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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Healthier Kugels: Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole and Cauliflower and Leek Kugel

Ashkenazi Jews, especially those of Anglo (N. American, British, S. African and Australian) origin, often feel that it is not a holiday or Shabbat meal without the addition of kugels. For years already, I have cut down on my kugel production and consumption after coming to the realization that many of the recipes are just desserts disguised as side dishes and laden with sugar, margarine, flour, etc.

Instead I prepare a whole variety of delicious vegetable dishes, salads, grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. There is no question, however, that a kugel does impart that festive feeling to a meal.  No one said that kugels need to be unhealthy and dessert-like.I'd like to share with you two yummy recipes for healthier than average kugels:

Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole

Ingredients

3 large or 4-5 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch (2 1/2 cm) chunks
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/8 t ground ginger (optional)
1/3 cup candied pecans (in Israel="Pecan Sini")

Directions

Heat Oven to 350 F (180 C)
Lightly grease square, rectangular, or oval baking pan 
In the meantime, boil sweet potato chunks in pot until soft around 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly and mash until smooth in large bowl.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients.  
Spread evenly in baking pan and top with pecans lined up in rows.
Bake 40-45 minutes until it begins to brown around the edges.

Enjoy!






Cauliflower and Leek Kugel

Ingredients

1 package of frozen cauliflower (or 2 fresh medium heads) 6 TBSP olive oil, divided 1 large or 2 medium coarsely chopped leeks or 2 coarsely chopped red or yellow onions 6 TBSP breadcrumbs or matza meal 3 large eggs 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, divided 1 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 1/3 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts, toasted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) Cook cauliflower until tender, put aside in bowl break into smaller pieces or mash slightly if desired Saute leeks in 3 TBSPs of oil until tender and just beginning to color, about 5 mins Add leeks to cauliflower Mix in bread crumbs, set aside. In a seperate bowl mix eggs, 1Tbsp parsley, 1Tbsp dill, salt and pepper and then mix into cauliflower. Pour mixture into 11 x 7 baking pan brushed with one TBSP olive oil, Mix almonds remaining parsley, dill and oil together and sprinkle evenly over kugel. Bake uncovered until set in center and beginning to brown on top, about 35 mins. Let stand 10 mins.
Get a piece before your family and guests finish it,nothing is ever left of this kugel at the end of the meal!