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Oil played an important role in the origin of Hanukkah, so meals during the eight-day holiday typically feature many fried foods to commemorate that history. If you’re looking for a lighter way to celebrate the Festival of Lights, try the following whole-food, plant-based tributes to some traditional favorites.

Check out our complete archive of vegan holiday recipes for more ideas for entertaining.

Green Bean and Potato Knishes

Though knishes’ exact origin is unknown, they’re believed to have originated between 400 and 600 years ago. Once you’ve tried these savory hand pies, it’s easy to see why they’ve stood the test of time. Be sure to finely dice the potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and onion; this will make it easier to fold the dough over the filling when it comes time for assembly.

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Creamy Vegan Spinach Knishes

Silken tofu adds creaminess to the filling, which also features sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, spinach, and aromatics that get cooked together in a skillet until their flavors merge. You can use any variety of fresh mushrooms that you have on hand.

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Chickpea and Baby Beet Salad

Beets aren’t just the main ingredient in borscht; the bright-red root vegetables are a key ingredient in many Ashkenazi dishes. In this easy salad, their earthy flavor grounds the tangy taste of quick-pickled red onions.

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Tricolor Sweet Potato Kugel

Six ingredients and a little salt and pepper are all you need to make this comforting casserole recipe from Vegetarian Hall of Famer Chef Mark Reinfeld. Use a few different varieties of sweet potato for colorful contrast. In place of egg, this vegan kugel uses a chia-seed gel to bind the mixture of grated potato and onion. Bake until crispy on top, garnish with fresh dill, and serve with a dollop of Tofu Sour Cream for a seriously satisfying potato-powered dish.

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Herbed Vegan Matzo Ball Soup

Though traditionally served during Passover, this hearty, savory soup can be enjoyed all year round. A simple yet highly slurpable veggie broth, infused with dill and miso paste, serves as the backdrop for the homemade vegan matzo balls, which consist of quinoa, flaxseeds, seasonings, and crushed matzo crackers. Low in fat but packed with flavor, this vegan matzo ball soup is perfect for chilly nights.

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Potato-Corn Latkes

Potato pancakes, or latkes, are a favorite dish for Hanukkah and make for great cold-weather comfort food. You can bake these oil-free latkes in the oven or an air-fryer. Serve with applesauce and/or vegan sour cream.

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Jelly Doughnut Holes

This recipe offers a healthy take on another traditional Hanukkah treat. Our sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) are baked, rather than deep-fried, and filled with fruit-only preserves for a wholesome dessert. If you want to really go all out, make your own jam for the filling.

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Belle Plummer7 months ago
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I need vegan Passover recipes. The not-chicken soup will work but I have family coming and guests so I need non-grain containing recipes. Our background allows grain-like subs such as Quinoa and kasha. The matzo is, ok, of course.

Shelley Cooper9 months ago
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Thank you so much for the creative Hanukkah recipes!!!
I’m going to make the Tricolor Sweet Potato Kugel this week for Hanukkah.

Maor9 months ago
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Thank you for your acknowledgement of the Jewish followers of the WFPB diet!

Katie Parsons2 years ago
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I was really pleased to find a healthy version of these foods, thank you!

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Courtney Davison

Courtney Davison is Forks Over Knives’ managing editor. A writer and editor on a wide range of subjects, she co-wrote a nationally syndicated advice column from 2016 to 2018 and co-authored the 2018 book Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice from Dear Annie. She is a longtime vegan and in her free time enjoys trying new recipes and spending quality time with her cats. Find her on LinkedIn.

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