour and are then baked for a crunchy finish.
Oven Baked Latkes, from Slash Food, use a very basic recipe with russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, sweet onion, egg and flour that is then baked to make potato pancakes that are perfect right out of the oven.
Chinese Latkes, from Care2′s Annie Bond, are a basic recipe with a tangy spin thanks to a dipping sauce made with sesame oil, soy, and garlic that replaces the traditional sour cream or applesauce.