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What To Eat During the Festival of Lights

Our favorite Hanukkah recipes from Tablet’s archives

Stephanie Butnick
December 11, 2014


Hanukkah is nearly upon us, which means eight days of glorious, unbridled eating (that’s what Hanukkah is about, right?). Hanukkah boasts a culinary tradition that skews toward comfort-style foods—latkes, jelly donuts, more latkes—and the oily, delicious classics usually win out. Still, there are many different takes on the Hanukkah menu, from the traditional to the delightfully innovative (see: brisket latkes, below).

In anticipation of the Festival of Lights, which begins Wednesday, Dec. 16 at sundown, we’ve rounded up our favorite Hanukkah recipes from Tablet’s archive. Enjoy, and let us know in the comments if you give any of them a try this holiday season.

How could you go wrong with Joan Nathan’s crispy traditional potato pancakes with apple sauce? As Nathan herself admits, “No matter how many different kinds of pancakes I make for Hanukkah each year—zucchini, carrot, sweet-potato and curry, cauliflower, spinach, or zucchini—the simple potato ones, sizzled in oil until they’re crispy, disappear first.” Amen.

Get the recipe here (or try Nathan’s curry sweet potato latkes here).

Chef (and registered dietitian) Melissa Petitto shared some healthy, creative Hanukkah recipes with Tablet back in 2010, and her inventive Cheddar Gelt Coins were a concoction to remember. Plus, they’re a clever hat tip to the tradition of eating dairy on Hanukkah.

Get the recipe here (there’s also Hanukkah Apple Donut Fritters and Sweet Potato Parsnip Latkes, oh my).

Shannon Sarna is responsible for the biggest Hanukkah miracle since the oil burning for eight days instead of one: Pulled brisket latkes. Sarna, who blogs at The Nosher, explains, “my own style of Jewish cooking isn’t exactly traditional.” For this, and for a dish that ingeniously combines two of the most beloved Jewish foods, we are eternally grateful.

Get the recipe here.

“The word sufganiyot comes from the Greek sufan (‘puffed,’ ‘fried,’ and ‘spongy’) as well as from the Hebrew sofiget (‘water’) and sofeg (‘to blot’),” Joan Nathan explains. Though she points out that Israeli bakers these days fill their sufganiyot with everything from Nutella to lemon curd and foie gras, Nathan offers a classic jelly donut that can’t be beat.

Get the recipe here.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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