Here are two great kugel recipes that you will enjoy using for the holidays. They are excellent for any time of year, really, and a nice change of pace from the standard Yerushalmi (sweet noodle) or potato kugels, which are all the same color after a while. These will get you compliments every time.
We'll start off with a sweet kugel, and follow up with a savory one…
Sweet Cranberry Applesauce-Noodle Kugel With Crunchy Topping (Makes slightly more than one 9x13 tray)
- 1 bag of thin noodles (400 grams or about 1 pound)
- 1 can of cranberry sauce, with or without whole berries (average American can; it's 16 oz./ 1 lb./ 454 grams)
- 1-1 & 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 4 eggs or 5 egg whites (I leave it to you to figure out what to do with the extra yolks)
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar or unrefined cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup canola oil
Boil up a large pot of water and add a bit of oil so the noodles won't stick after you have cooked them. When the water is boiling rapidly, pour in the noodles. Boil them for 8 minutes, just a bit less than the package says to cook them. Pour the noodles through a strainer and rinse them off. Set these aside until needed.
Place the cranberry sauce with all the juice in a large bowl. Using a fork or a potato masher, mash it up a bit until you have fine chunks of it in the bowl. Add the applesauce, eggs, sugar, salt and canola oil. Mix together a bit. Add in the strained noodles and mix again until all the ingredients are well incorporated. It should still retain the whiteness of the noodles but have a slight pinkish hue near the chunks of cranberry sauce.
Pour this mixture out into a greased or lined 9x13 pan. Since this was too much for my 9x13 pan, I used another small loaf-size kugel pan for the overflow, which was great because then I had something to freeze for another time.
Important tip: Noodle (lukshen) kugels freeze well, but in order to return them to their original texture, you must completely defrost them and then reheat them in your oven for about 20 minutes (I often do this while they are still wrapped so they won't burn). Only then can you serve it hot or cold.
This can be baked as above for a delicious noodle kugel. However, if you want it to be different and really outstanding, add this topping to it before baking:
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 cup coarsely ground walnuts
- 3-4 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Mix together with a fork until it resembles wet crumbs. (Yes, you can do it with the usual margarine instead, but I'm not into margarine if I can do it with oil.) Sprinkle crumbs evenly over the top of the kugel and bake for 35 minutes at 350° F/180° C until lightly browned on top and baked through.
Our next recipe is a savory kugel that is both healthy and tasty. I got the inspiration for this kugel from something that my bubby, Mrs. Erna Lauffer, may she live and be well, made for me when I went to visit her a few years ago. In true Hungarian style, my Bubby served me bow-tie noodles with breadcrumbs and cooked cabbage. Although I’m not against cooked cabbage, I'm not exactly in love with it either. However, when you sit at your Hungarian bubby's table, it's not like you can refuse to eat even one thing!! So eat it I did. And I even liked it. When I returned home, it sparked an idea for the creation of a kugel, which I will now share with you…
Cabbage Onion Kugel (Makes enough for one 9x13 pan and one small loaf pan)
- 1 package of thin noodles (400 grams or 1 pound), cooked and drained as above
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced, optional
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 bag or 1 small head of green cabbage, shredded
- 4 eggs or 5 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or more, to taste)
Set the boiled, rinsed and drained noodles aside.
In a large frying pan, start to sauté the onions (and garlic) in oil until they turn clear. This should take about 10 minutes. Add in the shredded green cabbage and cook over a medium flame for another 5-10 minutes, until it is somewhat soft. It doesn't need to be completely cooked through as it will finish cooking in the kugel. You just want it soft enough to mix easily with the noodles. Turn off the flame.
Beat the eggs in a glass with a fork and add them to your noodles. Add salt and pepper, and then pour the sautéed vegetables over all. Stir mixture with a large spoon until all the ingredients are well combined. Pour into a lined or sprayed tray, slightly larger than a 9x13 pan, or one 9x13 pan plus one small loaf pan.
To create the "buttered breadcrumbs" topping seen in the picture, do the following:
Pour about 1 cup of breadcrumbs (mine were made from leftover challah that was toasted and then ground in the food processor) together with 3 -4 tablespoons or so of oil into a pan. Turn on the flame and toss several times while they are toasting on the stove top. Remove the breadcrumbs from the heat when they are lightly browned and toasted. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a bit more pepper. Toss them together and then sprinkle this topping generously over the top of the kugel.
Bake the kugel for 30-40 minutes until done and the crumbs on top are golden brown but not burned. Delicious!
Let’s go on to a really different, colorful and healthy salad that is sure to complement any of the Yom Tov or Shabbos meals…
Beet, Potato & Pickle Salad
- 1 kilo/ 2.2 lbs / about 6 average sized beets, peeled and boiled
- 2 regular sized potatoes, peeled and boiled
- 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and shredded or cut into matchsticks
- 4 small radishes, diced
- 2 dill pickles, diced
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 cup canned peas, drained
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder, optional *
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
*note: this adds a very nice flavor if you have it, if you do not you can omit it and the salad will still be very good.
In a large pot with plenty of water to cover, boil the peeled fresh beets until soft, about 40 minutes. Turn off the flame and remove the beets with a bit of their juice to a plastic container until needed and refrigerate.
Boil the potatoes in a separate pot until softened, also about 30-40 minutes. Refrigerate until use.
When you are ready to assemble the salad, do as follows:
Dice the beets and potatoes into small cubes. Place them in a large bowl. Add in the shredded or matchstick carrots, diced radishes and diced pickles. Toss this together. Add in the sliced onion and the canned peas. Sprinkle on all the seasonings and drizzle the olive oil over all. Toss to incorporate. Refrigerate for at least an hour or until use. Delicious, nutritious and a nice change from the usual beet salads that are high in sugar and/ or mayonnaise we are all used to!
Of course, being that it is holiday time, we must end off with a nice refreshing dessert. I got this many years ago from my good friend Sima and it has always turned out excellent…
Peanut Butter Crunch Ice Cream
In a small saucepan or in the microwave, melt together:
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup corn syrup
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
When it is liquid, add 1/3 cup Rice Krispies or crushed cornflakes and mix. Pour this out onto a lined cookie tray and let it cool. Afterwards, break it up into small pieces, the smaller the better if children will be eating it. Set aside. The pieces will be firm but not very hard and some will be kind of crumbly.
For the ice cream batter:
- 6-8 eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 packet (1 tablespoon) vanilla sugar
- 1 small container Rich's non-dairy whip* (optional) (212 ml, about 8.5 oz)
*Note: Rich's whip will give your ice cream more body, but it must be whipped separately from the eggs and folded in.
Beat the egg whites in your mixer on high until they are fluffy and white. Keep beating on high and slowly add in the sugar, vanilla sugar and oil. Turn the speed down a bit and add in the yolks. When everything is completely incorporated, turn off the mixer and let your beaters drip off into the bowl.
If you are using Rich's, whip until stiff and fold gently into the ice cream mix by hand with a large spatula. Fill a large plastic container similar in size and depth to a 9x13 baking pan (or two smaller ones) halfway with the ice cream batter.
Sprinkle your broken peanut butter crunch pieces generously over the top. Yes, they will sink in a bit. Pour the rest of the ice cream batter over everything, sprinkle on the rest of the crunch and freeze. (Plastic containers are preferable to aluminum pans because of taste, but if you have nothing else, line the aluminum pans with parchment paper.)
You will get a million complements when you serve this for dessert at your Yom Tov or Shabbos table, or Shabbos sheva brachos. In fact, I think I’m going to go and make us a batch also right now…and of course you can top it with chocolate syrup if you so desire…
Have a great Sukkot!
All the best,
Photos by: Reuven Ansh