I’ve been thinking about blintzes, a traditional food served on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Pentecost). To make these yummy, creamy, cheese-filled crepes, you fry the crepes, fill them with sweetened cheese, fold them into an envelope shape, and refry. They’re not the healthiest choice for a few reasons:
- They’re fried, twice!
- They contain no vegetables or whole grains
- They’re high in fat from the oil and cheese.
- The filling is sweetened with sugar
- The crepes are mainly eggs, and the filling also contains eggs. This is a concern especially if you are watching your cholesterol.
But blintzes are traditionally for Shavuot. For many people the holiday is just not the same without them.
There are a few different approaches to this common dilemma.
You can say that the holiday is once a year. You’re going to enjoy it and not feel guilty.
You can go to the other extreme and skip the blintzes, which are time-consuming to make, and serve fish or a vegetarian dish with lots of salads and whole grains.
Or you can do something in between—serve the blintzes alongside other less traditional, but healthier, foods. That way everyone can have a taste of their favorites. Another compromise is to make the blintzes healthier, and hope that they still satisfy the traditionalists.
How to make healthier blintzes (cheese-filled crepes)
- Use a non-stick pan to make the crepes, spraying oil on the pan in between each crepe.
- Use part or all whole-wheat flour. The crepes won’t be as thin and crisp.
- Use low-fat, or no-fat cheese.
- Cut the sugar in the filling.
- Fill some or all of the blintzes with sauteed onions or mushrooms, or other vegetables, instead of cheese.
- Bake the blintzes in a greased pan instead of frying them in the last step (thanks to Norene Gilletz’s Pleasures of Your Food Processor for that tip).
- Serve with a marinara sauce instead of white sauce, sugar (!), or sour cream.
What approach do you take when it comes to traditional, yet unhealthy foods?
More Shavuot recipe ideas:
I’ll post a recipe for blintzes tomorrow.