• Don Lichterman

Matzo Ball Soup, Challah, Kugel, Gefilte ‘Fish’ are some of the Rosh Hashanah Recipe's of the Week!

Matzo Ball Soup

Calories: 957


To Make the Soup:

  • 2 teaspoons safflower oil

  • 3 large carrots, cut into chunks

  • 3-4 celery stalks with leaves, cut into chunks

  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks

  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage

  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • 2 cups water

  • Salt and pepper to taste

To Make the Matzo Balls:

  • 4 teaspoons egg replacer + 3/4 cup warm water OR 1/4 cup potato starch

  • 1 cup matzo meal

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons safflower oil

  • 1 1/3 cup seltzer


To Make the Soup:

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic.

  2. Sauté for 5 minutes until the vegetables just start to become tender. Mix in the spices.

  3. Add the broth and the water, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.

  4. Then reduce the heat, cover the pot and let simmer for at least one hour.

  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Make the matzo balls during this time.

To Make the Matzo Balls:

  1. If using the egg replacer: Mix the egg replacer and warm water together and let sit for 5 minutes.

  2. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients including the egg replacer/water mixture, if using. You should have a very thick batter. If you need to, add more seltzer or more matzoh meal.

  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Remove from fridge. Wet your hands and roll into balls (around 8 depending on size desired).

  4. Gluten-free matzo meal may be stickier and thicker. It might require additional seltzer.

  5. Gently add the balls to the simmering soup pot and let cook over low heat for about 20-25 minutes.

  6. Remove the matzoh balls from the soup until ready to serve.Serve the soup with one or two matzo balls per person.

  7. Add rice or noodles, if desired. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Total Calories: 957 | Total Carbs: 168 g | Total Fat: 21 g | Total Protein: 17 g | Total Sodium: 2,339 mg | Total Sugar: 19 g

Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Potato and Onion Kugel With Sautéed Apples

Calories: 266 - Serves 6


For the kugel­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

  • 2 Tbs. ground flaxseed

  • 1/3 cup warm water

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 3 medium to large russet potatoes

  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • ½ tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 tsp. dried thyme

  • ½ tsp. black pepper

  • 1 cup chickpea flour

  • Cooking oil spray

For the sauteed apples­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

  • 2 large apples, cored and cut into wedges

  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1-2 Tbs. brown sugar.


For the kugel:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Spray a 9-inch round pie plate with cooking oil. In a mug, combine the flaxseed and the warm water.

  3. Mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it thickens.In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the diced onions.

  4. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes until they become softened and translucent. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let cool.

  5. Peel and grate the potatoes into a large bowl. I did not squeeze the water out of them. To the bowl, add the onions, parsley and the flax gel.

  6. Add the baking powder and the seasoning.

  7. Mix well so everything is well-combined. The mixture should be quite wet. Add the flour, ¼ cup at a time, to the mixture.

  8. You want the batter to feel less wet and like the potato mixture could hold together.

  9. Transfer the potato and onion mixture into the pie plate. Spread the mixture to fit the pie plate and use a spatula to smooth out the top.

  10. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until the top is golden brown and crispy.

  11. Let cool before slicing.

  12. Serve with sauteed apples or sour cream.

For the apples:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the apple slices and cook for 4 minutes until they begin to soften.

  3. Season with cinnamon and cloves and toss to coat all the slices.

  4. Add the vinegar and let the apples cook until the vinegar starts to thicken.

  5. Add the water and cover the pan. Continue to cook until the apples are soft but not falling apart.

  6. Add the brown sugar to taste.Serve over the kugel.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving: Calories: 266 | Carbs: 46 g | Fat: 7 g | Protein: 7 g | Sodium: 30 mg | Sugar: 16 g

Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Gefilte ‘Fish’

Calories: 194 - Serves 4


  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil½ small onion, chopped

  • 2 small or 1 large celery stalk, chopped

  • 1 large carrot, chopped (save some for garnish)

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1-15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

  • 1 ½ tsp. dulce flakes

  • 1 tsp. kelp flakes

  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

  • Zest and juice of one lemon

  • Red cabbage, shredded

  • Prepared horseradish, if desired


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic and let the sweat for about 3-4 minutes. You don’t want them to brown or change color. The veggies should just get softer.

  2. Add the chickpeas to the skillet and toss with the veggies. Mix in the seasonings.

  3. Remove from the heat and let cool.

  4. Transfer the chickpeas and veggie mixture to a food processor.

  5. Add the lemon zest and juice of half the lemon. Pulse the mixture and then process until smooth.

  6. Taste for any seasoning adjustments.

  7. Using a measuring cup, scoop 1/3 cup of the mixture and mold it into a gefilte fish shape. The shape is like a small football or a lemon. Lay the molded gefilte “fish” on a small baking sheet or plate. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

  8. Cover the gefilte fishies with plastic wrap, letting the wrap fit around each piece.

  9. Refrigerate for at least an hour or until ready to serve.

  10. Serve each piece of Gefilte “fish” on a small bed of red cabbage and garnished with a small slice or a few shreds of carrot.

  11. Squeeze the remaining half lemon over the “fish” and cabbage.

  12. Serve with horseradish, if desired.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving: Calories: 194 | Carbs: 33 g | Fat: 5 g | Protein: 7 g | Sodium: 315 mg | Sugar: 10 g

Apples and “Honey”

On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, we dip challah and apples into “honey,” asking for a sweet year. Though Biblical texts mention honey, historians believe that it was really a fruit paste that was eaten as actual honey was hard to come by. That’s good since we don’t want to start the New Year by hurting bees. We can practice this tradition by dipping challah and apples into agave nectar, date paste, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or the sweetener of your choice. Read about The 5 Best Alternatives to Honey and this Guide to Natural Vegan Sweeteners to learn all about the many options available.

Other sweet apple goodies to enjoy are this Maple Drunk Apple Pie, Peanut Butter and Fresh Apple Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup, and Apple Butter Cookies.

Apples are not only for dessert. A favorite holiday dish I make is my Tofu with Apple and Onion Relish. Cut a block of pressed and drained extra-firm tofu into 8 rectangular slices.

Season ½ cup flour with 1 tsp. dried sage, 1 tsp. ground cumin and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Coat the tofu with the seasoned flour and shake off any excess. Heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu slices (in batches) and cook until they are browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the tofu to a 200 degree oven to stay warm. Add 1 large onion that has been chopped into medium-sized pieces and 2 sweet apples, cored and chopped into medium-sized pieces to the skillet. The onions and apples will both give off a lot of water so increase the heat to high and cook until the onion is wilted and the apples are golden brown. This should take about 5 minutes. Add 3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar to the pan. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and cook until the vinegar thickens and becomes syrupy. Add 1 ½ cups vegetable broth and return it to a boil. Cook until the broth reduces to half. Remove the pan from the heat, add kosher salt and pepper to taste and whisk in 2 Tbs. vegan butter until smooth. Serve the tofu and top with the onion and apple relish. Add fresh chopped parsley for garnish.

New Fruit

On the 2nd night of Rosh Hashanah, it is tradition to eat a “new fruit” – a fruit that either has just come into season but we haven’t eaten yet, or a fruit we have not tasted for a long time, if ever. This ritual is to remind us to appreciate the fruits of the earth, be grateful we are here to enjoy them, and to literally taste the newness of the year.

People often use pomegranates as the new fruit. Pomegranates are symbolic for several reasons: it is said the fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot or commandments; we wish that our good deeds in the coming year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate; and the pomegranate is a symbol of fertility and the unlimited possibilities for the New Year. Enjoy eating the pomegranates as is or in any of these delicious recipes: Healthy Pomegranate Quinoa Porridge, Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Tempeh, and Delectable Cashew Citrus Cream Cake with Pomegranate.

However, the tradition of eating a new fruit can be an opportunity to explore farmers’ markets and produce section and find some interesting fruits that you and your family have never tried before. Is kiwi new to you? Try this Raw Kiwi Tart with Ginger, Mint and Coconut. Passionfruit? Enjoy this Tropical Coconut and Passionfruit Chia Pudding. Or indulge in these Raw Fruit Tartlets which have a variety of delicious, sweet fruits.

Round and Sweet Challah              

Besides dipping apples in something sweet, the next most well-known symbolic food of Rosh Hashanah is round challah. The bread, which is usually baked in a braided shape, is made in a round shape to represent the unending cycle of life and the prayer that another full year will be granted. Try this Vegan Challah or this Vegan and Gluten-Free Challah. If you make the gluten-free version, be sure to get a round mold for the holiday.

Besides just dipping the challah into something sweet, you can easily alter the recipes above to make a sweet, dessert challah. Here are several ways to make the challah recipe sweeter: (1) add a bit more than the ¼ cup of sugar described in the recipes. I wouldn’t add a lot more sugar, maybe just take it up to 1/3 cup; (2) add ½ tsp. ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients of the dough; (3) replace ¼ to 1/3 cup of flour with cocoa powder to make it a chocolate challah; (4) add ½ cup chocolate chips to make it a chocolate chip challah; (5) when making your own vegan butter, substitute cocoa butter for the coconut oil to give the bread a delicious chocolate aroma and taste; and (6) before putting the challah in the oven to bake, brush the top with non-dairy vanilla-flavored milk. Combine ¼ cup sugar, ½ tsp. cinnamon and ½ tsp. cocoa powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle it over the top of the challah and bake as usual.

If you are using an already-bought or already-baked challah, you can still make it sweeter. Brush the bread with non-dairy milk and sprinkle the cinnamon cocoa sugar over it. Put it in a 250 degree oven for just a few minutes until the sugar melts. Then make it even sweeter by making a chocolate drizzle for it. Combine 1 cup vegan chocolate chips, 3 Tbs. vegan butter, 2 Tbs. agave nectar, a pinch of ground cinnamon and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Over low heat, keep stirring until the chocolate melts and is smooth and glossy. If the chocolate is too thick, you can thin it out with a little non-dairy milk. Cut thin of challah. Place 3 slices on each plate. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Sprinkle the challah with powdered sugar and serve while warm. You get the tender challah with its slightly sweet taste served warm and drizzled with rich chocolate and powdered sugar. What a wonderful way to start the New Year off sweetly.


Calories: 2649 - Ingredients

  • 2 packets or 1 1/2 Tbs. dry active yeast

  • 1 cup lukewarm water

  • 2 tsp. + ¼ cup sugar

  • 6 tsp. egg replacer + 8 Tbs. water¼ cup olive oil + more for brushing

  • 1 ½ tsp. Kosher salt

  • ¼ tsp. turmeric

  • 4 cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, or a combination of both) + more for dusting

  • Poppy seeds or sesame seeds (optional)


  1. In a mug or small bowl, mix the yeast into the warm water. Make sure the water is warm, not cold and not hot. If the water is too cold, the yeast won’t activate and if it’s too hot, the yeast will die.

  2. Add 2 tsp. of sugar to feed the yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes. It should get very frothy. In another mug or small bowl, mix the egg replacer and the water.

  3. Transfer the frothy yeast mixture into a large mixing bowl.

  4. Add the olive oil to the yeast and mix. Add the egg replacer to the large bowl and mix. Mix in the remaining ¼ cup sugar, salt and turmeric. Whisk until it’s all combined.

  5. Gradually add the flour until the dough begins to come together. It should be soft but not sticky. When you have the texture you want, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for 10 long minutes.

  6. It will feel like forever so put on some music to sing along to or have some company to talk with to make the time go by faster. If the dough still feels sticky, add more flour. If it feels too dry, add water.

  7. When you are done kneading, put the ball of dough into a greased bowl, roll it around so it gets covered in oil, cover it with a damp cloth and put it in a warm place to rise.

  8. Let it rise until it doubles in size, about 1 ½ – 2 hours. When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down, cover it again and let it rise another 30 – 45 minutes until it has risen again.

  9. Don’t worry as much about the time but whether the dough has risen. If it takes longer, that doesn’t mean anything is wrong. If it doesn’t rise at al, that’s a problem.Place the dough on a floured surface.

  10. If you are making a double batch, divide the dough into 2 equal parts and continue with the rest of the steps. Cut the dough (or each half) into 3 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, and then roll each ball into a long strand. Let the strands rest for 5 minutes. Transfer the strands to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Join the 3 strands at the top by pinching them together and turning them under.

  11. Braid the strands (cross the outer right strand over to the middle position, cross the outer left strand over to the middle position and repeat until you reach the end) and join the ends at the bottom, pinching them together and turning them under. Brush the dough with olive oil. Cover the dough again and let it rise for another hour.

  12. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the dough with olive oil again, sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired, and bake for 35 minutes. The challah should be golden brown with a firm crust. It should sound hollow when you tap it. Let cool before slicing


To make 2 loaves, double the recipe. Since I make the bread by hand, I prefer to make each loaf individually as it’s easier to handle.

Nutritional Information

Total Calories: 2,649 | Total Carbs: 434 g | Total Fat: 74 g | Total Protein: 48 g | Total Sodium: 1 mg | Total Sugar: 66 g


Some people believe that it is good to eat fish on the New Year because it is a symbol of fertility and abundance. Because fish never sleep, it is also thought that eating fish will keep us cognizant and aware. We can follow this tradition in a compassionate way by enjoying vegan seafood at dinner. Start your holiday meal with this Vegan Gefilte “Fish” made from chickpeas. Then indulge in Vegan Tofu Scallops, Tempeh “Crab” Cakes with Horseradish-Dill Mayo or Tofu “Shrimp” Scampi. Read How to Make Vegan Seafood without the Fish for more ideas and recipes.

Beets, Leeks and Dates

Beets, leeks and dates are believed to remove spiritual roadblocks, including enemies, before a sweet New Year is granted. A traditional Jewish way to enjoy beets is by making borscht or beet soup. My Papa’s Borscht (named after my grandfather) is easy to make. Boil 6 red beets that have been peeled and chopped in 3 cups of salted water for 20 minutes or until fork-tender. Strain the beets and reserve the liquid. Let the beets cool and then cut them into chunks. In the same pot, heat 1 Tbs. oil and saute 1 minced red onion, 1 finely diced stalk of celery, 1 finely diced carrot and 1 minced garlic clove until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add the beet cooking liquid, 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth and 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Add 1 Tbs. fresh dill and kosher salt and black pepper to taste. For a smooth soup, strain the veggies out or keep them in for a chunkier soup. Serve hot or cold with a dollop of vegan sour cream. Use the beet greens to make a salad to go on the side of your borscht.

Other beet dishes to try include Roasted Beet Burgers, Sauteed Beet Red Greens, Beet Carpaccio, Braised Red Cabbage with Beets and this Grilled Beet Salad with Almonds and Dried Cranberries. For a beet-y dessert, make these Beet-Root Chocolate Frosted Cupcakes. Serve this Pureed Lentil Dip with Caramelized Leeks , Cheesy Leek and Potato Gratin and this Tempeh, Date and Olive Marbella for added protection.

Foods for Prosperity

Several foods are believed to bring prosperity, blessings and plenty in the New Year. Just like the Southern tradition, black-eyed peas are thought to bring good fortune. Eat them in these Black-Eyed Pea and Spinach Fritters with Sundried Tomato Tartar Sauce or these Black-Eyed Pea Burgers with Mississippi Comeback Sauce. Couscous is believed to bring many blessings as represented by the many tiny grains. Make this Curried Couscous and Vegetable Salad and be sure to add 7 vegetables since the number seven represent goodness and luck.

Gourds are another symbolic food eaten to make our merits many. Serve some Pumpkin and Kale Hummus and Sauteed Delicata Squash Rings and praise will certainly come to you. The Indian spice Fenugreek is also thought to increase our merits. Enjoy this spice in Indian-Style Cauliflower with Ginger and Fenugreek and these Indian Whole Wheat Flatbreads with Fenugreek.

Other Holiday Recipes

Not all traditional and customary holiday dishes are symbolic; some are just delicious. Serve up a bowl of tradition with a vegan twist with this Matzoh Ball Soup or this Vegan Matzoh Ball Soup with a Gluten-Free Option. For an appetizer, serve this Beet, Fennel and Lime Pate or this Mushroom and Walnut Pate, a vegan version of chopped liver. Brisket and roasts are common holiday dishes. Wow everyone with this Seitan and Mushroom Bourguignon, Braised Seitan Short Ribs in Spicy Chile Sauce, Seitan Pot Roast (which can also be made with this gluten-free version of seitan), this Portobello Wellington and the Unturkey Roast.

For less “meaty” entrees, try this Moroccan Tofu in Lemon-Olive Sauce over Spaghetti, Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf, Raw Zucchini Pasta with Creamy Avocado-Cucumber Sauce, Lentil Loaf, or this Creamy Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagna.

For an extra-special side dish, make my Potato and Onion Kugel with Sauteed Apples. Other delicious sides include this Onion, Celery and Mushroom Stuffing, Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Braised Garlicky Kale, Spicy Lentil Salad, Roasted Red Potatoes with Turmeric and Thyme, Yam Banana Mash and Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Red Chile Flakes.

End the meal on a sweet note with this Apple of My Eye Pie with Gluten-Free Crust, Carrot Cake with Walnuts and Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, a big bowl of this Sweet Potato Apple Pie Ice Cream and the traditional cookie of Jewish holidays, Chocolate Hazelnut Rugelach.

There is no better way to celebrate the New Year than with food that is healthy, compassionate and incredibly delicious. It is not only possible, but also easy to keep traditions alive while updating them just a bit to fit with our newer beliefs. We hope you enjoy these recipe ideas and have a very Happy New Year. “Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim: May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

Rhea Parsons - See My Recipes

When Rhea became vegan, there were no places in her Bronx neighborhood to eat so she had to learn to cook, mostly by watching TV cooking shows, especially Christina Pirello and Rachael Ray.  That led to the creation of The "V" Word website which focuses on vegan versions of favorite, familiar foods. Rhea has written several e-cookbooks which are available on her web site. It is Rhea's hope that she can spread the "V" Word to bring more compassion into the world and it is her dream to become the vegan Rachael Ray.

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