The Nine Days leading up to Tisha B'Av, when we refrain from eating meat, can be challenging for people who are not as comfortable with making fish, pasta, pizza, or vegetarian meals. These recipes, including fish options, burgers, pasta and soup, will change your attitude and satisfy your hunger and need for full flavored meals. I like that they are lighter meals, perfect for summer weather. I recently shared a lot of homemade pizza ideas so refer back to those too for some additional inspiration.

Spicy Salmon with Herbs and Israeli Couscous


Photo by

Serves 5

Don’t be afraid of the “spicy” in this salmon dish. It pairs perfectly with the bold herbs and the hearty salmon. If you prefer, substitute the harissa with pureed roasted red peppers, or pureed sundried tomatoes for a milder version.

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought harissa (see note above if you prefer no spicy ingredients)
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 1/2 pound salmon fillet in 1 piece, cut from the tail end

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the couscous and a pinch of the salt and cook, stirring, until al dente, 10 minutes. Drain well; let cool.

In a bowl, toss the couscous with 1/2 cup of the chives, the mint, parsley, lemon juice and oil. Season with some of the salt and pepper.

In a bowl, whisk the harissa, agave and the remaining chives.

Place the salmon on a baking dish. Rub the harissa mixture all over the salmon. Season with remaining salt and pepper.

Roast for 8 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 5 to 8 minutes, until cooked through and lightly crisped on top. Cut the salmon into 5 pieces and serve with the couscous.

Mushroom and Farro Soup


Photograph By Emma Fishman, Food Styling By D’mytrek Brown

Serves 4 - 6

I love this twist on mushroom and barley soup. The farro is a bit chewy and healthier than the barley alternative. This recipe uses a parmesan rind and grated parmesan, which is a hard cheese. This requires waiting for 6 hours before eating meat, which is not permitted during the Nine days anyway, so to me, it’s a perfect soup for this time of year.

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. mixed mushrooms (such as crimini, shiitake, oyster, and/or maitake), cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup), plus rind
  • ⅔ cup farro
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced, plus any leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium until oil is sizzling. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add shallot, mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned, 10–15 minutes. (Initially, the pot will look dry, then very wet before mushrooms start to brown.)

Add Parmesan rind, farro, soy sauce, and 6 cups of water to the pot. Scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, season with a sprinkle more of salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and simmer until farro is al dente, 15–20 minutes.

Add sliced celery to pot and simmer until slightly softened and bright green, about 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat; add lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and/or more soy sauce if needed.

Divide soup among bowls and top with finely grated Parmesan and celery leaves.

Roasted Cod and Fennel with Citrus


Photo by Blaine Moats

Serves 4

Fennel gets mild when it’s roasted. I like it very much this way and honestly, find it too bold when it’s raw. I try to get others to try it for this reason, it’s quite delicious. Feel free to use any other hearty white fish like sea bass or mahi mahi as well.

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, halved, cored, and cut into thin wedges, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fronds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1-inch thick firm white fish fillets, such as cod, grouper, or hake
  • 1 large pink grapefruit or orange or a mixture, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Add fennel wedges. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 12 to 15 minutes or until starting to brown.

Flip fennel and add fish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine chopped fennel fronds, grapefruit/orange, parsley, shallot, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Serve fish with roasted fennel and citrus salsa.

Cauliflower Gnocchi


Photo by PureWow

Yield: 6 servings, about 30 gnocchi

Gnocchi is all the rage this year. The varieties on restaurant menus are endless: beet, cauliflower, sweet potato, and even chocolate gnocchi. I’ve seen quite a few in the freezer section of national supermarkets too. Most of these packaged products are not kosher so I made my own version that is delicious, filling, and fun to make. My kids love them too!

  • 4 cups cauliflower florets, steamed and cooled
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour, flour or other flour alternative
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Marinara sauce, for serving

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place steamed cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it resembles crumbs. Add Parmesan, coconut flour, mozzarella, eggs, garlic, garlic powder, and salt. Pulse just until combined; do not overmix.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

With wet hands, form small cylinder shapes with about 3 teaspoons batter and place onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, then flip gnocchi and cook for 5 more minutes. Alternatively, heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add gnocchi and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.

Serve warm, with store-bought or homemade marinara sauce, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of oil.

Lentil Veggie Burgers


Photo by Veganblueberry

Makes 5 burgers

Packed with flavor and nutrition, these veggie burgers are a great Sunday lunch or a light weeknight dinner. You can use gluten-free oat flour, which is widely available in national markets, or make your own oat flour by placing oats in a food processor and blending with the S-blade. Blend until oats have a fine, flour-like texture. One cup of oats yields about one cup oat flour.

  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups cooked lentils (use Gefen prepared lentils, or prepare dried lentils according to package instructions)
  • ½ cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup oat flour, plus a little more for dusting
  • ½ cup cilantro or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha, garlic chili sauce, or other hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Zesty Green Sauce

  • 1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 2 cups lightly packed tender herbs (such as a combination of mint, cilantro, and/or parsley)
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped (remove seeds and membrane, carefully, to reduce heat)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Burger buns, for serving

In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, pulse onion and garlic until coarsely chopped. Add lentils, chickpeas, eggs, oat flour, cilantro, chili powder, smoked paprika, sriracha, and salt. Pulse until chunky, not smooth. Stir in grated carrot.

Wet your hands a little and divide the lentil mixture into 6 portions. Shape them into patties about 1 inch thick. (If the batter is unmanageably wet, add a little more oat flour.) Sprinkle lightly with oat flour on both sides.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, cook patties until crispy on the bottom, about 4 ½ minutes. Flip patties carefully with a spatula and continue cooking until the second sides are firm and brown, about 4 ½-5 more minutes. Add more oil to the pan if needed, and repeat with the remaining burgers..

To make the zesty green sauce: In a food processor, blend avocado, herbs, jalapeño, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, and kosher salt. Drizzle in the olive oil while the motor is running. Blend until smooth.

Serve burgers on buns with zesty green sauce and toppings of your choice.