I don’t know why Rosh Hashanah always takes me by surprise. Here we are, just coming off those long, lazy summer days – and we suddenly have to snap to attention. The shofar sounds, we head for shul – and we try to think “sweet.”

Listen, I don’t claim to know exactly what the Sages had in mind when they said that during this season we should avoid tart or bitter foods and slop honey on everything; but my guess is that we’re supposed to look for the sweetness in life and try to make ourselves a little sweeter too. You are what you eat. (And if that’s true, my husband is a candied apple and I’m… well, never mind…)

In any case, a few weeks before Rosh Hashanah, my head starts to twirl with holiday recipes comprised of the sweetest ingredients – to give my family a yummy new lease on life. Now, you know I love and respect tradition – but when it comes to recipes, I like to put a novel twist on things and keep up with the simanim!

Simanim themed menus for Rosh Hashanah never get old. In fact they seem to get more popular each year. So, I am sharing 7 super simanim recipes with you that each only require 7-minutes to prep!  So if the holiday sneaks up on you like it does me, you can still do this menu!

But first a bit on how to plan a simanim menu.

Step 1: List Simanim

I create a list of all the simanim. (I have added the blessings here for your convenience).

APPLE DIPPED IN HONEY “May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that you renew for us a good and sweet year.”

BEETS or SPINACH “May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that our adversaries and prosecutors be removed.”

CARROTS “May it be your will, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that you decree good decrees upon us.”

DATES “May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that our enemies be consumed.”

FENUGREEK or BLACK-EYED-PEAS “May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that our merits increase.”

FISH “May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that we be fruitful and multiply like fish.”

GOURDS “May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that the decree of our sentence be torn asunder; and may our merits be proclaimed before you.”

HEAD OF A SHEEP or FISH “May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that we be as the head and not as the tail.”

LEEKS or CABBAGE or CHARD “May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers that our enemies be decimated.”

POMEGRANATES “May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that our merits increase as (the seeds of) a pomegranate.”

For more details on the what, why, when and where of these Rosh Hashanah symbolic foods click here.

Step 2: List Courses

I decide how many courses I want to serve. I don't feel strongly about both a fish course and a soup course on Rosh Hashanah. I will usually select one or the other. 

Step 3: Mix and Match

This is where the fun starts. I challenge myself and make it a point to work each and every one of the simanim (with the exception of that sheep's head!!!) into my menu. I actually find working with simanim easier than general menu planning because you have a basic outline and very specific source of inspiration from which to work vs. the world-is-your-oyster feeling of year-round menu planning.

Step 4: Simanim Seder

Be sure to have extra simanim on hand for your Simanim Seder held at the start of the Rosh Hashanah meal. Click here for a step-by-step explanation of how-to host a Simanim Seder.

Now, the menu...

GEFILTE WITH BEET RELISH

Wide Gefilte Fish with Beet Relish.jpg

This Beet Relish is a shabbos salad staple at my sister-in-law Chanie's table - lucky she's one of those types that loves to share her recipes.

ISRAELI CARROT SALAD

Wide Carrot Slaw.jpg

Like I always say, thank G-d for Chanie. This classic Israeli salad hails from her table too. Serve this with your fish starter to amp up the first course.

APPLE, CELERY ROOT, AND KOHLRABI SLAW

Wide Apple Kohlrabi Slaw.jpg

Loosely inspired by the hotel and salad that I love, this reinterpretation of a Waldorf Salad is a crisp, fall, slaw incorporating apples, honey, and pomegranates.

Vinegar as well as citric acid (even vitamin C tablets) work as well.

SPINACH KUGEL CUPCAKES

Spinach kugel cupcakes

Cause they are too cute, (practically) carb-less, yet loaded with iron!

CARROT AND CHARD RIBBONS

Wide Carrot Chard Ribbons.jpg

Sweet carrots and savory Swiss chard ribbons - my new favorite simanim side.

ROASTED FALL VEGETABLES WITH POMEGRANATE

ROASTED FALL VEGETABLES WITH POMEGRANATE MOLASSES

Roasting a medley of squash plus carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips and onions will enhance the naturally sweet and earthy flavors of these fall veggies. Top with fresh pomegranate arils just before serving for a bright burst of sweet and tart flavors.

SPINACH LAMB AND LEEK SLOW COOKER STEW 

Spinach Lamb and Leek Slow Cooker Stew

Ripped from the pages of our outrageously popular 28 Day JOY of KOSHER Challenge, it's the perfect opportunity to get a jump on those healthy eating, Rosh Hashanah resolutions. (Lamb is a particularly good source of B vitamins and barley is rich in many less common minerals essential to your body and is high in fiber.)

DATE AND BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES 

Wide Date and Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles.jpg

Chewy dates are the perfect foil for rich, bittersweet chocolate. This Rosh Hashanah I’m combining 2 of my favorite foods to create a singular bite of heartfelt wishes for a happy, healthy and delicious New Year.

Take a look back at my greatest hits simanim menus and choose your favorites: