Monday Meal Makeover: Leek Latkes

Latkes are traditionally made with potatoes and eaten during Hanukkah, but this recipe is made with leeks instead. A few other ingredients are added for flavor: pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and cilantro.

So here's an opportunity to add a different, albeit, healthy dish to your Passover Seder, perhaps starting a new tradition.

Happy Pesach!

What you need:

6 leeks (about 2 pounds)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for frying

1 large onion, peeled and diced

6 cloves garlic, or to taste, peeled and diced

4 shallots, peeled and diced

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/2 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup), diced

2 large eggs

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup matzoh meal, plus 1/3 cup for coating


1. Cut leeks lengthwise, and wash them well to remove any grit. Dice the leeks, and either steam them or place them in boiling salted water for about five to seven minutes, or until they are tender. Drain leeks well, pressing them in a dish towel to remove any excess water.

2. Heat oil in nonstick frying pan, and add onion, garlic and shallots. Saute until soft, about five minutes.

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place pine nuts on a baking pan, and toast for a few minutes until evenly browned.

4. Place leeks, onion, garlic, shallots, pine nuts, cilantro, eggs and cheese in a mixing bowl, and blend well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1/2 cup matzoh meal, or enough to bind.

5. Take about 1/4 cup of the leek mixture, and make a patty 2 inches in diameter. Coat patty with matzoh meal, and repeat with remaining mixture.

6. Coat a nonstick frying pan thinly with remaining olive oil, and fry the patties for a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Yield: 16 large latkes

Total time: 1 hour

Joan Nathan, noted cookbook author and TV host, appeared recently at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - a Living Memorial to the Holocaust with Laura Alpern Manischewitz where they shared Passover memories. Her cookbook, "The New American Cooking," published in 2005, won the prestigious James Beard and IACP awards. Joan has written nine other cookbooks, and her TV show, "Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan," appears on PBS. In 2000, the show was nominated for the James Beard award for Best National Television Food Show. Visit to learn more.