Latkes are easily one of the best holiday foods, period. Potatoes + pancakes = iconic. But considering that they’re traditionally fried in lots and lots of oil…they’re not exactly the healthiest thing to eat for 8 nights in a row.
To get your healthy latke fix this Hanukkah, Beth Warren, MS, RDN, CDN, founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl, suggests baking your latkes instead of deep-frying them. “To do so, simply drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top and bake them in the oven,” she says.
If you choose to fry them, Warren recommends switching to a more heart-healthy oil like avocado oil. “It doesn’t negate the calories from the oil, but gives you more healthful benefits than other oils do.” And use less of it, because wouldn’t you be paying true (healthy) homage to the miracle the holiday celebrates if you could get one day’s worth of oil to last through 8 days of cooking?
Another way to give them a healthy twist: Ditch the tater. “The classic versions of latkes are potatoes that are fried, so an easy way to make latkes healthier is to substitute the potato with a non-starchy vegetable like zucchini or cauliflower,” Warren says.
Hungry yet? Below, Warren shares her tried-and-true healthy latke recipe—and eight more healthy foodies share theirs. You can thank us when your grandma insists you have seconds.
Keep reading for nine healthy latke recipes to make this Hanukkah.
1. Zucchini latkes
4 zucchini, spiralized
1 small onion, grated or chopped
2 whole eggs and 1 egg white, whisked
2 Tbsp almond flour
Salt, pepper, and cinnamon to taste
1 tsp allspice
1 Tbsp coconut oil or 3 Tbsp avocado oil
1. Mix all ingredients together, except for the oil.
2. Take a small handful of the mixture and form into a patty. It is okay if it doesn’t stick together.
3. Add one tablespoon of coconut or three tablespoons of avocado oil to a shallow pan. Place in the patty and cook until the bottom turns brown, about three to four minutes, on each side. You can also bake for a healthier version by drizzling extra virgin olive oil on top of the zucchini latkes on a baking sheet and bake about seven minute on each side at 400° F.
This fall-inspired latke eschews potatoes and pairs butternut squash with flavorful sage. Another secret? “Garbanzo bean flour, packed with lots of protein and fiber, binds all of the ingredients together into a perfect savory cake,” writes Karen Biton-Cohen of K.ABC.
What better way to spice up the holiday classic than with superfoods? Turmeric takes these fritters up a notch, adding color and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Healthy Nibbles and Bites’ creator Lisa Lin also shares her secret for crispy, delicious latkes: “You want to make sure that you squeeze out as much excess water from the zucchini and potatoes as you can so that you don’t get soggy fritters.” Tip, noted!
Hannah Kaminsky of BitterSweet takes her latke inspiration from traditional Chinese scallion pancakes, with added nutrition benefits of ginger and scallions, ingredients that also boost deliciousness. “Short ribbons of green onion are woven amongst the strands of potato, punctuated by the gentle warmth of ginger,” she says. Winter warming, indeed.
It’s time to add some greens to your latkes. “In the middle of this deep fried holiday, we decided to do a recipe with a touch of health, a load of bright colors, and still really tasty,” writes Matkonation’s Deanna Linder. We told you there was nothing cauliflower couldn’t do.
Golden beets are as pretty as they are nutritious, and they taste amazing in this dish when paired with leeks and spices like cumin and coriander. And The View From Great Island blogger Sue Moran recommends topping them off with a dollop of lemon yogurt, for a mouth-watering finish.
The Iron You chooses vitamin-packed zucchini instead of potatoes for his latkes, and adds scallions, almond flour, and the deliciousness of Parmesan cheese.
Pure Ella’s latkes are great for vegans, since they skip the eggs, and she reduces the amount of white potatoes by incorporating savory in-season parsnips.
This recipe from The Healthy Maven is vegan, gluten-free, *and* Paleo. But even with that box-checking trifecta, they’re still delish. (You can thank the coconut oil for that—it adds the perfect hint of sweetness.)
Originally published December 5, 2015. Updated December 2, 2018.
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