74 {pareve} soups, sides, and salads for your Succos menu

By | October 5, 2014


Menu-planning for Succos always seems more daunting to me than menu-planning for Rosh Hashanah. Maybe because I’m starting out tired from the first yom tov, or maybe because by the time we get to Succos, things have been out of whack in general between Rosh Hashanah, Tzom Gedalia, and Yom Kippur.

If it’s a mad dash to the finish line for you, too, go ahead and avail yourself of these 74 pareve recipes. Pick and choose from the soups, grains, pastas, kugels & muffins, vegetable sides, and salads, and most of the work is done for you. Most of the planning work, I mean. There’s still the cooking.

Stop by tomorrow to check out my Succos menu and then make sure to come back over Chol Hamoed for two new Succos recipes!

red-wine-lentil-soup-1.jpg Soups

quinoa-mushrooms-tofu-1.jpg Grains

sesame-noodles-1.jpg Pasta

zucchini-kugel-11.jpg Kugel, muffins, and a few other things

carrot-crisp-1.jpg Vegetable sides

purple-cabbage-salad-1.jpg Salads & Dressings

Soup with the Simons: Mushroom lentil

By | October 1, 2014


This recipe first appeared in the Jan. 27, 2014 edition of “From Tali’s Kitchen,” my cooking column in Binah magazine.

In the alternate universe called Facebook, I’ve been reading about people’s glamorous meal plans for before and after Yom Kippur. And I don’t get it. First, I don’t understand how anyone can eat a huge fancy meal before the fast. Don’t they feel bloated? Isn’t that, like, the hardest way to go into Kol Nidrei? And second, I don’t understand how anyone can eat a huge fancy meal after the fast. Isn’t it a shock to their systems? Don’t they feel heavy and kind of sick afterwards?

If I’m way off here and the big meals are working out just fine in your house, that’s great and please forget everything I said. But over here, we keep it pretty low-key. My plan for before the fast is lentils and rice; motsei Yom Kippur we’ll have leftovers and muffins. If the idea of a satisfying, healthy soup sounds good to you, definitely give my mushroom lentil soup a try. Mushrooms are a fantastic accessory to lentils, and little extras like thyme and balsamic vinegar go a long way.

Gmar chatima tova, and have an easy fast!

Rosh Hashanah post-mortem 2014

By | September 28, 2014


After last year’s copious leftovers, I was determined to scale things back. And I did, and the amount of leftovers sitting in the fridge right now is definitely more reasonable. But simplifying the menu did not fix the problem I always seem to have: the hectic rush on erev yom tov. I cooked ahead and froze 7 of the dishes on my menu; the other 7 plus simanim were made on Tuesday and Wednesday (i.e. two days before RH and erev chag). Maybe next year I need to do something more along the lines of 2/3 freezer and 1/3 fresh.

Here are some other take-aways from my RH cooking:

Expect last-minute menu changes


I was planning a double batch of lemon chummus as a special treat — I looooove the stuff but don’t make it often because it uses a lot of olive oil ($$). But when all the lemons in Rami Levi were green, which I figured would not make for nice zest, I switched to butternut squash chummus. It was fantastic and a huge hit with the under-2 crowd. I used this recipe (the spices really settle in the fridge, so it’s best to make it a day ahead).

Defrosting slash not

The best thing about freezing food for a long yom tov is that you can defrost it if you need it and leave it right where it is if you don’t. There were three loaves of challah that I never took out of the freezer and will be perfectly good on Succos. I also didn’t use the soup I’d made for Friday night since we were totally content to eat leftovers from the previous meals instead.

Note to self: Little rolls needed


Related to not using all of my challahs is the fact that it would have come in handy to have small rolls for hamotzi. For the last two meals, we had enough sliced challah left from other meals that it would have been better to use small rolls for hamotzi than to slice into more full-sized ones. Having a reason to make French toast is never a bad thing, but I’m definitely going to make some little rolls for Succos.

Always take guests up on their offers to bring something!

In the past, I either asked guests to bring something minor or just said “no thanks” when people asked what they could contribute to a meal. Sigh … silly Tali. This Rosh Hashanah, our guests brought dessert (and I didn’t make any “side desserts” or whatever to go with them). Worked out wonderfully — something real was taken off my to-do list, both times the guests brought really nice desserts, and we got to enjoy other people’s cooking without leaving the house.

And finally:

Going out for a meal? Bring bark.


We went out for Shabbos lunch and brought chocolate pomegranate bark, which was a big hit with both the adults and kids. I loved it because it’s an easy, crowd-pleasing, no-bake dessert that was simple to make pareve (98% dairy kitchen over here). On the flip side, if you’re going to a dairy meal and don’t have a dairy oven, you might love this because it’s simple to make dairy. See? Something for everyone!

And with that, I think it’s time to figure out Succos.

Come back soon! I’ve got a healthy, hearty, feel-good soup for your Yom Kippur break-fast.

White chocolate pomegranate bark

By | September 21, 2014


Okay, everyone. Three more days to Rosh Hashanah! Freezer filled? Good for you. Haven’t started cooking? It’s alright, your family will forgive you (or at least they really should, with Yom Kippur coming up). Anyway, it’s pretty much crunch time so I figured we should chomp down on some bark together.

In the course of my strenuous research on chocolate bark, I learned that there are generally two types. The first method involves mixing some things into the chocolate, and the second has you only sprinkle those things on top of the chocolate. Neither kind really satisfies me. With the first, you have the mix-ins nicely distributed, but the overall effect isn’t as pretty, and with the second, the bark is really pretty but it ends up feeling like some stuff sprinkled on chocolate instead of an actual recipe.

My take is a combination of the two, and I think I got the best of both worlds. The chocolate is mixed with crispy rice cereal (totally feels like a Krackel bar!) and then topped with sweet, tart pomegranate arils and candied ginger for an elegant punch of flavor. The result is an easy and gorgeous Rosh Hashanah dessert that you can throw together in minutes. Who’s in?

And that’s it from me until after Rosh Hashanah! In the last month, we’ve done sweet challah topping, cabbage salad and tomato salad, two soups, a grain side dish, and an awesome dairy kugel. I hope those recipes have helped with your prep for the chag. For more cooking inspiration, check out my roundup of 30 dishes to freeze for Rosh Hashanah and my family’s yom tov menu plan.

K’tiva v’chatima tova to all of my readers! Wishing you a year of only good things (and I’m thinking of so many of you individually as I say that). Be back soon with recipes for pre/post Yom Kippur and Succos!

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