Tu B’shvat, Rosh Hashanah of the trees, offers us an incredible opportunity to appreciate the astounding abundance of wonders that grow from the earth. Every time we take out the fruits and vegetables we are about to use, we can notice how gorgeous they are.

Food – colorful, fragrant, crispy, and delicious – is full of inspiring vitality. It's a gift. When we begin to comprehend the miracle of the food we eat, our Tu B’shvat celebration will be enhanced tremendously.

Every Jewish holiday has a special cuisine side and on Tu B’shvat the custom is to eat many different kinds of fruits.

A Kaleidoscope of Color

Traditionally, there are those who celebrate Tu B’shvat with a Seder that includes 30 species, including these 12: wheat, olives, dates, grapes (or raisins), figs, pomegranates, etrogim, apples, walnuts, almonds, carobs and pears, because of their positive mystical associations and Torah verses. (Click here for more details about the Tu B’shvat Seder).

You can start a family custom to adorn your table with a kaleidoscope of colorful fruits, nuts and grains, wines and fruit juices, particularly the celebrated seven species of the Land of Israel, “A land of wheat, and barley, and vines and fig trees, and pomegranates: a land of olive oil and honey”–Deut. 8:8.

Color influences our mood and can impact us in significant ways. Use it to your advantage! Look over the following ingredients and experiment with bright and cheerful color combinations. Opposites on the color spectrum are especially attractive: yellow and purple, red and green, orange and blue, dark and light. Try using different combinations of these vegetables for creative salads.

Red: tomato, pepper, radish with spinach, broccoli, and green pepper.

Orange: sweet potato, carrot, orange peppers, butternut squash, pumpkin with fresh herbs like parsley, dill, basil, and coriander.

Yellow: Yellow peppers with grated beets and/or purple cabbage.

Light green: cabbage, squash, kohlrabi, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, avocado, fennel, olives and bok-choy with tomato slices, radish circles, grated carrots, cherry tomatoes, or purple cabbage sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Dark green: spinach, broccoli, green pepper, zucchini, fresh herbs like parsley, dill, basil, coriander, scallions, leeks, and chard with red, orange or yellow vegetables.

Blue/Purple: beets, eggplants, purple cabbage, purple onion, and dark olives.

White: garlic, onions, turnip, daikon radish, sprouts, and cauliflower.

Here are some of my favorite Tu B’shvat Recipes:

(Note: soaking nuts, seeds, grains and beans before eating them does something amazing: the germination process begins that not only phenomenally increases their nutritional value, it also makes them much easier to digest. )

Sprouted Wheat Salad

  • 1 cup wheat kernels*
  • 1 red pepper, diced or 1 tomato diced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • ½ cup of fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup of thinly sliced purple onion
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 Tb fresh lemon juice
  • Sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper

*To sprout wheat, rinse and drain 1 cup of wheat kernels. Place in a bowl and cover with a few inches of water to soak overnight. Drain in the morning. Rinse and drain twice a day and they will sprout in 1 to 2 days. Salad can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.

Barley Salad

  • 1 cup barley*
  • 2-4 Tb olive oil
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1 diced cumber
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill (or 3 Tb dry)
  • 2 sliced scallions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tb fresh lemon juice
  • ½ to 1 tsp sea salt
  • romaine lettuce leaves

Line a large salad bowl with lettuce leaves, combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl and then serve on top of the lettuce leaves.

*soaked overnight and then cooked in seasoned broth for 20 -30 minutes.

Olive Dip

  • 4 large onions
  • 1 cup of pitted green olives

Sauté chopped onions until translucent

Add black pepper to taste (about ½ tsp)

Blend sautéed onions with pitted olives in food processor until smooth. Serve in colorful bowls with a whole olive and several parsley leaves as decoration.

Olive Salad

  • 4 cups of olives*
  • ¼ cup olive Oil
  • 1 red pepper
  • ½ white onion and ½ purple onion
  • ½ cup fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin

*Select a variety of Mediterranean olives from the many kinds of colors, shapes and sizes available. The wider the variety, the more appealing!

Serve in small bowls, sprinkled with olive oil and decorated with finely chopped red pepper, onion, scallions, and fresh parsley or cilantro leaves.

Sautéed Olive Salad

  • ½ cup water
  • 1 can of pitted green olives

Simmer olives in water for 20 minutes, drain.

Then add and simmer for 15 minutes:

  • 2 Tb olive oil,
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp zaatar (or mix of marjoram, oregano and thyme)
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tb parsley
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Celebration Platters: Arrange platters with a wide variety of colorful vegetables, fruits and nuts that add that special festivity to the Tu B’shvat meal. These contain healthy calories packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. We feel energized and energetic when we eat them!

Pomegranates and Holy Nuts and Seeds

Celebrate the healthy benefits of energy enhancing unroasted, unsalted, raw nuts and seeds that are incredibly rich in iron, calcium, protein, B-vitamins, healthy oil and more.

Serve on a round platter in concentric circles of species or in layers within a large, wine-glass shaped glass bowl a selection of:

Seeds of at least four pomegranates and your choice of almonds, pecans, cashews, hazel nuts (aka filberts), shelled pistachios, walnuts, macadamias, Brazils, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and/or pine nuts

Spectacular Fruit Flowers

Depending in which part of the world you live, what fresh fruit is available vary. Select plump, firm fresh fruit and slice horizontally. Arrange a beautiful display of platters of “fruit flowers” made from: sliced dates (the Biblical honey!), grapes (or raisins), figs (checked for bugs), pomegranate seeds, etrogs, different color apples, walnuts, almonds, carob pods, pears

Plus: fresh coconut pieces (kids love to taste fresh coconut milk straight from the coconut!), baked chestnuts, banana slices, melons, oranges, grapefruits, lemon, pomelo, tangerines, loquats, kumquats, persimmon, plums (or prunes), dried or fresh: papaya, pineapple, guava, kiwi, apricots, peach, cranberries, blueberries

Gorgeous Veggie Flowers

  1. Slice a purple onion horizontally, to make round purple rings.
  2. Slice a yellow pepper lengthwise to make long strips.
  3. Arrange on a large platter. Place the onions in the middle, and surround it with yellow pepper slices to resemble the petals of a flower.
  4. Place a cherry tomato in the center of the onion rings.

Festive String Bean Salad

  • 1 bag of whole string beans (2 pounds or 800+ grams), simmer for 20 minutes
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 different colored fresh peppers (red, light green, yellow or orange), sliced long
  • 1 grated carrot
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds

Dressing:

  • 4 Tb oil
  • 3 Tb apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • 2 Tb brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt

After the string beans are simmered, but still crisp, drain and mix in a large bowl all the ingredients, including the dressing. Let the flavors mix together for several hours before serving.

Miriam’s Cilantro Salmon

  • 2 lbs. (approx. 1 kilo) salmon fillet
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 onion
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro (coriander) or parsley leaves
  • 1 fresh lemon, washed well, with peel, sliced in round circles

Sauce:

  • 1 can tomato paste, plus one cup of water
  • 1 Tb oil
  • 1 Tb paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

In a medium-size baking pan layer:

  • red pepper, onions, and cilantro
  • salmon fillet

Mix sauce ingredients and pour over salmon. Garnish with lemon circles. Bake for 30 minutes at 350˚F.

Enjoy this special day!