Five Tips for a Green Hanukkah – Recipe, Vegan Potato Latkes

Perfect Potato Latkes

Hanukkah, the winter festival of lights is celebrated by Jews around the world and begins this year when the first candle is lit at sunset on Tuesday, December twelfth this year.

An eight-day festival marked by the lighting of brightly colored candles commemorates the rededication of the Temple in ancient Jerusalem. The menorah is a candelabrum with nine branches in which a different candle is lit to mark each consecutive night, the primary ritual on Hanukkah. 

The first candle, called the Shamus is taller than the rest and is used to light the remaining candles. One candle is lit the first night, two the second, three the third, and so on until all are lit on the eighth night.

The dreidel is a well-known symbol of Hanukkah with many conflicting stories regarding where the association originated. A dreidel is a spinning top, with four sides, each side featuring  a different Hebrew letter used in a game that children play during Hanukkah.

Five Tips for a Green Hanukkah

1. Hanukkah decorations can deplete the budget and degrade the environment. Avoid plastics and other synthetics labeled as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and polyester. Purchase products made with renewable materials and look for alternative fibers such as cotton, hemp, bamboo and jute.

2. Paraffin candles are often made from petroleum byproducts, a non-renewable resource and when burned produce the same kind of soot as diesel fuel. These carbon emissions include benzene, toluene, methyl ethyl keytone and naphthalene. Organic soy candles are a far better choice.

3. Vegan Chanukah Gelt from Premium Chocolatiers, a No Whey Foods Company and in Vegan Dark Chocolate Hanukkah Gelt from Mama Ganache Organic and Free Trade Artisan Chocolates. These Kosher certified parve chocolate coins are wrapped in gold or silver foil.

4. A favorite Hanukkah tradition is the exchanging of gifts. Planting a tree is a great gift any time of year, but make it special for Hanukkah by planting a tree in Israel. Organizations like The Jewish National Fund will plant a tree in a location of your choice for just 18 dollars with a certificate and your personal message.

5. The table is the best place to go green with plant-based meals. Holidays the world over are observed with special foods and on Hanukkah, Potato Latkes are essential holiday fare. Perfect Potato Latkes are entirely plant-based and absolutely delicious!

Similar to potato pancakes, latkes also contain eggs and are fried in oil. This flavorful rendition contains just a fraction of the fat and zero cholesterol. In place of eggs, we use Japanese-style lite silken tofu to bind the batter. The neutral flavor and silken smooth texture of this type of tofu is like custard, unlike the spongy Chinese style tofu packed in tubs of water.

Unlike the usual potato batter that will quickly begin to leach an off-color liquid into the bowl, our batter maintains fresh color and cohesiveness throughout the cooking process.

The secret? Mashed potato flakes added to the batter helps maintain texture and balance. The clever blend of widely available and easy to use ingredients come together in a snap. Serve these tasty latkes with applesauce or dairy-free sour cream.

Perfect Potato Latkes
The Enlightened Kitchen, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., © Marie Oser, 2000
8 Servings

4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
1/2 (12.3 ounce package) Mori-Nu Lite Silken Tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons whole grain yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup mashed potato flakes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven 200°
Feed potatoes into food processor fitted with grating blade. Drain potatoes on clean white kitchen towel. Next, grate the onions. Place potatoes and onions in large bowl, set aside. Replace grating blade with processing blade. Blend tofu until smooth. Add yeast, flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add soymilk with motor running. Combine tofu mixture with potatoes and onions in a large bowl. Add potato flakes and mix thoroughly. Spray electric skillet, large frying pan or griddle with olive oil cooking spray. Set to medium high heat, and add olive oil. Drop 1/3-cup batter onto hot pan and cook latkes until brown on both sides. Keep warm on baking pan in oven until ready to serve.

Perfect Potato Latkes
Nutrition Analysis: per serving, 3 Latkes
Calories 153, Protein 8g, Carbohydrate 27g, Fiber 4g, Fat 3g, Sat Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 76mg, Sodium 220mg.

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV. Her latest book is The Skinny on Soy.  Follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter