This year, for the first time since Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in 1863, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day. This is a very rare occurrence. The Jewish calendar is slowly going out of sync with the solar calendar, which means the overlap won’t happen again for over 70,000 years. This once-in-a-lifetime combined holiday has been dubbed “Thanksgivukah” (or “Thanksgivukkah,” depending on how you want to spell it) by many American Jews, who will be celebrating both holidays at the same time.
Here are a few recipes I’ve developed for an irresistible Thanksgivukah menu. No matter which holidays you celebrate, these recipes are seasonal and delish. For more recipes, check out my Thanksgivukah recipe section on ToriAvey.com.
1. Sweet Potato Latkes with Brown Sugar Syrup & Candied Pecans (pictured above)
During Hanukkah, it is Jewish tradition to eat food that is deep fried in oil, a tasty and caloric reminder of the Holy Temple miracle. Once a year, we are given guilt-free rein to enjoy fried foods—like latkes! I prefer my latkes savory and salty, but Thanksgiving tradition calls for a sweeter version. The good news is, these latkes can go both ways. Sprinkle them with salt for a savory treat, or satisfy your sweet tooth by drizzling them with brown sugar syrup and a sprinkle of cayenne candied pecans. Click here for the recipe.
When Thanksgiving, or in this case Thanksgivukah, rolls around, we expect certain foods to be on the buffet. Stuffing, or dressing if you prefer, is one of those dishes. I like to prepare my stuffing in the slow cooker. This frees up oven space and makes the holiday prep just a little less manic. Knowing that the stuffing is slowly cooking, filling the air with delicious herby aroma, gives me one less thing to worry about. Challah, the traditional Jewish braided egg bread, makes an excellent base for flavorful stuffing—perfect for Thanksgivukah! Click here for the recipe.
This dish was inspired by my desire to create a lighter alternative to classic, but heavy, green bean casseroles. It’s simple, yet it provides a symphony of flavors. The feta adds saltiness, the pine nuts crunch. I added dates to a balsamic reduction sauce, then drizzled the whole dish with it. The result was sweet, tart, tangy, salty and superb! Cut the feta cheese and sprinkle with a little extra salt if you’re planning a kosher meat meal for the holidays. Click here for the recipe.
No Thanksgivukah dinner would be complete without a gorgeous, golden turkey on the buffet. This Classic Roast Turkey is always a crowd pleaser. The optional brine adds moisture and flavor to the turkey, and the aromatics add lots of flavor. Click here for the recipe.
This simple and crave-worthy recipe can be made with butter or dairy-free. Matzo is traditional for the Jewish holiday of Passover; many Jews use it year round as a breading substitute and to make matzo ball soup. This fruit crisp with a sweet matzo crumble topping is so easy to put together, a seasonal and scrumptious option for Thanksgivukah or just because. Who can resist the power of a warm, freshly baked fruit crisp? Add a scoop of ice cream and prepare to swoon! Click here for the recipe.
Every year during the week of Hanukkah, it’s our family tradition to make what we call “levivot,” crispy fluffy fritters made from a simple batter. Some Sephardic Jewish families sweeten these fritters with warm honey and call them bimuelos, or bunuelos. This chocolate version I developed is sort of a cross between a bimuelo and a beignet. Freshly fried, piping hot fritters dusted with powdered sugar, then drizzled with ooey gooey chocolate sauce… holy moly, who can resist? Click here for the recipe.
Tori Avey is a food writer, recipe developer, and the creator of the popular cooking website ToriAvey.com. She explores the story behind the food—why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Find her onFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.