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Asian Spinach Salad with Candied Walnuts and Fried Tofu Croutons

Tina Wasserman

This is not an ancient recipe, but it is a good example of how observant Jews in far-reaching areas of the world used the ingredients readily available to build upon the foundation of Jewish dietary laws. 

1/3 cup corn oil
2 tablespoons dark sesame seed oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cream sherry
2 × 1/2-inch strip of lemon zest
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 scallion, white part and 2 inches of green, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
10 ounces fresh baby spinach or spinach-mesclun mix
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/3 cup julienne-sliced bamboo shoots
1/2 cup blanched snow peas, finely sliced lengthwise
3 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 25 cubes)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Oil for deep-frying
1 egg white (about 3 tablespoons)
1/2 cup dried panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons five-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until relatively smooth. Set aside in a screw-top jar until ready to use.
  2. Rinse and dry the spinach and bean sprouts. Place in a large salad bowl with bamboo shoots and snow peas.
  3. Marinate the tofu squares in honey and soy sauce for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a 1-quart saucepan to a depth of 1 inch. Roll the tofu in the egg white, and coat thoroughly with the bread crumbs. Fry the tofu until golden, and drain on paper towel.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring the water, sugar, five-spice powder, and salt to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan.
  5. Add the walnuts and stir for 1 minute. Spread the nuts onto a nonstick jellyroll pan or a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake walnuts for 7 minutes or until they are dark golden and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Remove the nuts from the baking pan and cool on an oiled counter or cookie sheet. When cool, break the pieces up and store in freezer until ready to use.
  7. To assemble the salad, toss the greens with some of the vinaigrette until lightly moistened. Top salad with some of the walnuts and the tofu croutons and serve with remaining vinaigrette on the side.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • “Blanching” literally means “to whiten,” but with reference to vegetables it means cooking in boiling salted water for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then plunging the vegetables into ice water to stop the cooking process. This is done to set the bright color and heighten the flavor of the food by bringing out the natural sugars in the food. This technique should always be used on green vegetables that are to be served cold in a salad or as crudités with dip.
  • Panko is a type of bread crumb from Japan that is large and irregular in shape and gives food an excellent crunchy coating.

Cucumber Salad

Deborah Rood Goldman

A vivid memory of summer meals is this delicious cucumber salad. When my mom gave me the recipe, it became a year 'round staple in our house - our go-to recipe to accompany Passover seder meals, Shabbat dinners, and Hanukkah parties. Though you can use any variety, I like to add red onion for a pretty touch of color.  

4 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
pinch fresh dill
  • Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, dill, and water.
  • Add vegetables and marinate overnight.

Deborah Rood Goldman is a longtime member and immediate past president of the Garden City Jewish Center in Garden City, NY. She is a digital communications producer on the Union for Reform Judaism's marketing and communications team.  A native New Yorker, Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in American civilization from Brown University and a master’s degree in library science from Queens College. 

Fattoush Salad

Tina Wasserman

I first tasted this Mediterranean classic at a Lebanese restaurant. Although the main components of the salad are reminiscent of an Israeli salad, the toasted pita chips add a different texture and create a flavorful result. This is a great salad for a Shabbat cold luncheon.

2 large pita breads
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon zatar seasoning (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup coarsely chopped parsley
5 scallions, thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon sumac (optional)
  1. Brush the tops of the pita bread with the 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle zatar over the tops. Bake at 375°F until golden and crisp. Allow to cool and then break into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings in a small, screw-top jar. Adjust seasoning if necessary and set aside.
  3. Combine all the vegetables in a serving bowl, and sprinkle with the sumac and pita pieces.
  4. Just before serving, toss with the salad dressing.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Sumac is the small red berry from wild bushes that grow throughout the Levant. Its flavor is suggestive of lemon or a sour candy.
  • The easiest way to seed a cucumber is to cut it in half lengthwise and run a spoon tip or melon baller down the middle, scraping out the seeds as you go.
  • To seed a tomato, cut the tomato in half horizontally and gently squeeze each half, cut side down, over the sink. A final shake should release the seeds.

Cocoa Nibs Citrus Salad

Deborah R. Prinz

Created by Rabbi Mark Hurvitz, this refreshing treat balances out the heaviness and bounty of any celebratory meal, such as a Passover Seder. Its pastel colors, dotted by cocoa nibs and pistachios, reflects bursts of spring in the natural world, and brightens any table. 

1 grapefruit, peeled (membrane removed, optional)
2 navel oranges, peeled
3 blood oranges, peeled
4 clementines, peeled
Pomegranate syrup (optional)
Several tablespoons cocoa nibs, to taste
Pistachios, roasted and chopped
  • Cut the fruit into bite-size pieces and and place in a large serving bowl, preferably glass. Add the pomegranate syrup to taste.
  • When ready to serve, sprinkle the cocoa nibs and roasted pistachos over the fruit salad.

​Reprinted with permission from On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao (2nd Edition) by Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz.

Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz speaks about chocolate and Jews around the world. The newly released 2nd Edition of her book, On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, (Jewish Lights) contains 25 historical and contemporary recipes. The book is used in adult study, classroom settings, book clubs and chocolate tastings. She blogs at The Forward, The Huffington Post and

Kale, Mango, and Almond Salad with Honey Ginger Dressing

Tina Wasserman

This recipe is featured in Tina Wasserman's newest book, Entree to Judaism for Families, filled with tools to help children learn to cook with confidence, with clear, step-by-step instructions for every recipe and tips for adults to make the experience safe and rewarding.

Together, kale, mango, and almonds create a terrific salad for a hot summer day enjoyed with a slightly sweet salad dressing that complements the flavors.

Kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and is a relative of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and bok choy. It is grown in Israel and has become very popular because scientists have discovered its importance in promoting good health. The mango tree is a distant relative of the cashew and pistachio trees, and its origins lie in southern India. Today there are hundreds of mango varieties in the world. Shelly, Omer, and the very popular Maya mango were developed in Israel over sixty years ago. Almonds have always been associated with the Land of Israel, and almond trees are the first to flower in Israel when Tu BiShvat is celebrated.  

During Passover, use products that are labeled Kosher for Passover, and substitue wine vinegar or sherry vinegar for the rice wine vinegar, and leave out the corn oil.  

1 pound fresh kale or 10 ounces baby kale
1 mango
1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries or cherries
1 ounce candied ginger, about 1/4 cup slivered (optional)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, roasted
1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise
2 tablespoons wildflower or clover honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or any light fruit vinegar (e.g., apple cider vinegar, pear vinegar)
1 tablespoon canola oil or corn oil (leave out during Passover)
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  1. If using whole kale leaves, pull the leaves off of the stems, and then layer the leaves on a cutting board. Using a chef›s knife, cut thin strips of kale, and place them in a 4-quart mixing bowl. You should have about 12 cups.
  2. Carefully cut the mango in half using a 5-inch utility knife or a special mango cutter. Remove the peel, and cut the mango into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the mango to the kale.
  3. If using the candied ginger, carefully cut the chunks into slices and then into thin sticks using a paring knife. Add to the kale mixture. Add the roasted almonds, and then refrigerate the salad until ready to serve.
  4. To make the dressing, place the mayonnaise in a 1-quart mixing bowl. Using a bar whisk, whisk the mayonnaise until it is smooth.
  5. Add the remaining dressing ingredients to the mayonnaise, and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. When ready to serve, toss the salad with enough dressing to coat all of the ingredients but not make it soupy.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Although most children can tear the leaves of kale off of the thick stems, consider buying a 10-ounce bag of baby kale or kale-spinach mix if you are making this salad with a very young child.
  • Layering the leaves of kale will save a great deal of time when cutting the kale into strips, but care should be taken when slicing, as the leaves do not lie flat on the cutting board.
  • The candied ginger adds a wonderful taste to this salad. Rather than eliminating this ingredient because the child is too young to safely cut the ginger into thin strips, an adult should cut the ginger prior to making the salad.

Seder Plate Salad

Paula Shoyer

This is my version of a French Niçoise salad. I make it with lamb instead of tuna, and it contains the ritual components of the seder plate and table. The dressing is made from kosher sweet wine and maror (the bitter herb, in this case, white horseradish), creating a creamy pink dressing. This salad also makes a nice lunch or light dinner during Chol HaMo-eid, the nonholiday days of Passover.

2 pieces of lamb shoulder (about 20 ounces/ 600g total)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 cup (40g) loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup (40g) walnut halves, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces
2 apples (Red Delicious, Fuji, or Gala), cored and cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) cubes
3 large eggs, hard-boiled and quartered
1/2 cup (120ml) mayonnaise
4 teaspoons jarred white horseradish
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons sweet kosher wine
Salt and black pepper
Cutting board, knives, measuring cups and spoons, small saucepan, tongs, small bowl, whisk, large serving bowl

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook TIme: 10 minutes
Advance Prep: Dressing and lamb may be made 2 days in advance

Preheat oven to broil or an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.

To make the lamb

Rub the lamb shoulder pieces with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Broil or grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare, or until desired doneness. Let cool for 5 minutes and, if serving immediately, slice into thin, 2-inch-long (5-cm) pieces. If making in advance, wait to slice the lamb until after reheating. The lamb may be roasted 2 days in advance; cover and store in the fridge.

To make the salad dressing

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, white horseradish, sugar, and wine until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. The dressing may be made 2 days in advance; cover and store in the fridge.

To assemble the salad

Place the romaine pieces in a large bowl. Add the celery and parsley and toss to combine. Sprinkle the walnuts and apples on top and arrange the egg quarters around the perimeter of the bowl. Scatter the lamb pieces on top. To serve, scoop some of everything onto each plate and drizzle with the dressing.

Reprinted with permission from New Passover Menu © 2015 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress

Paula Shoyer, “the kosher baker,” is the author of The Holiday Kosher BakerThe Kosher BakerThe New Passover Menu and The Healthy Jewish Kitchen (November 2017). Paula graduated with a pastry degree from the Ritz Escoffier in Paris, and does cooking and baking demos across the United States and around the world for Jewish organizations, synagogues, Jewish book festivals and more. She is a freelance writer for the Washington PostHadassahJoy of Kosher, and Jewish Food Experience, among other publicationsPaula competed on Food Network's Sweet Genius and appears on TV before every major Jewish holiday – over 26 times. In 2015, Paula was honored by Jewish Women International as a “Woman to Watch” and in 2016 as a “kosher food pioneer” by the kosher food bloggers community. Paula lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children.

Israeli Green Salad with Strawberries

Orly Ziv

Ramat Hasharon, where I live, was famous for its strawberry fields. Now only a few remain and I love being able to get fresh, local strawberries just a few minutes from my home. While strawberries are a summer fruit in many parts of the world, here they peak in winter. I love how this bright salad highlights the fruit and people go nuts for it every time I serve it.

2 cups mixed lettuce leaves (use different kinds of lettuce)
2 cups spinach leaves
1 basket of strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 cup sweet pecans
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup silan (date honey)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. Mix all the lettuce and spinach leaves together in a salad bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the strawberries and pecans on top.
  3. To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients with a hand blender or food processor until smooth.  Season before serving. (Note: This makes plenty of extra dressing, but it's excellent on any salad and will keep for at least a week in the fridge.)
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration by Orly Ziv. 

Orange and Fennel Salad

Orly Ziv

Combining fruits and vegetables in salads is very Israeli. Oranges, in particular, are identified with Israel and this recipe pairs them with fennel for an unusual flavor combo. A variation of this combination also exists in Moroccan and Greek cuisine.

2 oranges
½ cup Kalamata or oil-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1-2 fennel bulbs, sliced
½ cup fresh basil and/or mint leaves, torn
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons silan (date honey)
  1. Peel the oranges and trim away any remaining white pith. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Put the oranges, olives, red onion, fennel, basil and/or mint in a bowl and toss gently to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and silan.
  4. Drizzle over the salad and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration by Orly Ziv. 

Chicken Salad Veronique with Avocados

Tina Wasserman

This cold salad, featuring Israel’s summer bounty, is perfect for a hot summer’s day. French recipes titled Veronique signify the inclusion of grapes. This one is a snap if you ask the deli person to cut the meat into half-inch thick slices (number 35 on some slicers).

8 ounces cooked deli chicken or smoked turkey, slices cut 1⁄2-inch thick
1 1⁄2 avocados, ripe but firm
Juice of 1 1⁄2 limes
2 cups seedless red grapes, sliced in half
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 good pinch of dried summer savory or thyme
1–2 Tablespoons sweet vermouth or red wine
Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish
  1. Cut the chicken into half-inch cubes and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Slice whole, peeled avocado into half-inch cubes and place in a small bowl. Add the juice of 1 lime to the cubes and toss.
  3. Mix in the halved grapes with the chicken.
  4. Combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, summer savory or thyme, and sweet vermouth in a 1-quart bowl. Mix well.
  5. Drain the lime juice from theavocado cubes. Using a rubber spatula, gently toss the avocados with the chicken and grapes. Place in a serving bowl or on a plate.
  6. Carefully fold the mayonnaise mixture into the chicken and grapes.
  7. Thinly slice the remaining avocado half and place in a small bowl. Add the remaining lime juice and gently turn the slices to coat well.
  8. Arrange the avocado slices over the top of the prepared salad and sprinkle with toasted almond slices. Serve within a half hour after garnishing.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Whenever you’re mixing ingredients that include soft fruits or vegetables, use a rubber spatula; it will prevent the food from being nicked or mashed.
  • To slow down the discoloration of an opened avocado, lightly coat it with an acidic food such as citrus juice or vinegar. This will keep the avocado surface green for at least an hour.

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