This is a simple and delicious side dish anytime, that is perfect for the transition from heartier winter root vegetable dishes to light, garden-fresh spring dishes. It also adds wonderful color and meaning to the seder table, too, as an theme-extension of the whole beet that is halachically permissible as a replacement to the zeroa (shankbone) on vegetarian seder plates.
6-8 medium-sized beets, stems and leaves attached (red, purple, gold or a mixture)
2 oranges + zest
1 small onion
1 medium avocado, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
sprig of fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Trim beets at stems, but leave unpeeled. Set beet green aside.
Wash beets thoroughly. Lightly coat beets in olive oil. Wrap whole beets individually in foil and place foil-covered beets on a baking sheet. Place into oven. Roast beets about an hour to an hour and a half or until beets are tender throughout when pierced with a knife.
Once beets are in the oven, pull beet greens from stems and coarsely chop. Submerge chopped greens in boiling water about 2 minutes, just enough to brighten and make tender. Drain greens, and pat them in-between paper towel or a clean, dry cloth to remove excess water. Place greens in a large bowl. Set aside.
Chop onion into long, thin slivers. Place into bowl with beet greens. Set aside.
Zest about ¼ of one of the oranges. Set zest aside. Working over a small bowl, segment oranges, reserving juice in the bowl below. Add orange segments to large bowl of beet greens and onion. Set aside.
In small bowl with reserved orange juice, add minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dill, orange zest and salt and pepper to taste.
When beets are tender and have cooled at least enough to handle comfortably, unwrap foil from beets completely. Rub each beat gently with a paper towel to remove skins (they will come off very easily). Chop peeled beets into thin wedges. Place chopped beets into large bowl with greens, onion and orange segments. Pour olive oil and vinegar mixture into bowl with other ingredients and toss lightly. Toss in cubed avocado. Serve immediately or refrigerate if prepared in advance.
This dish can be finished with coarsely chopped roasted/salted hazelnuts if desired.
I’m gluten-free so quinoa is part of my everyday life, but I think most gluten eaters appreciate quinoa the most on Passover, when more mainstream grains like wheat, barley, and rice are off-limits. This quinoa salad is very versatile in that you can use pretty much whatever vegetables you like depending what is in season. Here I do a roasted veggie medley of sweet potatoes, onions, zucchini, and bell peppers, but asparagus, tomato and scallion would be just as delicious.
1 sweet potato, diced
1 red onion, chopped
2 zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, cubed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
dash of pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease two baking sheets. Spread sweet potatoes and onions on one baking sheet and zucchini and bell peppers on another. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil over each baking sheet. Roast zucchini and peppers for 10 minutes, sweet potatoes and onions for 25 minutes. Remove to a large bowl.
In the meantime, place quinoa, water, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and rest for 10 minute before fluffing with a fork.
Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Add quinoa to vegetables and drizzle dressing over top, mixing to combine.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
Holidays are meaningful for a variety of reasons, but more often than not, because they include a gathering of family. This will come as no surprise, but in my family, that gathering always features two elements: a mouthwatering feast and a dance party. Without exception, if there is music playing in the general vicinity, there will be dancing. Regardless of the amount of space we have, someone always finds room to bust a move. And depending on how much alcohol was served at dinner, the elders have been known to cut a rug, as well.
On the rare occasion when I need a little liquid courage to hit the makeshift dance floor, one of my favorite cocktails is the classic Cuban mojito. Made famous by Ernest Hemingway, this literary favorite blends the distinctly clean, fresh scent of lime and the aromatic essence of sugar-bruised mint leaves with world-class rum only found on the motherland and the nose-tickling fizz of seltzer. Topped off with a splash of bitters, it’s clear why the mojito is favored by Cubans and Americans, alike.
Since we’ll soon be gathering as a family for Passover, and rum will certainly be off-limits due to the dietary restrictions that accompany the holiday, I thought I’d transform this citrus-y cocktail into a tasty bite suitable for any seder table. By seasoning naturally bitter quinoa, a longtime Passover favorite across the board, with the most memorable elements of a mojito, hopefully, all it will take is one bite to get the more shy family members to hit the dance floor.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 Tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
2 limes, zested
In a medium pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the salt, pepper, and quinoa, and toast for 1 minute.
Pour in the chicken broth, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Cover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated.
Fluff the quinoa, and stir in the almonds, mint leaves, and lime zest.
The reason I love this simple recipe is: you can prep it beforehand, it stays great, it’s cheap, and it’s very yummy! The vinaigrette is simple but very flavorful, as I have found many Moroccan Jewish recipes to be.
The recipe serves 4-6, but I like to double it and eat the leftover salad throughout chol hamoed.
For the salad:
1 thinly sliced cucumber
2 cold boiled potatoes, sliced
3 bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced: i use one green, one red, one orange for color :)
2 2/3 cups pitted olives (any variety you like)
3 scallions, sliced thin
For the vinaigrette:
3-5 chopped garlic cloves
6 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon, or 1 Tbsp or so lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
salt to taste
Lay all of the veggies and potatoes out on a nice platter (think oval-shaped platter). Scatter the olives all around and the scallions on top.
In a small bowl whisk all the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
Pour vinaigrette over the veggies, olives, and scallions.
1 lb of parsnips
1 large onion, diced
6 button mushrooms, diced
5 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
Bring large pot of water to boil, and cook the parsnips until soft and tender. Drain and set aside.
In a skillet, saute the onions and mushrooms in canola oil until brown.
In a mixing bowl, mash the parsnips and add butter or margarine, mushroom and onions.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.