Rosh Hashanah has some wonderfully weird food traditions: we dip round challah into honey (not salt), eat through a range of foodstuffs called simanim, and indulge in juicy, seed-filled pomegranates.
We dip apples and challah into honey because sweet foods are seen as a charm for a sweet year ahead. Some people take this even further and completely eschew their standard festive staples in favor of a sweet-centric menu featuring honeyed versions of classic dishes.
We get it: some things are irreplaceable (savory chicken soup laden with vegetables and kneidlach is here to stay). But if you’re looking for a change, here are some menu suggestions so you can have an even sweeter New Year:
Parsnip and Apple Soup
Full of luscious fall flavors, this soup is creamy, delicious and a refreshing change from traditional vegetable soups. Consider roasting your vegetables before pureeing for a more pronounced, caramel-y final flavor.
Braised Beef with Prunes and Red Onions
Beef braised in velvety stock and slightly acidic wine is fork-tender; melting sweet-tart onions and juicy prunes make this savory-sweet dish an amazing centerpiece to festive dinners! Serve with mashed potatoes or simple white rice.
Braised Chicken with Onion and Apricots
Braised in white wine and light stock, dark chicken meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. The soft onions and plump dried apricots make this dish irresistibly tasty! Serve with Persian rice, roasted sweet potatoes or colorful couscous.
Honey Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate
Slather your chicken in a rich mixture of honey, pomegranate syrup, and olive oil; roast on a high heat alone or on a bed of potatoes, carrots, onions or any other vegetables you love. Serve sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and enjoy with plain rice or spicy couscous.
This sweet carrot dish features a rich sauce which sometimes features raisins, tiny matzah balls, or sweet braised onions along with cinnamon spicing. It’s particularly popular with Jews of Polish descent, as the round carrot (mern in Yiddish) disks resemble gold coins, of which we want more (mer in Yiddish).
Red Onion and Beet Tarte Tatin
Tarte tatin is a pastry dessert made with caramelized apples baked under a puff pastry hood. Turn it into a spectacular vegetarian main or side dish by caramelizing red onion and beets with thyme. Its decadent, savory-sweet richness is great with a bitter leaf salad with goat’s milk or blue cheese.
Kugels are traditional Ashkenazi cakes which are usually made with vegetables or sometimes noodles. A moist, dense apple kugel will make an unusual but delicious Rosh Hashanah side dish! Serve alongside a rich, saucy main for an unforgettable meal.
Don’t forget – seasonal, local produce will always create more delicious food. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of fall, so keep an eye out for your favorite fall ingredients like pumpkins, squash, apples, berries and more.
Plus, check out an amazing selection of Israeli tableware if you’re looking to serve up in style this Rosh Hashanah!
Happy cooking and Happy New Year!