With Hanukkah just around the corner, many are planning to include a big plate of pan-fried potato latkes as part of their celebration. For cancer patients and their caregivers, however, the traditional preparation of this holiday treat can seem a little heavy. For patients prone to nausea or upset stomach as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation treatment, sitting down to an enormous plate of potatoes and onions, sour cream and applesauce may not hold the appeal that it did prior to treatment.
With a few smart substitutions, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a traditional dish this holiday season. Our version of latkes is made with fresh spaghetti squash instead of the traditional starchy potatoes for a latke that is lighter and healthier, while maintaining the classic flavor and texture everyone loves.
Why spaghetti squash? When shredded with a fork, the texture of spaghetti squash is very similar to shredded potatoes, which keeps the dish feeling familiar and traditional. For cancer patients, the substitution carries additional health benefits not found in the humble (and generally nutritionally void) Russet potato. Spaghetti squash is an excellent source of vitamin A, high in vitamin C and a good source of potassium, an essential nutrient typically lost during a bout with upset stomach. Spaghetti squash is also rich in carotenoids, including beta carotene and alpha carotene, which according to the National Institute of Health
may help fight or prevent some types of cancer. The body converts these antioxidants to vitamin A, a critical nutrient for supporting immune function and helping maintain healthy cells.
A clever twist on a traditional holiday meal that’s lighter, healthier and may even help fight cancer? Your Hanukkah latkes just became superfoods.
Spaghetti Squash Superfood Latkes
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup pecorino Romano, grated
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour (or GF oat flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Peanut oil, for frying
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds, being careful not to remove too much of the flesh of the squash. Drizzle with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet, cut side up, until tender, about 40 minutes.
When squash is cool, use a fork to shred the flesh of the squash into strands. Transfer to paper towels, and lightly press to remove excess moisture. Transfer squash to a large bowl, and toss with green onions, chopped parsley and minced garlic. Add egg, pecorino Romano, chickpea flour, salt and pepper. Continue mixing until well combined.
Using an ice cream scoop (or your hands), form mixture into patties, and set aside. In a large pan over medium high heat, heat one tablespoon of peanut oil until just before smoking, and working in batches, add a few of the formed latke patties. Fry for two minutes, or until patties hold their shape; flip, and cook until both sides are golden brown and crispy, about two minutes more. Transfer cooked latkes to a stack of paper towels to allow excess oil to drain. Repeat with the remaining latke patties, adding more peanut oil to the pan as needed.
Serve latkes hot, with sour cream, plain yogurt or crème fraîche.