If you find yourself sitting down to eat at synagogue late Saturday afternoon, don't expect much from the menu. Where you're treated to nice meals on Friday night and Saturday for lunch, seudah shelishit, the third meal on Shabbat, is likely to be a sad conglomeration of mayonnaise-heavy salads, greasy kugels, and dry cakes.
According to the Shulhan Arukh it is preferable to eat bread at seudah shelishit, but if you are too full from lunch it is permissible to eat a slice of cake or a piece of fruit instead (OH 291:7). Most people do not say kiddush at seudah shlishit, but some do have the custom of saying just the blessing over wine, without any of the preamble found in the special kiddush liturgy for Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
So what can you do to make this obligatory meal something to look forward to? Step 1: Put away the mayonnaise. Just because the meal is typically heavy on the salads doesn't mean that is has to be incredibly unhealthy. Here you'll find three recipes that are perfect for any seudah shelishit. They call for little to no prep work before Shabbat, and they yield delicious results without ever summoning a jar of Miracle Whip.
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 large cucumber, quartered and sliced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
2 19 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
In a small bowl combine the olive oil, cumin, and lemon juice. Set aside.
In a large bowl toss the chickpeas, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro or parsley. Pour the dressing on top, and toss to make sure everything is fully coated.
Pronounced: seh-ooh-DAH, or SUE-duh, Origin: Hebrew, meal, usually on a holiday or at a lifecycle event.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.