Although I grew up eating stuffed foods on Sukkot, I never knew the reason why. As this year’s holiday season approached, I decided that I’d had enough of following tradition just because “it’s a thing” and set out to find the meaning behind the stuffing.
I had little success. “Isn’t it something about…” people started confidently, before trailing off into a mumble.
So I did what every Good Jewish Girl would: I asked a rabbi. He told me that just as we embrace the practice of welcoming guests into our sukkah each year — stuffing it full of loved ones (all fun and games until someone needs to pee and everyone is forced to decamp) — we stuff our foods, too. Cute, I thought, but a little vague — it seemed hard to believe that such a widespread tradition stems from such a sentimental notion.
After reading around, I learned that the practice of stuffing foods is intertwined with the Jewish calendar. Sukkot is the harvest festival, so stuffing seasonal vegetables is a celebration of the year’s crop. While I tend to follow family tradition when it comes to Sukkot stuffing (basically, I make stuffed cabbage), I love the idea of perusing the farmer’s market for local, seasonal veggies to upholster. It’s so 2019, after all.
If you’re also seeking to up your stuffing game, draw inspiration from the recipes below.
Our Favorite Stuffed Recipes
3. If you can’t keep your hands off this season’s beautiful squashes (no farmer’s market required, Trader Joe’s has an impressive selection), then go for a stuffed pumpkin.
4. For something really different, try sweet-savory stuffed prunes, which, BTW, make very cute appetizers.
5. These brisket-stuffed papas rellenas are the perfect solution to a fridge/freezer full of Rosh Hashanah leftovers.
6. The fittingly autumnal mujaderra-stuffed kabocha squash is hefty enough to serve as a main, and has the added benefit of being vegetarian.
7. These Georgian-style stuffed tomatoes are veggie, too. This recipe’s particularly useful for using up post-summer tomatoes that tend to be a little sad and flavorless.
8. If you’ve hit a holiday season lull (usually brought on by too much family time/meat), think outside the box and opt for something a little different like pumpkin, corn, and ricotta enchiladas.
9. Follow them with berry-stuffed challah French toast for a complete family friendly meal.