Like all good holidays, Hanukkah is a time of feasting. We know that sometimes eating differently at family events can be tricky, but we’ve got you covered
At this time of year, the Jewish community celebrates Hanukkah, and the miracle oil that kept the candles burning for eight days while the Maccabees fought for the Holy Temple. Today that means spending time with family and friends, enjoying latkes, doughnuts, and other tasty treats fried in oil.
Here’s our guide to a happy vegan Hanukkah: how to eat well, celebrate, and deal with inquisitive family members with questions about your dietary choices!
A Vegan Hanukkah Meal
Lots of the traditional foods served at Hanukkah aren’t vegan by default. But luckily, they’re super easy to veganise!
Let’s start with latkes: no Hanukkah would be complete without these tasty fried potato pancakes. Try this recipe from I Love Vegan, which doesn’t require any fancy ingredients like egg replacer. Top with vegan sour cream or applesauce and enjoy!
Another regular on the Hanukkah table is brisket: while you could just replace this part of the meal with lots of delicious plant-based dishes, if you’re feeling ambitious, try this vegan brisket from My Jewish Learning.
If you’re still hungry, this roundup of 21 vegan Hanukkah recipes has some great ideas.
Accidentally Vegan Hanukkah Treats
If you’re in a hurry but still want to whip up something tasty for a Hanukkah meal, these store-bought Hanukkah foods are all cruelty-free and ready to eat.
Craving a comforting bowl of matzoh ball soup? Rejoice! Most matzoh ball mix is already vegan – just make sure to check the package before you buy it.
Pick up some vegan gelt for a happy game of spin the dreidel (these vegan gelt coins are also nut-free and certified kosher).
No gathering or celebration is complete without bagels. Vegan cream cheese is easy to find in most large supermarkets, whole foods stores or online – try Daiya, Tofutti or Kite Hill (you could even make some carrot lox to go with it!).
Dealing With Family And Friends
Hanukkah is actually a great time to talk about veganism: the Jewish commandment tsa’ar ba’alei chayim means not causing unnecessary suffering to animals. What better way to honour that commandment than celebrating a completely vegan Hanukkah? Take the opportunity to host a delicious Hanukkah meal for your loved ones, and show them just how tasty a cruelty-free Hanukkah dinner can be.
If you’re heading to a Hanukkah dinner hosted by someone else, offer to bring a dish or two with you. Not only will this help out your host (who may or may not be confident cooking for vegans), but it gives you a chance to wow your non-vegan family and friends with your tasty food!
If you’re bombarded with questions about being vegan during the holidays, remember that most people are just curious. Be friendly and respectful – you might even find that some of your friends and relatives are interested in giving veganism a try, so remember to direct them to the Veganuary pledge!