"Inviting a large crowd for Rosh Hashanah dinner," says Giora Shimoni, "means taking a variety of tastes and even dietary restrictions into consideration. Are there children who don't eat fish? Are there adults who want low-fat, low-carb dishes? Are there grandparents who need sugar-free choices? And what about vegetarians?" Shimoni takes the guesswork out of menu planning with this selection of crowd-pleasing recipes for the Jewish New Year, so all your guests can find plenty to eat and enjoy.
- Honey Wheat Raisin Challah (Pareve) -- This honey-sweetened round challah is studded with golden raisins, and flavored a touch of vanilla (and an optional pinch of cardamom, if you like). Some of the refined flour is swapped out for white whole wheat, which adds texture and balances the sweetness of the plump golden raisins and honey. It's a great choice if you're aiming for a sweet and healthy new year.
- Gefilte Fish (Pareve) -- If you've always wanted to make gefilte fish from scratch, but weren't sure how, check out Giora Shimoni's photo-ilustrated step-by-step instructions. You may never go back to the jarred stuff again.
- Rich Chicken Noodle Soup (Meat) and/or No-Chicken Matzo Ball Soup (Pareve, Passover) -- If you consider chicken soup a must, but don't want to go through the trouble of breaking down a chicken, check out this recipe for Rich Chicken Noodle Soup, which relies on chicken wings to infuse the broth with lots of flavor. Vegetarians can also get in on the matzo ball soup action with this savory vegetarian broth, served with Dill Matzo Balls.
- Fried Israeli Eggplant Salad -- You'll have to do a little deep frying to make this Israeli Eggplant and Red Pepper Salad, but the rest of the preparation so simple, and this versatile dish works as an appetizer, salad, or side.
- Moroccan Sweet Beet Salad -- Beets are considered an auspicious food for Rosh Hashana, and this simple, sweet treatment makes a nice side.
- Sugared Almond Salad -- Salad greens, mandarin oranges, and red onion are tossed in a parsley vinaigrette and topped with sugared almond slices in this simple, crowd pleasing salad.
- Sweet and Savory Coca Cola Brisket (Meat, Passover) -- It may seem like an unconventional addition, but Coca Cola is the secret to Giora Shimoni's "festive, fragrant" crowd-pleasing brisket, where it works as both a tenderizer and flavor-enhancer.
- Apricot Chicken (Meat) -- "So simple and so good!" Giora Shimoni says of this Apricot Chicken, a saucy family favorite.
Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine with Couscous (Pareve) -- This vegan vegetable tagine is mildly spiced, so it works well for family meals. And it works as both a complete meal for vegetarians, or as a complementary side for the meat eaters at the table.
- Green Beans -- Whether roasted, steamed, or dressed up with date syrup, green beans are always a winning side.
- Lemony Greek Potatoes with Oregano and Garlic -- Tender on the inside, and crisp on the outside, these delicious roasted potatoes need no parboiling. (Adding water to the pan is the secret shortcut!)
- Sugar Pumpkin Pie with Olive Oil Crust -- Pumpkins and other gourds are also symbolic foods for good new year, so why not cap the meal with a seasonal pumpkin pie?
- Apple and Dried Cherry Crisp -- Carry the apples-for-a-sweet-new-year theme through to dessert with this deliciously wholesome crisp. If you're cooking for a crowd, the recipe is easlly doubled, and leftovers make a delicious breakfast!
- Chai-Spiced Honey Cake -- If dessert isn't complete without a beautiful bundt cake, try this moist and fragrantly spiced honey cake, with its lovely notes of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg.
Edited and updated by Miri Rotkovitz