By: Chana Banayan
Yield: 9 medium latkes
2 cups of finely packed shredded celery knobs
½ cup of onions, grated
1 ½ tsp. of ground flaxseeds
2 egg whites, slightly whipped
1 whole egg
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional ¼ cup finely chopped swiss chard (without the stem), or a similar green vegetable
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients together.
- Form 9 pancake-like shapes from the batter. Place them on parchment paper. Lightly spray oil over the latkes.
- Bake until both sides are golden brown.
When Jessica Pearl approached me to send over Chanukah recipes for the winter newsletter, I felt compelled to revise my old latke recipe. It was exciting to develop a brand-new recipe that dietitians may approve as a healthier choice than the traditional potato latke. I would love to hear your responses as you try these recipes. One consideration in choosing the main vegetable was to exceed potatoes nutritional values in some of the macro and micronutrients. The winners were: Celery knob and yellow beets.
In this recipe, celery knob is known to aid the digestive and immune system. Among others it has vitamins C and B6, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium. Since it does have less fiber than potato does, I added the flaxseed into the mixture. As we know, flaxseed would need to be grounded to benefit its omega 3 qualities and antioxidants lignants. Another aspect of celery knob is that it has less than half of the carbohydrate found in potatoes. Surprisingly, using celery knob as the base of the latke does not compromise on the appearance or taste of the latke. In addition, I discovered that the shredded celery knob has a thicker texture than potatoes, and does not seep as shredded potatoes naturally do, which is a plus when preparing the mixture ahead of time.
Chanukah is both an oil and dairy related holiday. Historically, the royal Hasmonean family overpowered and was victorious over the Greeks. The Jews searched and found only a single cruse of pure olive oil, just enough to light the menorah for a single day. One of the many miracles we are celebrating is that they lit the menorah with this oil for eight days; hence many celebrate today lighting menorahs with olive oil and eating “oily foods”. Therefore, traditionally, we fry Chanukah latkes. Both discussed recipes have been tested fried and baked. One could skip the oil and still have a nutritional side dish, however, many of us were raised to long for that specific taste that frying has imbued in our childhood memories. In this culinary experiment, I compared the latkes in baking with frying. For baking, I suggest lightly spraying the top of the latkes beforehand. This was sufficient to yield a good consistency, and a golden brownish color. I found that the beets latke looked better when they were baked instead of fried. For frying, I suggest using no more than one spoon of oil for every two latkes. Note that the latkes should not be deep-frying in a lot of oil, like traditional recipes. I prefer using avocado oil. Some like using canola oil, but have in mind that it should be expeller-pressed or cold pressed oil that’s also organic or non-GMO. Pure olive oil, a blend of virgin and refined oils, is also adequate for pan frying because it has a higher smoke point than other olive oils.