This Chanukah I decided to try something a little different.
I made beet latkes instead of traditional potato latkes. And you know what?
They were a hit!
They were so delicious I think they are going to become a holiday staple.
So here’s the low-down on Chanukah (sometimes spelled Hanukkah).
It is a Jewish holiday celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple. More so, it is a holiday celebrating freedom. A small army of Jews, led by Judah Maccabee, defeated a much larger army of Greeks, and took back their temple and their city (Jerusalem).
It is known as the festival of lights because when the Jews won the fight, they realized they had only one vial of purified oil left to light the Menorah (seven-branched candelabra). They knew that the vial would last only one night and that it would take eight days to make more purified oil. They lit the Menorah anyway and miraculously, the oil lasted eight days, the exact time needed to purify another batch of oil. So really there are two miracles of Chanukah – the win of the small group of laymen against a mighty army and the oil that lasted eight days when it was only supposed to last one day.
As a result, Chanukkiahs (nine-branched candelabra) are lit during this holiday. One candle for each of eight nights plus the special “attendant” candle which lights all the others. The Chanukiahs are supposed to be placed near a window for all passerby to see. And each person can light their own Chanukkiah, meaning there are LOTS of lights! Hence, festival of lights.
It is also why everything we eat on this holiday is fried in oil.
Oil being the star of the show! I don’t think they had so many health problems in the day of Judah Maccabee. Hyperlipidemia just wasn’t a thing back then. Fried latkes, fried jelly donuts. Whether or not you have cholesterol issues, eating so much fried food can make it difficult to enjoy the holiday, so I try to bake foods instead of frying.
That was partially the case with these latkes.
First I pan-fried them to give them a little bit of color (they already pink), then I finished them in the oven. The best part was the added nutrition! My people don’t usually eat beets (I have 2 teenage boys and a husband, all picky eaters). Beets are high in antioxidants and other phytonutrients that help your liver remove toxins from your body.
The truth is, they were pretty easy to make too.
And with the Cuisinart I didn’t even have to spend half a day grating onions, potatoes, and beets. It took less than 5 minutes to grate everything in the Cuisinart. And no crying from the onions was a huge plus!
I hope you enjoy making (and eating) them as much as I did!
- 5 small or 2 large beets peeled
- 5 medium potatoes peeled
- ½ medium onion or more if you prefer
- ¼ cup arrowroot starch
- 2 cups gluten free oatmeal flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- avocado oil for frying
- Grate onions and potatoes in Cuisinart. Transfer to a bowl lined with kitchen towel and squeeze out all the liquid.
- Transfer onion and potatoes to a large, clean bowl.
- Grate beets in Cusinart and add to the potato combination.
- Add arrowroot starch, oatmeal flour, salt and pepper and combine well.
- Pour enough avocado oil into a large pan enough to coat the bottom. You will have to add more oil as you continue frying the latkes.
- Form the potato-beet mixture into flat pancakes in the palm of your hands and place in frying pan.
- Fry latkes 3-4 minutes on each side, then flip to the other side.
- Place on a prepared baking sheet and place in oven set to 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, then transfer latkes to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.