3 Tips to Healthier Chanukah + Broccoli & Cauliflower Latkes
photo: Liz Rueven

3 Tips to Healthier Chanukah + Broccoli & Cauliflower Latkes

When Westport Magazine asked me for three tips on how to celebrate a healthier Chanukah all I could imagine at first was, “here go the latkes”.  After all, Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah) foods are all about frying in oil which, no matter how you sizzle it, does not point to eight nights of  healthy eating. After pondering my challenge I honed in on three ways to have a healthier holiday without a drop of sacrifice.

While it’s traditional to serve potato pancakes during the eight nights of Chanukah, the recipe I developed for Westport Magazine includes more nutritious, raw broccoli and cauliflower as the base. Frying in oil may be non-negotiable but these cruciferous veggies absorb less than potatoes and are as seasonal as spuds in December.

Yogurt topping, seasoned with NYShuk‘s tangy za’atar *and minced cucumber, garlic and lemon zest, keeps the flavors bright and light.

healthier Chanukah latkes Kosher Like Me
Photo: Liz Rueven

Here are my three tips to eight nights of Chanukah that won’t push the scale (or your arteries) into a danger zone.

Go green.

Incorporate as many local fruits and veggies into your Chanukah meals as you can. Despite the winter calendar, there ARE farmers’ markets** and farm shops that are still open. Farmers take great care to harvest and store their crops so they remain fresh and tasty into the winter months. Kale and broccoli are sweeter than ever now that they’ve been hit by frost. Local potatoes and onions DO taste better. Winter squashes are loaded with nutrients that boost our immunity to winter sniffles and worse.

Add fruit.

Seek out a variety of local apples and pears and simmer your own fruity toppings with as little sugar as possible. Remember how much everyone loves cranberries at Thanksgiving? Keep using them, like in this recipe by Emily Paster for cranberry applesauce.

Limit the latkes.

It’s tough. I feel it, too. But we don’t need to eat ’em every night in order to celebrate. I try to limit my indulgence to enjoying fried treats at one party with family and one with friends.

Kosher Like Me healthier latkes Hanukkah
Photo: Liz Rueven

For more latke, donut and other Chanukah related recipes, click the HOLIDAY tab in our header and scroll through Chanukah. We’d love to know what you’re making!

Wishing all of our readers a joyful and bright Chanukah of 2019.

* Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that lends authenticity to dishes from that region.It most often includes dried thyme, oregano, toasted sesame seeds and sumac. My favorite brand may be purchased online at NYSHUK.

** Here’s a good list of winter farmers’ markets across the USA.

Westport CT winter farmers market Kosher Like Me
Westport Farmers Market in winter; Photo: Liz Rueven

Shout out and thanks to Chef Genee Habansky, owner, brains and muscle at Herbaceous Catering in CT. Our summertime latke talk was a huge help as she encouraged me to use raw cauliflower and broccoli, even when we were swimming in summer tomatoes.

Disclosure: When readers purchase items through some of the links in this post, Kosher Like Me may benefit by receiving a small percentage of that sale. There is no cost for the buyer. Thanks for supporting this blogging habit of mine.


  1. I can’t wait to try these, what could be better than adding lemon and zaatar, a match made in heaven (and Israel)? I no longer fear healthy fat in both avocado and true olive oils. It keeps me sated and I’ve actually been losing weight (a welcomed circumstance) having added these fats to my regular plant focused mostly fish way of eating. Reducing the carbs by subbing for potatoes has done well for me, is still delicious, AND celebrates the holiday. My European grandma made chremselach, which were made from cauliflower, which just shows our bubbes were ahead of the curve in many ways. Bring on the Cruciferous Latkes! Happy Chanukah to you, Liz, love reading your blog.

    • Thanks for the kudos and your enthusiasm for cruciferous latkes. You’ve made my day! And, yes, our grandmothers were ahead of the curve. My Polish grandmother was creative out of necessity as she fed 4 hungry kids on a very tight budget. Healthy veggies that grew locally, no waste kitchens, seasonal latkes (beyond potatoes) were always a thing 🙂 Happy Chanukah to you and yours.

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