A date and almond-butter smoothie (recipe below) is the perfect way to ease out of eight days of indulgence.
Last night, as our fully lit menorah glowed majestically in the window, I breathed a sigh of relief. The candles’ dwindling light meant that Hanukkah was nearing its end. To be clear, I love Hanukkah and particularly enjoyed spending it this year with , who watched the candles transfixed, and tried honorably (if unsuccessfully) to spin a dreidel.
But when the focal point of a week-long holiday’s food is oil and more oil, it can start to feel a little oppressive. This year, I celebrated Hanukkah early and often, enjoying fried sweet-potato latkes, beet and carrot latkes and regular old spud latkes along the way. There were also doughnuts — alarmingly good dulce de leche and vanilla cream-stuffed doughnuts from Breads Bakery. And, naturally, some gelt.
As much as I love this yearly ritual indulgence — and regard “healthy” substitutes like baked latkes to be a bit of a shande — I am ready to swear off oil for a little while. And with the New Year’s season of detox just around the corner, I will be in good company soon enough.
So what should one eat for breakfast the day after?
The key to a good post-Hanukkah detox, I have found, is to not go cold turkey. You don’t soothe a hangover with cold-pressed green juice, after all. You ease back into reality with a spicy bloody Mary. So instead of waking up to a bowl of chopped cantaloupe, my mind went to smoothies — particularly ones that are protein-enriched and not too sweet. A mixture of dried dates and almond butter seemed like just the thing.
Smoothies made with dates are commonly found in Israel, a country where the little nuggets of congealed honey grow plentifully. Here the combination of sweet bananas and dates render extra sugar unnecessary. And a hit of almond butter and milk (dairy or alternative) ups the nutrition factor. Throw in a couple of tablespoons of flax or chia seeds to boost things even more. The smoothie is filling, nurturing and tastes far too indulgent for detox food, but it is. It is the perfect thing to sip as you say goodbye to Hanukkah’s excess.
Date and Almond-Butter Smoothie
4 pitted Delget dates, roughly chopped
1 medium banana, cut into chunks
1/3 milk (or almond milk) plus more as needed
2 tablespoons almond butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for garnish
5 ice cubes
1) Add dates, banana, 1/3 cup almond milk, almond butter, cinnamon and ice cubes to a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. If smoothie is too thick, drizzle in more almond milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Pour into a glass and garnish with additional cinnamon.
Leah Koenig is the author of “Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen.” She is a contributing editor at the Forward.