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Baked Stuffed Apples

Chef Katie Simmons

Fill your kitchen with the comforting aromas of fall. This healthy recipe is gluten-free, oil-free, sugar-free, and vegan. It easily adapts to a single serving or a huge batch, and kids love diving into their own individual apple.

8 small apples, any variety
3/4 cup thick-rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons pecan pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. 

To prepare the apples

  • Use an apple corer to remove the cores and seeds from the apples.  Then, use a peeler to remove about 1/2-inch of the apple peel, around the top of the apple.  
  • Squeeze the apples into a square oven-safe baking dish.

To prepare the stuffing

  • In a small bowl, combine the oats, raisins, pecans, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. 
    Put about 2 tablespoons of the stuffing in each apple.  Sprinkle extra stuffing over the top.

To bake the apples

  • Pour the water and cider vinegar in the pan with the apples, so that the liquid comes up about an inch in the baking dish. 
  • Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. 
  • Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the topping darkens.
  • Serve warm.

Chef Katie Simmons' Tips

  • Use any sweet, crisp apples for this recipe.  
  • You can make a double-batch of the "stuffing" mix and store extra in your freezer.  You'll be ready for this treat any time!

Chef Katie Simmons is a classically-trainned personal chef in Chicago. Her journey to cooking has been a winding path from Kentucky to backpacking in New Zealand through culinary school at Kendall College and working for Whole Foods Market.  Her own frustrations of being an overweight fitness professional finally led her to embrace a plant-based, vegan diet. 

Roasted Pumpkin Parsnip Soup

Chef Katie Simmons

Nothing says fall quite like fresh pumpkin! Sweet parsnips and a touch of nutmeg round out the seasonal flavors, all roasted together for richness in this gluten-free, vegan soup. Make a batch of this fat-free, easy soup on the weekend and freeze extras. Serve with pumpernickel toast or a wild rice salad for a satisfying, healthy weeknight meal.

1 baking pumpkin (2.5 - 3 pounds)
2 medium parsnips
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3-4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Yield: 8 cups

  • Gather ingredients. Preheat oven to 425°F. 

To roast the vegetables 

  • Peel the parsnip and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Cut the pumpkin in half along the equator. Use a big spoon to scoop out the seeds. You can roast the seeds and use as garnish on the soup. 
  • Sprinkle the nutmeg inside one of the pumpkin halves.
  • Place the parsnip in a baking dish. Place the pumpkin, cut-side-down, over the parsnips. Add 2 cups of water to the baking dish. Roast at 425°F for about 60 minutes. 
  • The pumpkin is ready when it collapses and is soft enough to scoop out the flesh. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. 

To finish the soup

  • When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh. 
  • Place the pumpkin, parsnips, and any liquid from the pan into a blender. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and the salt.  Puree until smooth. 
  • You might need to add another 1/2 cup or so of water to reach a smooth, pourable consistency. Make sure it is hot water, to keep your soup hot.
  • Garnish with parsley, pumpkin seeds, or chives and serve. 


Chef Katie Simmons' Tips

You can use a variety of fall squash in this recipe. Acorn, Celebration, and Kaboucha would all taste great.

Classically-trianed Chef Katie Simmons is a personal chef in Chicago. Her journey to cooking has been a winding path from Kentucky to backpacking in New Zealand through culinary school at Kendall College and working for Whole Foods Market.  Her own frustrations of being an overweight fitness professional finally led her to embrace a plant-based, vegan diet. 

Spicy Matboucha

Amelia Saltsman

There are almost as many variations of and uses for the spicy tomato jam condiment known as salade cuite, or “cooked salad,” as there are people in Israel, Morocco, or Tunisia.

When my cousin Pazit married Moroccan Israeli soccer hero Avi Gabai, she learned from his sisters how to make all his favorite foods, including this version of matboucha. It adds zest to many a dish, including hummus, and is the foundation for that other Israeli-Tunisian-Moroccan favorite, the egg dish shakshuka. Be sure to try it with black-eyed peas.

Sauce tomatoes such as Roma, San Marzano, or Costoluto Genovese work best here. When good fresh tomatoes aren’t available, use canned crushed tomatoes instead.

This recipe can be easily doubled and freezes well.

2½ pounds (1.2 kg) meaty tomatoes, such as Roma, San Marzano, or Costoluto Genovese, or 1 can (28 ounces/800 g) crushed tomatoes
2 to 4 chiles, such as jalapeño or habanero or a mix, 2 to 4 ounces (55 to 115 g) total
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1½ teaspoons hot paprika, or to taste
¼ cup (2 fl ounces/60 ml) grapeseed or other mild oil
Kosher or sea salt
  • To peel the tomatoes, either use a swivel-blade vegetable peeler or immerse them in boiling water and slip off the skins. If you like, cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze them to remove the seeds. Skip this step if the seeds don’t bother you. Chop the tomatoes into ½- to 1-inch (12-mm to 2.5-cm) pieces. You should have 3¼ to 3½ cups (585 to 630 g) altogether. Place them in a wide pot or a deep sauté pan.
  • Mince the chiles and add them to the pan along with some or all of their seeds for added heat. Add the garlic, stir in the paprika, and pour the oil over all. Start cooking the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat as necessary to keep it bubbling without burning, and cook until very thick and glossy, about 1 hour. Use a splatter screen to keep your stove clean, if you like.
  • Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and sugar, adding about 1 teaspoon of each. Let cool and transfer to 1 or 2 tightly capped jars. The condiment will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Staci Valentine

Amelia Saltsman is the daughter of a Romanian mother and an Iraqi father who met in the Israeli army and immigrated to Los Angeles, where she was born and raised. Her cooking reflects her eclectic background, with the diverse flavors and cultural touchstones that have made her award-winning first book, The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook, a beloved classic. Amelia's name is synonymous with intuitive, seasonal cooking, and she is regularly sought out for her expertise by publications such as Bon AppétitCooking LightVegetarian TimesU.S. AirwaysFIt PregnancyThe Jewish Journal, and Los Angeles Times. She is a frequent guest on KCRW's "Good Food with Evan Kleiman" and a longtime advocate for small family farms. Amelia lives with her family in Santa Monica.

Vegan Coconut Rum Raisin Tapioca Pudding

Kenden Alfond

Eating animal-based dairy on Shavuot is a tradition that I am updating to meet my health goals and dietary preferences. I find ways to enjoy healthier “creamy” foods for the holiday by creating non-dairy “creamy” dessert options like this delicious one. 

Tapioca, made from cassava (yuca) root vegetable, is a comeback food. I asked my parents and aunts and uncle and they all agree that they enjoyed tapioca pudding in their youth. 

Tapioca is a lifelong food that can be enjoyed by everyone – from babyhood to old age.  It is a gooey, creamy mouth food that is eaten by the spoonful. The added rum-soaked raisins makes the dessert fancy and may remind you of the ice cream flavor rum raisin.

1/2 cup small tapioca pearls
3 1/2 cups good quality mineral water
1/2 cup coconut milk cream
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons dark rum, or brandy
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Equipment: medium strainer, medium saucpan, individual bowls for serving

  1. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and rum, and set aside.
  2. Rinse the tapioca pearls in strainer.
  3. Place tapioca in medium saucepan and add 3 cups of water. Soak the tapioca for 30 minutes. Do not drain after soaking.
  4. Add the coconut cream, sugar, rum-soaked raisins and rum (it may be all soaked into the raisins) and kosher salt.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Simmer uncovered over very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick (it if becomes too thick add a bit more water).
  6. Stir well.
  7. Pour into bowls. Serve warm or chilled. Place plastic wrap on top of bowls so that the pudding does not develop a skin. 

Reprinted with permission from © JewishFoodHero - All Rights Reserved.

Kenden Alfond is the founder of Jewish Food Hero, the website that nourishes your mind, body, and spirit. Her mission is to help a global community of women come home to themselves. Visit the site to download a free cookbook: 7 Healthy Plant-Based Jewish Recipes.

Waldorf Salad

Mark Reinfeld

This hearty salad is famous for its perfect combination of a rich, creamy dressing with a delightful balance of fiber-filled crunchable veggies and fruit and just the right amount of grounding protein to call it a meal. The Waldorf salad was created in the late nineteenth century at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in midtown Manhattan, where it was an instant smash sensation.

With this plant-based version of the dressing, which leaves out the mayonnaise, you can savor the same distinctive flavor and texture combo while preserving your heart, brain, and circulatory health, and giving your immune system an energetic boost. 

1 small head lettuce, whole leaves
1/2 cup Waldorf Dressing (recipe follows)
1/2 cup walnuts, raw or toasted
1 small apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup peeled and grated carrot
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons raw cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Dressing

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl with ample water to cover. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, or up to 3 hours. Drain and rinse well.
  2. Place in a blender with the remaining dressing ingredients, including the 1/2 cup of fresh water, and blend until creamy. Yield: 1 cup.

To Assemble

  1. Place the lettuce on a plate. Drizzle with the dressing.
  2. Top with the walnuts, apple, celery, and grated carrot before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Healing the Vegan Way: Plant-Based Eating for Optimal Health and Wellness © 2016 by Mark Reinfeld, De Capo Press.

Mark Reinfeld is a multi-award winning chef and author of seven books, including the best selling 30 Minute Vegan series and his latest book, Healing the Vegan Way. Mark has over 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, and Bon Appetit Management. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted "Best Restaurant on Kaua'i."

BBQ Tempeh Kebabs

Mark Reinfeld

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, then president of the Union for Reform Judaism, once declared, "We need to think about how the food we eat advances the values we hold as Reform Jews.” In keeping with Rabbi Yoffie’s longstanding initiative urging Reform Jews to consider the ethical, environmental, and health aspects of what they eat, here’s a great vegan recipe.

1/4 cup barley malt syrup
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 teasoon stone-ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
6-8 kebab skewers
8 ounces tempeh, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 medium bell pepper, 1 inch dice
1/2 medium red onion, quartered
6-8 medium cherry tomatoes
1 large portobello mushroom, 1 inch cubes
  1. Place the tempeh and vegetables in the BBQ Sauce bowl, mix well, and allow to marinate for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Decoratively arrange the tempeh and vegetables on the skewers, finishing each with a cherry tomato.
  3. Grill until char marks appear and the tempeh and vegetables are cooked through, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Baste with some of the BBQ Sauce while grilling and top with the remaining BBQ sauce before serving.

Mark Reinfeld is a multi-award winning chef and author of seven books, including the best selling 30 Minute Vegan series and his latest book, Healing the Vegan Way. Mark has over 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, and Bon Appetit Management. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted "Best Restaurant on Kaua'i."

Vegan Mediterranean Grilled Tofu

Mark Reinfeld

This dish combines both cooked and raw vegan items, including some of the most flavorful ingredients in the Mediterranean cuisine. Be sure to use extra-firm tofu as it will hold up better on the grill. If a grill is not available, you can roast the tofu cutlets in the casserole dish, along with the marinade, in a 375°F oven for 20 minutes. 

7 teaspoons tamari
4 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons water
1 ⅓ (14-ounce) packages extra-firm tofu, well drained
4 (canned) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup seeded, drained and chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped raw spinach or arugula
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoon diced red onion
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoon basil, in chiffonade*
1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts
  1. Preheat grill to high.
  2. Make the marinade: place the tamari, 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, 4 teaspoons of olive oil and water in a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish and stir well. Slice one brick of the tofu lengthwise to form 3 cutlets. Slice off a similar-size piece from the second brick; reserve the remaining tofu for another use. Place the cutlets in the casserole dish for 10 minutes, flipping occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: put the artichokes, tomatoes, spinach, olives, onion, capers, basil, oregano and thyme in a mixing bowl and mix gently but well.
  4. Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and black pepper. Add to the topping and mix gently but well.
  5. Grill the tofu, gently flipping a few times to make sure that char marks appear on both sides, about 4 minutes per side, depending upon the temperature of the grill.
  6. Return the cutlets to the casserole dish or serving platter. Top each cutlet with half a cup of the topping and garnish with pistachio nuts.

* To chiffonade is to cut into long thin strips. Stack the basil leaves, roll them tightly, and then slice into thin strips with a sharp knife.


  • Follow the basic recipe, but replace the tofu with two 8-ounce packages of tempeh. Tempeh, a fermented soy product, is available in either the refrigerated or frozen section of all natural foods stores and many larger supermarkets.
  • Follow the basic recipe, but replace the tofu with four large portobello mushrooms (stems removed).

Mark Reinfeld is a multi-award winning chef and author of seven books, including the best selling 30 Minute Vegan series and his latest book, Healing the Vegan Way. Mark has over 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, and Bon Appetit Management. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted "Best Restaurant on Kaua'i."

Vegan Borscht

Mark Reinfeld

With origins in the Ukraine and popular throughout Eastern Europe, borscht has made its way across the Atlantic and all the way to the Catskill Mountains in New York, popularly referred to as the Borscht Belt. The base of the soup is the humble beet, which was immortalized in the book Jitterbug Perfume, and which will be sure to let your cutting board, and your hands, know that it was used in the dish. For the full effect, serve with a dollop of Vegan Sour Cream. 

A vegan or plant-based diet is one that is free from all animal products. Vegan foods are pareve by nature - without dairy or meat. The reasons people choose to enjoy vegan foods are many. First and foremost, they taste incredible! People also turn to vegan foods for weight-loss and disease prevention. It seems that every week there are new studies and testimonials published of people who have regained their health by dropping their cholesterol levels, losing weight, and coming off heart and diabetes medications by including more plant based foods in their diets. There are now numerous studies demonstrating that many serious illnesses, such heart disease, obesity, and diabetes can be prevented and reversed by enjoying more vegan foods.

Want to be Earth friendly? In addition to providing an out of this world culinary experience, eating vegan foods also happens to be one of the most effective steps we can take to protect the environment. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions -more than the entire World’s transportation industry combined. Others turn to vegan foods out of compassion and sensitivity to suffering of the animals, especially those raised through factory farming. Whatever your reason for having enjoying a vegan meal, there is no need to compromise on flavor - an exciting culinary universe awaits!

1 tablespoon oil
1 yellow onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup sliced celery
3 garlic cloves
1 cup small-diced potato
1 cup diced carrot or parsnip (or 1/2 cup of each)
3 beets, chopped into 1/4-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
5 1/2 cups heated vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari or other soy sauce (optional)
1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
About 1/2 cup Vegan Sour Cream
Black sesame seeds
Dill sprigs
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (Vegenaise or homemade)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh dill, or a pinch of dried dill (optional)
  1. Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Place the oil, onion, celery, and garlic in the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the potato, carrot, beets, and vegetable stock and cook until the beets are just soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add the lemon juice and vinegar, the soy sauce, if using, and the salt, pepper, and celery seeds, if using, and stir well. Carefully transfer to a strong blender and blend until creamy. Return the mixture to the pot. Add the dill and parsley and stir well.
  3. Combine the vegan sour cream ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
  4. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, and a sprig of fresh dill.


  • For an added layer of flavor, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste along with vegetable stock.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke along with vegetable stock.

Mark Reinfeld is the winner of’s Recipe of the Year Award for 2011 and has over 20 years experience preparing creative vegan and raw food cuisine. Mark was the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society’s 2013 & 2012 Summerfest, one of the largest vegetarian conferences in the world. He is described by as being “poised on the leading edge of contemporary vegan cooking”. He is the founding chef of the Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, winner of Honolulu Advertiser’s ‘Ilima Award for “Best Restaurant on Kaua’i”. Mark is also the recipient of a Platinum Carrot Award for living foods – a national award given by the Aspen Center of Integral Health to America’s top “innovative and trailblazing healthy chefs.

Mark received his initial culinary training from his grandfather Ben Bimstein, a renowned chef and ice carver in New York City. He developed his love for World culture and cuisine during travel journeys through Europe, Asia and the Middle East . His first cookbook, Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, coauthored with Bo Rinaldi and with a foreword by Dr. Jane Goodall, has won several national awards, including “Cookbook of the Year’, and a Gourmand Award for ‘Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA ’. Mark's upcoming book, The 30 Minute Vegan Soups On! will be released in November of 2013. Mark currently offers culinary courses, trainings, and consulting services worldwide and online. 

Vegan Gel Fruit Flag

Headed to your congregation's Independence Day-themed Shabbat oneg? Brighten your holiday buffet and celebrate Old Glory with this festive, healthy dessert. Kids will love helping to assemble it!

Looking for more ways to incorporate your Jewish-American identity into your Fourth of July celebration? Read more about one Jewish family's unique tradition and consider adapting it to make it your own. 

2 boxes vegan gel dessert
1 pint blueberries
2 pints strawberries, sliced
2 bananas, cut in 1/4-inch slices
22 cherries
  1. In a  9 x 11-inch pan, create the flag's red and white stripes with alternating rows of sliced strawberries and bananas, leaving an empty square in the top left-hand corner.  
  2. Pour the blueberries into the square.
  3. Place cherries across the rows of strawberries.
  4. Following the directions on the box, prepare the clear vegan gel.  
  5. Pour the gel over the entire fruit flag.  To set, refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  6.  Enjoy!


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