5 Healthy Hanukkah Dinner Recipes

Light the menorah and sit down to a traditional dinner with our delicious, nutritious Hanukkah recipes.

December 10, 2009

Hanukkah starts at sundown tonight, and you may already be anticipating your favorite holiday foods. If you're responsible for any meals as you gather with family and friends during the Festival of Lights, consider going the extra mile and preparing your Hanukah recipes with organic and locally grown ingredients. For example, when shopping for this dinner menu, look for organic apples, potatoes, and green beans grown without the use of harmful pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and genetic engineering. More and more locally grown produce can be found in larger grocery stores these days. Alternatively, local farms, farmers markets and co-ops are good sources of locally grown food.

Check out the Rodale Recipe Finderas you plan for this year's holiday—these tweaked versions of traditional Hannukah recipes favorites are sure to please.


#1: Potato Pancakes over Baby Greens. Feel free to either stick to traditional potato latkes made with white potatoes or swap them with pancakes made from sweet potatoes; white and sweet potatoes each have their own nutritional benefits. White potatoes have more essential minerals like potassium, iron and magnesium, while sweet potatoes contain more fiber and vitamin A. If you're going the sweet potato route, try this recipe with added apples, scallions, and dill.

#2: Applesauce. You can feel good about serving the traditional bowl of applesauce alongside those latkes; a good source of vitamin C and fiber, apples also contain health-boosting antioxidant flavonoids. Studies show that apples help fight diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The apple varieties with the most antioxidants are Red Delicious, Northern Spy, Cortland, Ida Red, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh, according to a Canadian study. Choose your favorites to vary the texture and sweetness of this recipe according to your taste.

#3: Pumpkin Kugel. Be sure to incorporate healthful veggies into your side dishes. A cup of pumpkin puree (look for organic varieties) adds nutrition as well as seasonal flavor to noodle kugel. Pumpkin is a fantastic source of beta-carotene, which our bodies use to make the vision-preserving, disease-fighting antioxidant vitamin A. Just a mere half a cup of pumpkin provides almost 200 percent of our daily requirement of this vitamin. Pumpkin also contains vitamin E, fiber, copper, manganese, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin C. Round out the side dishes with these a

green beans roasted with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and basil.

#4: Challah Bread Braid. We won't insist that you tamper with your favorite matzo ball soup recipe, though you might try this flavorful version made with egg whites and less oil. And would it kill you to at least use whole wheat matzo meal? In any case, serve it with this lower-calorie, lower-fat, and lower-cholesterol version of the traditional eggy challah bread.

#5: Braised Beef Brisket. Succulent beef brisket is loaded with iron, which is used by our bodies to form hemoglobin, which helps red blood cells shuttle oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron also plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system. If your family likes a little heat, try a

; the sauce is spiked with jalapeños and paprika. When buying this feast's brisket, try to find pastured or free-range meat to ensure that the animal was raised outdoors (not on a factory farm) and fed a diet free of added hormones and antibiotics.
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