Latkes are a staple for Hanukkah, but unfortunately, they are one of the items on the menu guaranteed to push blood sugar sky high. In addition, many recipes call for matzo flour or regular flour, which puts it off the menu for those with gluten sensitivities. Excluding guests is not exactly what you want for a celebration!
Fortunately, there are several options that will meet the needs of both types of guests, without having to make several types of latkes or risking gluten contamination.
The first and most effective way to cut back on the carb count of your latkes is to find a good substitute for potatoes.
Many root vegetables can be substituted. Some people substitute sweet potatoes, which still have a fairly high carb count and do change the flavor quite a bit. Here is a list of various root vegetables to consider, along with their carb counts, in descending order of carb content. Note the first three are very high carb, presented for comparison’s sake:
- Sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed: per cup, 50 g of carbs and 8 g of fiber
- Potatoes, boiled and mashed: per cup, 29 g of carbs and 3 g of fiber
- Yams, boiled and mashed: per cup, 25 g of carbs and 5 g of carbs
- Parsnips, boiled: per cup, 20 g of carbs and 6 g of fiber
- Rutabagas, boiled: per cup, 17 g of carbs and 4 g of fiber
- Beets, boiled: per cup, 14 g of carbs and 3 g of fiber
- Celery root (celeriac), raw: per cup, 7 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber
- Jicama, raw, per cup: 11 g of carbs and 6 g of fiber
- Turnips, boiled: per cup, 7g of carbs and 5 g of fiber1
Radishes and fennel are also root vegetables, but a strong departure from traditional latkes in flavor. Celery root and jicama both are very mild in flavor. The trick for boiling turnips to get rid of the bitterness, adding a little cream to the boiling water, can only be used if you’re not eating meat at your meal. Given that you’ll likely be serving brisket, celeriac or jicama are better choices.
Another simple substitute for potatoes is cauliflower. It’s easily cooked and mashed, and doesn’t have a strong flavor. In addition, it has only 5.3 g of carbs per cup cooked, with 2.5 g of fiber, leaving only 2.8 g of net carbs! This, combined with its abundance, low cost during the winter and ease of preparation, makes it an excellent substitute for potatoes in latkes.
Gluten-free Matzo Options
Many traditional recipes call for matzo flour, which can itself be a trick to find unless you’re in a bigger city. This contains not only a high level of carbs, but gluten. There are several options open to you that avoid both:
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Hazelnut or walnut flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Low carb flours (although they may not be kosher)
- Adjust a recipe that doesn’t call for flour
Natural Low Carb, Gluten-free Latke Recipe
Yummy and traditional at Hanukkah, but you don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy these! Serve with Sour Cream and Dill topping or Sour Cream and Mint topping (no recipe–just mix the herb into sour cream). Recipe used by permission from Good Life Menus.
. 16 Servings
2 Eggs 2 Egg whites 1 small onion, peeled 2 1 lb Frozen cauliflower packages, thawed 1 Cauliflower head 2 tablespoons Coconut flour or buckwheat flour (gluten-free and low carb) salt and pepper to taste
oil: olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil. The author prefers expeller-pressed coconut oil for its high flashpoint and stability at high temperatures.
Instructions Process eggs and onion using a food processor and knife blade, until chopped well. Add cauliflower, coconut or buckwheat flour and seasonings. Mix until finely chopped; do not over-process. Wipe a frying pan with a paper towel dipped in oil (to get the edges) and add enough to form a nice puddle of oil. Put on medium heat. Wait until it sizzles when a drop of water is flicked into it, and drop batter by tablespoonfuls into pan. Sauté four-five minutes until firm and browned on both sides.2
1All nutritional data from www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/
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