Today is the 5th night of hanukkah, which means it’s the fifth night of eating latkes in this house. I’m not gonna lie – latkes are pretty much my favorite part of the holiday season. I love the family get togethers that revolve around eating them, the creativity and endless options of ingredients, and the taste of the warm pancakes dipped in sour cream and applesauce.
A little background on why we make latkes on Hanukkah….. Long story short, the miracle of hanukkah is that when the Jews claimed victory over their temple, they were only left with enough oil to provide light for one night. However, the flame burned for eight days and eight nights. Thus, why we light the menorah for eight nights and celebrate the hanukkah miracle by frying potato latkes in oil.
Traditional latkes, or at least, traditionally made in my family, consists of potatoes, onions, egg, matzo meal and seasonings, fried to a golden crisp in canola oil and topped with full fat sour cream and sweet applesauce. Basically, Kosher crack! They are so delicious! I start asking my mom when we can schedule our annual potato latke at the start of fall. And this year, Mom cooked up her special gluten free batch just for me on the first night of Hanukkah and they were everything I had hoped for. I had six and would have continued had there been any leftovers. (hint hint, Mom!)
One night just wasn’t enough to satisfy my latke cravings, but my waistline was at risk here, so I headed to the grocery store to stock up on ingredients and attempt to mix it up and create a healthier version, we could munch on guilt free.
I can tell you this, some vegetables were not made to substitute potatoes (zucchini) and some weren’t able to mold well (apples), but using butternut squash as the base worked perfectly and satisfied the craving. I tried frying some and cooking some using a light spray of coconut oil to prevent them from sticking. Once they are topped with greek yogurt and unsweetened apple sauce, you can’t tell the difference, so I continued the rest of the batch without adding additional oil.
They were great! They hit the spot, but they don’t exactly represent the miracle of hanukkah – oil – very well. If you’re craving latkes, but looking for a lightened version you can eat without feeling guilty, give them a shot and let me know what you think.
- 4 cups shredded butternut squash (I used the large holes on a cheese grater)
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- Low-fat greek yogurt
- Unsweetened apple sauce
- Combine all ingredients and mix until thoroughly coated in eggs.
- Heat frying pan and lightly spray with coconut or canola cooking oil.
- scoop mounds no larker than the palm of your hand and cook over medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes. Flip and repeat.
- Remove from heat and top with toppings of your choice.
- Eat and repeat. Latkes are best eaten warm.