Healthier Latke Recipes for Hanukkah

Last year for Hanukkah, I posted a recipe for Beet-Walnut Latkes with Goat Cheese. The healthification trick with latkes three-fold: 1. Mix the potato with something else, 2. Limit the amount of oil you use, and 3. Avoid high-calorie toppings like sour cream. The Beet-Walnut Latkes are made entirely in the oven, with no frying at all, and just a little bit of olive oil, applied with a pastry brush. They’re also topped with plain nonfat yogurt (my favorite sour cream sub–works great on a burrito too!) and chives, so you get this great complex flavor without all the fat and calories in sour cream.

This year, our Holiday Gift-a-Meal product features two healthified latke recipes–Wild Mushroom Latkes and Pear Potato Latkes. Although both recipes call for an initial go in the frying pan, you could absolutely make them the same way as the Beet-Walnut Latkes, fully in the oven with just a brush of olive oil, if you’re looking to save on fat and calories. And this year, with our Holiday Gift-a-Meal product, you can customize an ecard and share them with your Facebook friends. You can also choose to gift them PayPal money to make the recipe, as opposed to giving them a gift card to a spa or something else they might not get a chance to use before it expires (The PayPal gift is just cash they can use on anything, but isn’t it nice to feel like you’re gifting an experience?).

Pear Potato Latkes

1 lb yukon gold potatoes, shredded
1 large, firm (slightly underripe) pear, shredded
2 6″ square pieces matzo, crushed
2 green onions, including white portion, sliced
2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp olive oil (or canola oil), divided
Plain nonfat yogurt

1. Toss potatoes, pear and matzo in a large bowl and let stand, stirring once or twice, until the matzo is softened, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in shallot, sage, salt and pepper. Add egg and stir to coat.

3. Place a baking sheet in the oven; preheat to 200°F.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 4 latkes at a time, using 1/4 cup lightly packed potato-pear mixture for each. Press with the back of a spatula to flatten into a 3-inch cake. Cook until crispy and golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

5. Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.

6. Repeat with two more batches of the remaining potato mixture and oil, reducing the heat as necessary to prevent burning.

Wild Mushroom Latkes

3 cups wild mushrooms
1 clove garlic
olive oil, for sauteing
3 cups grated potato, squeezed dry
4 tbsp grated yellow onion
2 tsp ground nutmeg
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1. In a hot pan, saute the mushrooms in olive oil and garlic until the mushrooms are fully cooked and take on some color. Cool and then cut half of them into a dice. Set aside the whole mushrooms

2. In a large bowl, combine the dry potato, grated onion, nutmeg, eggs, salt and pepper, and half the dill, mixing well. Squeeze the excess liquid from the diced mushrooms, then add them to the bowl.

3. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

4. Over medium-high heat, fill a pan with about one quarter inch of oil. Form the latke mixture into the size of a small hockey puck. Fry the latkes until they’re golden brown on each side. Place the latkes on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Transfer to the oven to keep warm.

5. Top the finished latkes with remaining whole mushrooms, dill, and a dollop of plain nonfat yogurt, and serve.

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