• 1/2 small butternut squash
  • 1/4 onion (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • Farmer's cheese, olive oil and salt (mixed together)
  • Apple sauce

If you have tried butternut squash latkes, you know they are awesome and don’t feel as heavy as potato latkes.

Latkes are potato pancakes that are usually eaten during Chanukah, the festival of lights. Per tradition, they are fried in oil as a reminder of the oil lamp that burned for 8 miraculous days during the battle won by the Maccabees. Although oil is a key element of this holiday, my interpretation is to use it differently. I bake my latkes and use the oil as part of a cheese topping, thus honoring the holiday and still keeping it yummy and healthy.

You only need simple ingredients: butternut squash, onion (although it can be omitted as I did here), egg and salt.

Start by peeling the butternut squash. Note – I didn’t use all of the butternut squash and only peeled up to the chubby part.

If you have a food processor, it will take you virtually no time to shred the peeled squash. Otherwise you can also use a grater (like a cheese grater) and do it manually. It can take you 5-15 min to do it manually depending on how fast you can work the grater.

Yes, this looks like cheddar cheese! But I promise you it is grated butternut squash. Trust me, it will not melt when heated up!

The next step you don’t want to forget is to drain it. Taking out the water will make your latke crunchier and more robust. To take out the water I wrap it (spoonfuls at a time) in a paper towel and squeeze it in the sink as much as I can. Tip: make sure you walk to  the sink. I can’t tell you how many times I wasn’t paying attention and squeezed the water right into my bowl! 

After you squeeze out the water, put the drained butternut squash in a separate bowl.

I transferred  the drained butternut squash to my original bowl (because I wanted a larger bowl) and mixed in the egg. If you’d like, you can also add some grated onions at this time as well.

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, make your latke patties. I use a tablespoon as a guiding measure so they are not too big. I also use the tablespoon to flatten the top and to round out the edges.

Cook the latkes at 400F for 40-45 minutes or until they start to brown. You don’t need to flip them.

To make the cheese topping, I mixed a bit of farmer’s cheese, olive oil (here is the oil to honor the holiday) and salt. This is all to taste. I also served it with a dollop of apple sauce.

Latkes this healthy can be enjoyed year-round!