Happy Rosh Hashanah, and vegetarian meal ideas

It’s that time of year: The entire nation is packing into grocery stores and markets, as if no food will be left come the Jewish new year. Actually, that’s pretty much how we prepare for any Jewish holiday.

By now, most of you probably know what you’re eating for the very long Rosh Hashanah weekend, which starts in a few hours and ends Saturday night. Our meal will be dairy, as always, and here are a few of the dishes I’m preparing:

  • Blue cheese lasagna with figs and zucchini, an elegant dish that incorporates a few of the Biblical seven species (wheat and figs).
  • My classic challah, which is so good that you won’t want to eat anything else for dinner.
  • Matzo ball soup, since matzo balls are a great way to celebrate any holiday. I think I’ll be putting celery, carrots and fennel into the broth this time around.

I’m sure we’ll be having a bunch of salads, ideally a few that encorporate the many symbols of the holiday. Rosh Hashanah has a surplus of food-related symbols based on puns, generally Hebrew puns, including carrots, leeks, fenugreek, black-eyed peas, squash (or pumpkin), chard and beet. My family never really had any traditions involving symbols beyond the basic apples and honey, but they are quite popular, and they do make for good salads. My husband knows a rabbi who serves English holiday symbols — celery stuffed with raisins, so the new year may bring you a rais in your celery.

I have some lovely beet salad recipes including beets with labaneh and wine-vinegar marinated beets, and lots of pumpkin recipes including this great coconut pumpkin soup.

Other dishes incorporating holiday symbols include this pasta stuffed with apples and honey, which I made for last year’s meal, and a seasonal fig salad.

For more on the holiday:

  • Sarah covers the many holiday symbols
  • Gilt taste tells you what not to do in order to save yourself from holiday embarrassment (via Miriyummy). Though I disagree with one of the points: I think Manischewitz would make a great sangria. Given the many excellent kosher wines, that’s about the only thing Manischewitz is good for.

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