Selection of fruits and vegetables
(iStock)

Dress up your Rosh Hashanah meal with flavorful accompaniments.

This year, Rosh Hashanah literally begins on Labor Day. So, while you may miss grilled burgers and hot dogs (have them on Sunday, the day before!), you’ll get to see and celebrate with loved ones and have a day off from your regular life. It may seem “early” (I don’t remember the last time Rosh Hashanah was on a secular holiday), but we know it’s actually not early on the Jewish calendar.

Side dishes are the best way to add contrasting flavors, colors and textures to the holiday meal. After all, nothing is as boring as a very plain entrée coupled with a plain accompaniment.

These beautifully textured and colorful holiday sides will make any meal better. And because it’s still summer, they’ll balance your typical “heavy” meal of brisket and chicken.

But if you feel your holiday meal is better as a hot dog and hamburger grill-fest, have at it. As long as you’re together, every day is a holiday.

Chopped Salad with Pears, Dates Walnuts and Feta with Honey Balsamic Dressing

Ingredients

  • 12 cups (packed) 1-inch chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 1 ripe pear or apple, cut into thin wedges
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup slice pitted dates
  • ½ cup (or more to taste) walnut halves (or pecans), lightly toasted or not
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp. honey (any kind)
  • 2 tsp. grained Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour all the dressing over the salad and toss well. Makes 6 servings.

Honey, Garlic, Lime and Ginger Roasted Sesame Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds haricot vert (thin green beans), stem ends trimmed (but otherwise left whole)
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds (any color or mix of colors)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt or 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. melted honey (I melt it in the microwave for 20 seconds)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Directions

Preheat oven to 425˚. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment. Set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Arrange on the baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet. Adjust salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 or more servings. 

Persian Jeweled Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • One 4-inch whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 5 cups water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped shelled pistachios
  • ½ cup golden or green raisins
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. Fresh grated orange zest or peel

Directions

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice, seasonings and spices and stir well. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 20-minutes. If there is still water in the pan, remove from heat and keep the rice covered until the water evaporates. Transfer rice to a large bowl and allow to cool to warm. 

Gently mix in the remaining ingredients, adjust salt to taste and serve at room temperature. Makes 8 servings. 

Quick Vegetable Soup with Olive Oil Drizzle 

I serve this with shaved Parmesan cheese garnish

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup small diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 6 cups water, vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can (about 15 ounces) canned beans, chickpeas or lentils drained and rinsed (any variety)
  • 1 cup unpeeled redskin potatoes, cut into ¾ inch dice
  • 4 cups mixed fresh or frozen vegetables, thawed (I used corn, green beans, peas and baby okra)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, about 5-minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve the soup drizzled with olive oil and garnished with fresh shaved or grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Makes 8 or more servings. 

Delicious Vegetable, French Green Beans or Haricots Verts
iStock
Roasted Little Potatoes with Tahini

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds small red-skin or colored potatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup fresh cut parsley (or 2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375˚. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Combine potatoes, oil and garlic in a large bowl and toss well. Transfer to the baking sheet and cook, uncovered for 30-minutes or until just tender. Serve tossed with tahini, parsley and with salt, pepper to taste. Makes 8 servings.  

Baked Layered Eggplant, Zucchini, Tomatoes and Feta

Ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ pounds zucchini, sliced into thin rings
  • 1½ pounds small eggplants, cut into thin rings
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1 can (28-ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 cup crumbled cheese: Feta, goat or shredded Parmesan are good choices
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ⅓ cup panko or coarse dry breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush an attractive glass or ceramic baking dish with olive oil.  

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and chickpeas and cook over moderate heat until softened, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until slightly softened and bubbling, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Shingle the eggplant and zucchini in the baking dish (layering them around the dish, overlapping the slices). Top with tomato, onion, chickpea mix. Top with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Mix the panko with the 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle over the vegetables. Bake for 20 minutes more. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 or more servings. 

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