|Spiced Pear Kugel with Oat Crumble (dairy free)|
One of the best parts about being Jewish is the FOOD. Judaism and I go together like peas and carrots, literally. There is always food at Jewish gatherings (with the exception of Yom Kippur, which does eventually end in a meal), and I love this for several reasons: 1) food is awesome 2) Jewish food, while less known than other cultural cuisines, is absolutely delectable. and...
3) Most importantly, the eats provided at such gatherings is a vehicle for shared expressions of love or mourning or celebration or whatever the sentiment may be! These dishes catalyze memories, as well as a sense comfort and abundance, which hasn't always been a give for the Jewish people.
One of the dishes I've been introduced to, since meeting my husband's family, is NOODLE KUGEL.
Y'all. Noodle Kugel may be one of the most addictive dishes in the history of food: carby, creamy, fatty and sweet...it's definitely a "once you pop you can't stop" situation. *Note: there is savory kugel as well; that's just not the way we do it.
While I will never, NEVER try to crowd out my husband's grandmother's recipe, I am proud to serve this next to her version (you better believe I'll enjoy both).
I went the dairy-free route for my healthier kugel, because as much as a love dairy, it can be difficult to digest. It can also lead to skin breakouts, especially during the holidays, when it is particularly abundant. By subbing the dairy for tofu, cashew butter, pureed pears and Kite Hill (or another brand) vegan cream cheese but still using (pasture-raised) eggs, I've maintained the protein factor. Instead of copious white sugar, I use a more moderate amount of maple syrup—but enough to be decadent and treat-like.
Lastly, I couldn't help but top mine with a lovely crumble topping, which adds extra bursts of flavor and texture in each bite!
As a result, my kugel is luscious and creamy, but it is satisfying, and it will be less likely to spark carb and sugar cravings. I decided to keep the traditional use of extra-wide egg noodles, but feel free to use whatever noodles you like!
Lastly, if you'd rather just use dairy, that's totally cool! Just look for the highest quality dairy you can find (plain, full fat and from pasture-raised cows).
If you love kugel but dread how you feel after indulging, I hope you'll give my version a try! If you do, please tag me with pictures on Instagram so I can see your creations! @lauraleabalanced #llbalanced!