Summer is almost over, school is about to begin and the High Holidays are approaching. I look forward to all our Jewish holidays, even the “dreaded” three-day Yom Tov. It helps that I work for a Jewish company so I am not missing any work, but I especially appreciate the family time without work or digital distractions. Connecting to a day of rest is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies, but because we like to eat (a lot) on the Jewish holidays, we have to plan properly to stay healthy.
My goal at all Shabbat and holiday meals is to feature vegetables for two thirds of the menu (and my plate). Luckily, most of the simanim (symbolic foods) can help us out. With carrots, leeks, cabbage, beets, and pumpkin among the foods that promise a year of health and wealth, there are some great choices at your local market.
Many Israeli grill restaurants offer small plates to start the meal, with yummy fresh salads. This is fun to try at home and I frequently start my meals with spicy Moroccan Carrots, Cabbage Slaw, Cumin Dusted Beets, and Roasted Pumpkin. Enjoy a small taste of challah dipped in honey, but go wild with the salads. For the main course, find creative ways of incorporating vegetables, like these two delicious new recipes.
This quick and easy Asian noodle dish can easily serve as a main course because of the hearty wild mushrooms. I used whole grain egg noodles which hold up really well to reheating if you want to make it ahead. You can add all sorts of vegetables or thin-sliced beef or chicken, it is very adaptable and easy too.
Cholent is a go to easy Shabbat or holiday meal, but usually it is filled with fatty meat. I tried vegetarian chicken apple sausage and it came out amazing, with spices and flavors that mimicked meat, without the fat. Using a 4 Bean Mix and Vegetable Broth, it can't get much easier! If you prefer meat, you can use a real chicken apple sausage, either way it is much less fat and calories than regular beef cholent.
By highlighting vegetables throughout your holiday menu you can enjoy healthy eating all season long.