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Israeli Hummus

Orly Ziv

This recipe is the superstar of any culinary tour in Israel. Although you can use canned chickpeas, if you want to make authentic hummus you must start with dried chickpeas. It takes a little bit of forethought, but not that much more work, and it's worth it.

2 cups dried chickpeas
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
5 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
4-5 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Coarsely chopped parsley leaves
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. Change the soaking water at least once.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, put in a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Add the onion and garlic and bring to a boil. Simmer until the chickpeas are tender, 2 to 3 hours. (Alternately, cook in a pressure cooker for at least 1 1/2 hours after it starts to boil.) Add the parsley and cumin to the cooking water if you like.
  3. Drain the chickpeas and remove the herbs, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
  4. Set aside 1/4 cup of the chickpeas. Grind the remaining chickpeas along with the cooked onion and garlic in food processor or hand blender.
  5. Gradually add tahini, lemon juice, and salt until you have a smooth, uniform paste. Slowly pour in reserved chickpea liquid until the desired consistency is reached.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Pour into a bowl and serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil, the reserved chickpeas, paprika, and coarsely chopped parsley leaves.

Variation: Make green hummus by adding 1/2 bunch fresh parsley and 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro.

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

Tina's Tidbits: 

Orly's Tip

  • You can freeze the cooked chickpeas and cooking water separately in small quantities and defrost before making your hummus.

Challah Cheese Soufflé

Tina Wasserman

This recipe is featured in Tina Wasserman's cookbook, 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.

When the Jews left Egypt and wandered in the desert, God sent manna from the heavens to feed them. On Friday they received a double portion because they could not work on the Sabbath. That is why we have the tradition of two loaves of challah on our Shabbat tables. Dew fell from heaven to protect the manna, and that is why many Jews today either cover their challahs with a special cloth or sprinkle sesame seeds on top to symbolize the dew.

Unless you have a large family or your two challahs are very small, you will have a lot of challah left over! This recipe and the two others that follow are good ways to use these leftovers. Not only do the recipes provide delicious ways to engage a child in the kitchen, they offer opportunities to discuss the meaning of Shabbat and its customs.

A modern version of a soufflé, this recipe will not fail or collapse, since bread binds the ingredients together. This dish is perfect for younger children with short attention spans because the dish needs to be assembled several hours ahead of time or even the night before. This gives the challah time to absorb the liquids, and the dish will puff up when baked.

1–1 1/2 medium challahs (approximately 12 cups of challah cubes)
1 stick unsalted butter
6 eggs
2 cups milk (whole, 1% or 2%)
1 teaspoon salt
10 grindings of freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
12–16 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese or Jarlsberg cheese (about 3 1/2 cups grated)
Additional butter or cooking spray for greasing the pan
  1. Cut challah into 1/2-inch slices, and then cut the slices into 1/2-inch cubes;or pull the bread apart into small pieces if that is easier. The crust does not need to be removed if it isn’t hard. Set aside.
  2. In a 1-quart glass bowl covered with a sheet of paper towel, melt the butter in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s setting. Set aside.
  3. Using a mediumwhisk, whisk the eggs and the milk together with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a 2-quart mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. If not using packaged shredded cheese, grate the cheese on a coarse grater.
  5. Grease a 2-quart casserole or soufflé dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  6. Arrange 1/3 of the bread cubes in the bottom of the pan, and then layer 1/3 of the cheese on top. Make 2 more layers of bread and cheese, and then pour the egg/milk mixture over all. Lightly press down to make sure all of the bread layers are covered with liquid ingredients.
  7. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  8. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the dish in the center of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a thin pointy knife inserted in the center comes out wet but clear.

TIna Wasserman is the best-selling author of Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora. An award-winning cooking instructor specializing in contemporary kosher cuisine, Tina holds degrees from Syracuse University and New York University, and is a popular food educator in her own cooking school and as a scholar-in-residence in communities across North America.

Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Older children will enjoy the reinforcement of their math and geometry lessons with this recipe, and younger children can easily make this dish if you let them break the challah into little pieces with their hands and you buy packaged shredded cheese.
  • Butter often splatters when melting because it naturally contains some water. To avoid having it explode all over your microwave oven, cover the dish lightly with a piece of paper towel when melting.
  • It goes without saying that children under the age of ten or those not tall enough to reach into an oven should not be removing any hot baking dish from an oven.
  • If a child is doing the testing to see if the soufflé is fully baked (step 8), the test should be done out of the oven with the soufflé dish placed on a counter. If the soufflé is not ready and it is taken out of the oven for too long, it will become dense when fully baked, so young children should not do the testing.

Kitchen Conversations

  • Discuss why challah is so special for Shabbat. What’s your favorite challah? Does it have raisins? Plain? Flavored? Whole wheat?
  • Did Jews always eat fancy braided bread?


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.

Herb Salad with Feta Cheese, Halvah, and Green Almonds

Amelia Saltsman

The Persian tradition of a sabzi platter—aromatic herbs, radishes, alliums, salty feta, and sweet halvah—is equally delicious in salad form and a great way to use up all those extra herbs you bought for your Seder. Another seasonal Persian favorite — green, or immature, almonds — adds an unusual tart note. When very young, the entire almond fruit is edible, from its green, peach-like fuzzy outer layer to the clear, jelly-like nascent nut inside. As it matures, the still tender nutmeat whitens and the outer layer becomes too hard to eat. Look for them at farmers’ markets in almond-growing areas and also at Persian groceries. Green almonds are lovely both raw and pickled. If you don’t have green almonds, make this beautiful early-spring salad anyway.

1 small head butter lettuce, large leaves torn
1/2 to 1 bunch regular chives or leek chives, snipped
1/2 bunch mint, preferably Persian, torn
Leaves of a few sprigs of tarragon
4 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup (1 to 2 ounces/30 to 55 g) green almonds
1 to 2 tablespoons walnut oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Finishing salt, such as Maldon sea salt or sel gris, or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces (85 g) feta cheese, preferably French, broken into 1/2 - to 1-inch (12-mm to 2.5-cm) chunks or sliced
3 ounces (85 g) halvah, broken into 1/2 - to 1-inch (12-mm to 2.5-cm) chunks or sliced (use kosher for Passover during the holiday)
  • In a salad bowl, combine the lettuce, chives, mint, tarragon, and radishes. Just before serving, thinly slice the almonds crosswise and add to the salad. Drizzle the oil and lemon juice over the salad, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.
  • Mound the salad on a serving platter or divide among individual salad plates. Top with large feta and halvah crumbles or serve with slabs of each on the side.

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

Amelia Saltsman is the daughter of a Romanian mothern 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.

Carrot Kugel

Pat Tolkoff of Temple B'nai Or Sisterhood

This colorful and tasty carrot kugel is a great holiday dish, and a good substitute for potatoes or rice.

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine or unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups grated carrots (about 5-6 medium)
1/2 orange, grated rind and juice
2 unbeaten eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift together the four dry ingredients.
  3. Cream shortening and sugar in large bowl. Add carrots, eggs, rind, and juice to creamed mixture, and mix well.  Mixture will look slightly curdled.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix well.
  5. Bake in 1 1/2-quart casserole, uncovered for 45-50 minutes.

Note: Use margarine instead of butter if serving with a meat entrée.

Butternut Squash in Sweet and Sour Sauce (Zucca Gialla in Agrodolce)

Tina Wasserman

I first saw this dish in Joyce Goldstein’s Cucina Ebraica. I was intrigued by the flavor combinations. The sweet-and-sour flavoring is so much a part of the Jewish culinary culture, and the use of vinegar implies that this dish was made in advance for the Sabbath day meal. The following is an adaptation of Joyce’s recipe.

2 pounds butternut squash
2–3 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
Kosher salt as needed
1/2 cup chiffonade of fresh mint
2 large cloves of garlic, sliced lengthwise into thin slivers
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (less if using balsamic vinegar)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, peel it, andremove all seeds and fibers from the inside. Cut each half lengthwise again and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.
  2. Toss the squash slices with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to coat, and place the squash slices on a nonstick cookie sheet or roasting pan. Sprinkle very lightly with some kosher salt.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400° F or until squash is tender but firm – if the tip of a sharp knife is easily inserted and removed from the squash, it is done.
  4. Layer the cooked squash with the mint and garlic slivers in a serving dish.
  5. Pour any pan drippings from the squash into an 8-inch nonstick sauté pan. If there is very little oil, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Heat on medium for 10 seconds.
  6. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar first to dissolve, and then add the cinnamon to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly, about 4 minutes.
  7. Pour the hot syrup over the squash, and gently move and lift the squash with a rubber spatula or large plastic serving spoon (these utensils won’t cut into the pieces of squash) to distribute the sauce evenly.
  8. Serve at once or at room temperature, which is perfect for a buffet.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • To chiffonade a leafy herb, layer 5–10 leaves on top of each other, and roll the leaves tightly together into a long log like a cigarette. Cutting across the log, make thin slices. When you are done, there will be thin strands of herb that almost float when you toss them in the air – hence the reference to chiffon!
  • Balsamic vinegar is made from white trebbiano grapes. The juice is allowed to age in different types and sizes of wood barrels that impart the special sweet-tart flavor to the vinegar.

Pumpkin Ravioli from Mantua

Tina Wasserman

During the Renaissance the Jews lived very well in Mantua under the Gonzaga duchy. They were very familiar with pumpkin because of New World exploration and the Portuguese and Converso connections throughout the world. Although this dish is very popular in restaurants throughout the world right now, the recipe is 500 years old. This recipe was adapted from Joyce Goldstein’s cookbook, Cucina Ebraica.

2 pounds fresh pie pumpkin or butternut squash, or 1 pound canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian amaretti cookies (about 2 ounces), crushed
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup finely chopped raisins (soaked in hot water for 15 minutes if too dry and hard)
Sugar to taste
1 egg
2 tablespoons dried plain bread crumbs
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons water for sealing dough
1 stick butter melted, until light brown
1/4 cup chiffonade of fresh mint or fresh thyme
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons ice water
2 cups bread flour


  1. To prepare the pumpkin or squash, roast in a 400°F oven for 50 minutes or until soft. Cool, cut in half, and remove all seeds and stringy fibers. Scoop the meat of the squash into a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth.
  2. If puree is watery, spread the puree on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 300°F for 10 minutes or until it appears dry. Let cool before using, or use 1 pound of canned pumpkin.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin with the next 7 ingredients and set aside while you make the dough.


  1. Place the eggs, oil, and water in the food processor work bowl, and mix by turning the processor on and off twice.
  2. Add 1 cup of the bread flour, and turn the processor on for 5 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the other cup of flour and process for 10 seconds longer. The dough will be crumbly. Pinch a little bit of dough; if it holds together, it is ready to be rolled.
  3. Remove the dough and divide in half. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and allow to rest for 10 minutes or longer if you are rolling the dough by hand.
  4. Make pasta according to machine directions. If rolling pasta by hand, divide dough into fourths and then roll out each portion as thin as possible. Cut dough into 3-inch rounds, or use a ravioli form.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle or each template on the ravioli form. Brush a little of the egg yolk mixture on the edges of the dough, and cover with another circle of dough (or sheet if using the ravioli plate). Press dough firmly from the filling outward to remove any air trapped in the middle and seal the dough.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and place in a large serving bowl.
  7. Drizzle brown butter on top of ravioli, and sprinkle with the fresh mint or thyme chiffonade.


Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Although fresh pie pumpkin has a more distinct flavor, canned pumpkin will work if you are short on time.
  • Never use salt in the pasta dough. It will make the dough tough and hard to roll.

Sweet Potato–Pumpkin Cazuela (Casserole)

Tina Wasserman

Here’s a dish that is perfect for Sukkot and Thanksgiving and very easy, especially if you use canned potatoes and pumpkins. Pumpkins are believed to have originated in North America between 7000 and 5500 b.c.e. Although prevalent in the Far East, pumpkins gained popularity in Europe beginning in the sixteenth century after their discovery in the New World.

Substitute pareve margarine for the butter for a dairy-free dish. Don’t be afraid of the coconut milk. It is very subtle and rounds out the flavors.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter or pareve margarine
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
2 eggs
One 15-ounce can unflavored pumpkin puree or 1 small pie pumpkin
One 29-ounce can of yams in light syrup, drained and mashed, or 3 large yams
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2-inch piece of stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 whole cloves
  1. Place the butter or margarine in a 2-quart glass bowl and microwave for 45 seconds.
  2. Whisk the sugars, flour, and salt into the butter to combine.
  3. Whisk the coconut milk into the mixture until thoroughly blended. Add the eggs and combine.
  4. Add the pumpkin puree and the mashed yams and whisk until a smooth batter is formed.
  5. Combine the water with the spices in a small glass cup and microwave on high for 11/2 minutes. Let the mixture steep for 5 minutes. Strain the spiced water through a fine-mesh strainer into the pumpkin-potato mixture and stir to incorporate.
  6. Butter a 2-quart casserole and pour the mixture into the prepared dish.
  7. Bake covered in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour. Serve.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Always use a small sugar pie pumpkin when cooked pumpkin is called for. Larger pumpkins are more watery and more like acorn squash.
  • To cook a pumpkin, cut into large chunks, peel, and cook in boiling salted water until tender—about 20 minutes. Drain and mash.
  • Coconut milk is not milk or dairy. It is the liquid formed from ground, fresh, hydrated coconut.
  • This dish freezes beautifully! Just cool completely before freezing so no ice crystals form. Defrost and reheat in the microwave.

Barbecued Pizza

Deborah Rood Goldman

Make Shabbat dinner a family activity with this recipe — after adults do the grilling, let kids do the decorating. Combine fresh mozzarella with summer fresh tomatoes and herbs on a pizza crust that's cooked on the grill. 

1 15-ounce bag refrigerated pizza dough
Flour to sprinkle
2 teaspoons oregano, fresh or dried
1 cup tomato or marinara sauce (optional)
2 to 3 fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced
6 to 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (pre-sliced is easy to work with)
Grilled vegetables, sliced (zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, onions)
1 teaspoon fresh basil, torn into small pieces
  1. To make two 6-inch pizzas, divide dough into two equal pieces. Shape into balls. Sprinkle flour lightly on your hands and rolling surface. Place one ball of dough on the floured surface. Flatten it with your hands, and then using rolling pin, roll dough from the center out in all directions to stretch it into a six-inch circle. Place dough on oiled pizza pan, and brush the top with olive oil.
  2. Place pan on hot grill, cook pizza rounds for 3 to 6 minutes until golden brown.  Flip dough over.
  3.  Pour 1/2 cup sauce (if using) on dough and gently spread it with bottom of a ladle. Sprinkle on 1 teaspoon oregano.
  4.  Place sliced tomatoes on top, followed by half of the fresh mozzarella cheese.
  5. Cook on grill for 5 to 10 minutes more, until brown on bottom, and cheese is melted. Top with sliced grilled veggies and fresh basil.
  6. Repeat with remaining dough.


  • For a low calorie salad pizza, follow through Step 3. Then cook additional time until golden brown,  remove from heat and top with fresh tossed salad.
  • Add capers and black olives.
Tina's Tidbits: 

Have a picky eater who isn't fond of vegetables? Have an assortment of veggies in little dishes and let picky eaters choose the ones they like to decorate their pizza. If they create it, there's a good chance they'll eat it. Plus, when you make it into a fun art project, the focus is on design, rather than content.

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. 


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