While the secular new year is full of sparkly dresses and champagne, the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah is full of… apples and honey. Not nearly as exciting as a boozy midnight toast. Or is it?
But let’s back up. Why apples and honey? The honey symbolizes a sweet new year, and the apple is a seasonal (and biblical) fall fruit to dip into it. And while you could simply serve some sliced apples with honey and call your Rosh Hashanah a success, I like to get a little more creative with my recipes.
The holidays are always a busy time and often come with stress about getting everything done. But in the end, all you remember is the warmth of the wonderful meal and family time.
Judaism is full of symbols, and Rosh Hashanah is a prime example of this. I incorporated a few into this salad. Apples and honey, of course. The Hebrew word for beets is similar to the word for “remove,” so eating beets is a symbol to remove one’s enemies and bad juju. Round foods are often enjoyed, representing the circle of life and renewal. The round chickpeas and tomatoes are a nod to this. I also like how the tougher crispy version of the chickpea contrasts with the sweet yet spicy dressing. Tough, sweet, spicy. Kind of like life, right?
The dressing, beets, and farro can be made up to four days ahead of time. Prepare the salad right before serving.
- 1 1/2 cups dry farro — this makes 4 1/2 cups cooked
- 1 medium yellow beet (or you can use red, too)
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- kosher salt
- 1 can, or 1 1/2 cups, chickpeas
- 1 tsp. dried cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dried cardamom
- 1/2 tsp. dried cinnamon
- 4 cups arugula
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 tart green apple such as Granny Smith, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili pepper flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Make your farro. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the farro and cook for 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, peel and dice your beet and place on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Take your chickpeas and dry them very well. Toss with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, then toss with cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. of salt.
- Place the chickpeas on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crispy. Set aside to cool.
- To make the dressing, whisk together all ingredients and toss with cooled farro. You may not use all the dressing. Then toss in arugula to wilt, along with mint leaves, beets, and cherry tomatoes.
- Top with avocado, apple slices, and crunchy chickpeas. Drizzle with a little more dressing and eat!
But a salad — albeit a delicious salad — doesn’t make a Rosh Hashanah meal. Here are some of my favorite Rosh Hashanah dishes to serve.
Lemon Caper Almond Salmon Over Beet Puree
Brisket is king for Rosh Hashanah, but don’t knock the salmon! Fish heads are often on a Rosh Hashanah table as a reminder to look ahead, not backward. I don’t know about you, but I’ll stick with a salmon filet instead!
Pumpkin Spice Matzah Ball Soup
Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! The matzah dumplings soak up all the fall flavors in this delicious soup just perfectly.
Vegetable Kugel with Caramelized Leeks
Potato kugel can be dense and, well, potato-ey. But this colorful version has tons of your favorite different veggies in it.
Tzimmes with Tahini Pesto and Pomegranate
Tzimmes is normally a sugary stew of carrots, sweet potatoes, and dried fruit. This version is roasted and topped with a tahini pesto you’re going to want to slather on everything.
Pomegranate Tahini Bark
I love honey cake as much as the next girl, but this dark chocolate bark is a sweet but lighter bite to finish off your meal. Pomegranates are also another symbolic Rosh Hashanah fruit, being a fall fruit. There’s also the hope that the next year will be as plentiful, as there are arils in a pomegranate.
Amy Kritzer is the founder of the Jewish recipe blog What Jew Wanna Eat and owner of the cool Jewish gifts store ModernTribe. In her spare time, she likes theme parties and glitter. You can follow her food adventures on Instagram.