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Everyone knows that Rosh Hashanah is apples and honey time. But there’s a growing tradition to include other symbolic foods on the menu during the High Holiday season -- foods that evoke our wishes for G-d to bless and protect us in the year ahead.

Leeks for instance.

Why leeks? Because the ancient Aramaic word for leeks (karsi) sounds like yikarsu, the word for “cut off” or destroy. In the prayer we say after eating leeks we ask for protection against our enemies, that they be “cut off” from us in the year ahead.

Leeks seem particularly significant this troubled, violent year.

And so, with hopes that this coming year will be a fortunate and peaceful one for Jews everywhere, our family will be eating leeks in some form or another at Rosh Hashanah.

Actually, we all love leeks, which are in the onion family, and I cook with them often. Unlike onions though, which I think of as a “seasoning” to add flavor to stocks, soups and sautéed food, I regard leeks as more of a vegetable. I always serve braised leeks at Passover. In the summer I char leeks on my outdoor grill. I make hot soup with leeks in winter, cold soup when the weather turns. I use them in omelets. Serve them as a side dish throughout the year. Mix them with potatoes for my Hanukkah latkes.

Enjoy all these different ways to try leeks this year. 

Imam Bayeldi

braised leeks and tomatoes

One dish that I know will be on my Rosh Hashanah menu is Imam Bayeldi, a Turkish specialty made of braised leeks, eggplant and tomatoes. It tastes wonderful and you can make it ahead and eat it hot, cool or at room temperature. I have even used the leftovers for sandwiches (either with feta cheese or grilled meat).

5-Ingredient Leek and Potato Soup


During the holidays I will also serve my easy 5-Ingredient Leek and Potato soup (one of the 5 ingredients is water!), which can be varied so many different ways that my family likes to guess what I’ve thrown into the pot. This soup can also easily go from pareve to dairy to meat.

Chicken with Leeks, Parsnips and Mushrooms

chicken and leeks

Finally, there is sure to be a family favorite, Chicken with Leeks, Parsnips and Mushrooms, another simple, colorful, nourishing and delicious make-ahead entrée.

Parsnip and Leek Latkes

Parsnip and Leek Latkes Pg. 41

Leek Noodle Cups

Leek Noodle Cups

Roasted Potato Leek Soup with Onion Haystack

Roasted Potato Leek Soup with Onion Haystack

Cabbage Leek Kasha Varnishkes

cabbage leek kasha

Dairy Free Potato Leek Quiche


Spicy Sauteed Leeks and Spinach

Spicy Sauted Leeks and Spinach

Pesto Polenta with Frazzled Leeks

pesto polenta with frazzled leeks

Salmon Teriyaki with Leek Panko Bread Crumbs

teriyaki leek salmon

Leek and Mushroom Chicken with Spaghetti Squash

chicken w_mushroom leek sauce

Leek Salad

leek walnut salad wide.jpg

Veal and Leek Pot Pie

Veal and Leek Pot Pie

Leek, Potato and Meat Fritters

Keftes de prasa y karne, leek fritters