You guys have probably figured out by now that I love me some fats. Fats are an integral part of our diet – they are a slow burning and long lasting energy source, help with inflammation control and management, improve cognitive function, contribute to heart health, and are integral to hormone balance. In fact, every single cell in our body is made up of something called a phospholipid bilayer (lipids being fats), and therefore are a major component to literally the structure of our entire body and existence.
Now of course there are healthy fats, and toxic fats. Fats and oils from high quality whole foods that have been minimally processed such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter, avocado oil, pastured lard etc. are all great. Fats and oils that have been highly processed or hydrogenated are garbage in the body. Not being able to handle them properly, our body sees them only as toxins, elevating inflammation, and contributing to chronic disease. In fact, so much of the fear around fats was tragically misguided by observations regarding these Franken-fats.
Now of course, this is a big subject, and I really just wanted to share a recipe with you in this post, but if you’d like some further reading on the topic of fats…which ones are good, which ones are bad, and what are best for cooking, heating, etc…explore the resources below…
OK, so back to the task at hand…
The reason why I went on a bit of a tangent about fats is that Hanukkah (or Chanukah), the eight-day Jewish festival of light, is all about the fatty and greasy foods. Why? Well, this holiday celebrates the victory of a small group of Jewish rebels over an oppressive Selucid monarchy, and commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Once the temple was rededicated, the Jewish people were eager to relight their ritual candelabrum, called a Menorah, but only had one day’s worth of oil. This small amount of oil miraculously burned for eight days, which is the reason Jews light the special Hanukkah Menorah (Hanukiah) for eight days as well. Jewish people also honour the miracle of the oil by eating oily foods, including latkes, or potato pancakes. Sounds amazing right?
Well, unfortunately along with the fatty festivities comes ample opportunity for people to poison their poor bodies, and in my mind, that’s not a very good way to honour this joyful holiday, God, and the people who fought so hard for freedom. Often, latkes are made using overly processed vegetable oils, and highly refined white flour. But they don’t have to be! You can just as easily use a super stable, and super healthy fat like coconut oil to fry up your fritters, as well as a lower carb, whole food option like coconut flour for the binder. And if you’re worried about the high carb load of the potatoes, or if you’re nightshade sensitive, you don’t even have to go with that particular tuber. There’s a whole wide world of root veggies that not only do the trick, but provide an incredible flavour profile for you to play around with!
So give the following recipe a try, get creative with the seasoning, and dress it up with some probiotic rich yogurt (instead of the traditional sour cream), and some spectacularly spiced sautéed apples (instead of the usual apple sauce), and celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah by spreading some light into the world, and a little fat-love as well.
Root Veggie Latkes with Honey Spiced Sautéed Apples and Greek Yogurt
Prep time: about 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
Makes about two dozen small-medium sized latkes
For the latkes…
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 coves of garlic, minced
- 4 cups grated root veggies (yam, sweet potato, parsnip, carrot) *I like to use the grating/shredding blade on my food processor
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp baharat
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp clove
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Coconut oil as needed (about 1 cup)
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
- Heat a large pan to medium/high heat, and melt about a 3 tbsp - 1/4 cup of coconut in the pan, so that there is about 1/4 inch thick layer coating the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium.
- Form some of the latke batter into a ball, roughly the size of a large golf ball, and gently pat to flatten. Carefully place the pancake in the oil and repeat a couple more times. *Tip: I usually like to cook about 3 or 4 at a time, depending on the size of the pan. You don’t want too many in the pan, otherwise it gets hard to flip them!
- Cook the pancakes for about 1 minute per side, until golden brown.
- Place on some paper towel while you cook up the rest.
- Once the latkes are all cooked, you can place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet to cook a bit more in the oven if you’re worried they’re not fully cooked through. Otherwise, serve them up and top with greek yoghurt, and spiced sautéed apples (recipe below).
For the spiced sautéed apples…
- 2 large apples, cored and sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Heat a medium sized pan to medium heat and melt the coconut oil.
- Add the apples and spices and sauté until soft and beginning to brown or caramelize slightly.
- Drizzle in the honey and sprinkle in the salt, and serve in a bowl or on top of the root veggie latkes with a dollop of greek yogurt.