One of the fun parts of Shavuot cooking is not just the cheesecake or dairy meal, but to me it's using the seasonal spring and summer fruits. It’s the colorful recipes and foods that are perfect for the holiday and the less common dishes I tend to prepare. I love the following dishes. These colorful recipes are packed with flavor and a delicious change to the dairy meals you think of. The edible cookie dough sundaes can be made dairy or pareve and are great for Shavuot with dairy ice cream or honestly good at any time.

Sweet Cream and Tomato Soup

Serves 6 - 8

Creamy and sweet and wonderfully fragrant. If you like, add ginger, leeks or cinnamon to this special soup.

Makes 8 cups

  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed and divided
  • 2 (28 ounces) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounces) can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounces) package low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons Agave Nectar or 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a food processor, pulse celery, onion and garlic, for 10 to 15 seconds until pureed. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion mixture, and ¼ cup of the butter. Cook for, about 10 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomatoes, broth and half of the chopped basil; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover pot; reduce heat to medium/low; allow to simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Put 1 cup of the hot soup in the food processor. Add cream cheese, breaking it into pieces while adding it. Process on high until cream cheese is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add cream cheese mixture, agave nectar and remaining basil and butter to hot soup; stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Arugula and Watermelon Salad with Feta & Mint

Photo by Food Network

Serves 6

This salad is an incredible burst of sweet, salty, herby, and zesty ingredients. The colors are sensational, pink, green and green. I’ve seen many varieties of this salad, but I like my combination that adds mint and jicama. Goat cheese works well too but the salty feta is wonderful with sweet watermelon.

  • 3 cups watermelon cubes, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ cup loosely packed cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups arugula
  • ½ cup diced or julienned jicama
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, drained and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Pour off any juice that has gathered around the watermelon. Toss gently with the rice vinegar and mint. Set aside.

On a platter or in a salad bowl, mix arugula, jicama and feta.

Make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil and mix until emulsified.

Add watermelon and dressing to salad. Toss and serve immediately.

Mixed Green Salad with Goat Cheese Pockets

Serves 6

This is a terrific new dairy salad. The goat cheese pockets are better than croutons and an updated version of the fried goat cheese that was so popular in Israel and restaurants a few years ago. I make extra triangles and use them for a dairy kiddush too.

Puff Pastry Goat Cheese Triangles:

  • 8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature (use the garlic and chive if you can get it)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 8 sheets phyllo dough (keep damp cloth over dough while waiting to use)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt

Salad:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups mixed wild greens like frisee, mesclun, or other artisanal lettuce
  • 3 cups baby arugula

Salad toppings: cooked beets, strawberries, cheese, hearts of palm, toasted nuts, any of your choice

For the puff pastry goat cheese triangles: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix goat cheese, basil, garlic, chives, lemon and salt until smooth and blended.

Lay one sheet of phyllo flat in front of you. Brush it gently with some of the oil. Lay another piece of phyllo on top and brush gently with more oil. Continue two more times to have 4 sheets of phyllo. Cut the dough into 5 equal strips. Scoop a tablespoon of the goat cheese mixture onto one end of a strip. Bring a corner up and over the cheese to line up the bottom edge with the right edge of the phyllo forming a triangle. Continue to do this, folding the phyllo like flag, until you have a little triangle goat cheese package. Continue with the remaining strips and repeat the process with remaining sheets of phyllo. Place the triangles on the prepared pan and brush the tops with more oil. Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of sea salt. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 12 minutes.

For the salad: Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, Dijon and salt in a large bowl. Add the greens and toss gently to coat. Pile the salad on a platter and place the goat cheese packs around the salad.

Salmon with Tomato Caper Salsa

Photo by Brit Co.

Serves 6

Super savory and nice change for salmon. This can be made a day ahead of time.

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 pieces salmon fillets (or Ahi tuna), about 6 ounces each
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil

In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the shallots, capers, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season salmon/tuna with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and cook on alternate side for about 2 minutes for rare tuna (if you prefer more cooked tuna, cook for an additional 2 -3 minutes).

Remove salmon from the skillet. Heat the same skillet over medium heat and add the tomato mixture along with the cumin, canola oil and the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook, until the tomatoes just soften, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the tuna, sprinkle with the parsley and basil and serve warm.

Red Snapper with Tahini Pomegranate Nut Gremolata

Serves 6

Super on trend, savory and a hint of sweet. This is an Israeli inspired dish that is gorgeous and bursting with flavor and texture. I use this recipe on other types of fish and roasted squash or carrots.

For the tahini sauce

  • 6 tablespoons tahini
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt

For the nut gremolata

  • 1/4 cup toasted, finely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup toasted, finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the fish

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or neutral oil
  • 4 (6 ounces). red snapper fillets (you can also use flounder, sole, tilapia, are another light white fish)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses, silan or honey

For the tahini sauce: Process the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 5 tablespoons water in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

For the nut-herb topping: In a medium bowl, gently toss the almonds, walnuts, cilantro, onion, olive oil, parsley, mint, and pepper flakes with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until well combined. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

For the fish: Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper. Put the fish in the skillet and cook, undisturbed, until golden, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until barely opaque in the center (use a paring knife to check), about 1 minute more.

Transfer the fish to a serving plate. Spread the tahini sauce over the top of the fillets, then sprinkle with the nut-herb topping and the pomegranate seeds. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of the pomegranate molasses over each, and serve.

Edible Cookie Dough Sundaes

Photo by DoNYC

Serves 10

This is one of the most popular food trends of 2018/2019 and certainly my kids and their friend’s favorite. I get requests for the recipe over and over again.

  • 1 cup unsalted margarine (use the earth balance buttery sticks that are compressed canola oil), room temperature
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar (you can use a bit less)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk or applesauce, plus more if needed
  • 1 (9 ounce) package chocolate chips, or funfetti or mixed chips

For servings: Non-dairy ice cream, ice cream, sprinkles, toppings of your choice

With an electric mixer, cream margarine with both sugars. Beat until fluffy and light in color, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla and salt.

With the mixer on low, beat in flour, just until combined. Add soymilk, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and is a consistency that you like, I usually use 2 tablespoons. Stir in chocolate chips.

Espresso Hot Fudge

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pareve whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 instant espresso
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, over very low heat, combine chocolate, whipping cream, corn syrup, and instant espresso. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth. Add vanilla extract and stir. Keep warm.

To serve: In a glass or decorative cup alternate a small scoop of edible dough and non-dairy ice cream. Repeat with a second scoop of edible dough and ice cream. Drizzle with hot fudge sauce and serve immediately.

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup pareve whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Salted Caramel Sauce: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the pareve cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted margarine, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.

Can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Rewarm before serving.

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