Cooking Jewish food with Olive Oil

We all love Hanukkah, the festival that celebrates the miracle that occurred in Israel two millennium ago.. The miracle happened with the oil of the humble olive, one of the seven species of the land of Israel. When pressed and under duress, the olive produces a magnificent drop of pure oil. And what is magnificent as well as miraculous about olive oil?

It’s not just that the chemical properties in the oil ignite to produce a strong and steady flame that chases away the darkness. That’s incredible enough! It’s not just that olive oil can be soothingly rubbed on our dry, chapped and irritated skin to provide instant relief, as well as being used in healing massage for aching muscles. That’s another couple of reasons to be grateful!

There is even a very high level content of a specific type of very beneficial monounsaturated fat, (particularly oleic acid) uniquely abundant in olive oil that many studies suggest can be linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. There is also evidence that the anti-oxidants in olive oil improve cholesterol regulators and increase LDL cholesterol reduction. Olive oil is even purported to have other anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertension effects!

This Hanukkah celebrate the miracle of olive oil with these delicious, healthy dips that can be lavished generously on salads, baked fish, cooked whole grains like brown rice, millet and quinoa or on oven-baked latkes.

Since the miracle occurred with olive oil, we can enhance our deep sense of appreciation for the gift of life and commemorate our celebration of life by eating these very healthy, life-enhancing dips. Each one contains ingredients rich with anti-cancer and heart-sustaining properties. Wholesome, vibrant ingredients like turmeric, basil, garlic, nuts, fresh parsley and tomatoes, all combined with olive oil can have a truly miraculous effect on our health.


Hanukkah Pesto
  • ¼ cup of walnuts
  • 1-2 cups of fresh basil
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Blend briefly in a food processor.


Spicy Oil Tomato Dip
  • 2-3 chopped ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup minced parsley
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp hot paprika
  • 2-4 Tb olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin

Mix together ingredients by hand or blend briefly in food processor


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, mashed OR 4 cloves roasted garlic, mashed

Mix by hand or blend


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tb turmeric powder

Mixed by hand


  • 3 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup soy or almond milk (or juice)
  • 1/2 cup date spread (or 100% fruit jam)
  • ½ cup olive oil, divided

Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir eggs, vanilla, liquid and ¼ cup oil in a separate bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Knead gently. Take about 1/4 cup of dough, form a small ball, and spoon in a tsp of date spread. (You can also use a jelly syringe.)

Fold over the dough to cover up the date spread and keep the round shape.

Generously coat an oven tray with the rest of the olive oil. Spread the sufganiyot evenly on the tray and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Check on them, and turn them over to brown on both sides. **

Makes about 18 sufganiyot.

** Okay, okay, you can fry these in the olive oil on the stove top and then drain them on paper towels.