There are lots of things I love about Chanuakah. I love spending time with family, watching the candles burn as we sing Chanukkah songs. I love watching how excited my kids get about playing dreidel. And of course, I love the food. 8 days of decadent fried treats, from the traditional latkes and sufganiot to the less traditional deep fried cookie dough and cheese bunuelos, I love it all. But if I am being totally honest, I don’t love the way I feel after indulging in so much fried heavy foods. I usually try to offset some of the grease by serving a big kale salad alongside all the fried dishes but even with that nod to something green the heaviness of the traditional Chanukkah treats is a bit much.
That’s why this year I decided to come up with a Chanukkah menu that celebrates the miracle of the oil in a healthier, less deep fried, way. Don’t worry, it is still totally delicious, but it has the advantage of not leaving you feeling weighed down and unable to move by the end of the holiday. In fact, this menu is paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free, but it tastes so good no one would ever suspect it is so healthy.
Since it wouldn’t be Chanukkah without latkes I start off the meal with Beet Latkes topped with Horseradish and Smoked Fish. They are crispy and just a bit sweet with a nice kick of spicy from the horseradish and smokiness from the fish. I discovered that using the sprializer to cut the beets yields the crispiest latkes, but if you don’t have a spiralizer, grated beets will work too.
The main dish, Olive Oil Poached Salmon, features olive oil in a bit of an unusual way. Salmon is poached, not in water, but in olive oil, which creates a wonderful silky texture in the cooked fish. The salmon comes out super moist and deliciously flavorful, truly a treat. Once the salmon is cooked the leftover oil is great as the base for a homemade Ceasar dressing. Serve the salmon along side any simply cooked vegetables or a large salad to complete the meal.
No meal would be complete without dessert, so I decided to finish off my menu with some Olive Oil Mandarin Chocolate Truffles. Olive oil might seem like a strange addition to a dessert, but the fruitiness of a good olive oil goes wonderfully with chocolate. It is not an assertive flavor, the mandarin flavor stands out more, but the olive oil rounds out the flavor so that the last lingering flavor from the truffles is a bit more interesting and enticing than your typical truffle. It also gives it a lush and creamy texture that just melts in your mouth.
With this healthy Chanukkah menu you can celebrate all that is wonderful about the miracle of the oil without that heavy feeling. That is something else to love this Chanukkah season.