Make-Ahead Side Dishes for Rosh Hashanah


Whether Rosh Hashanah falls early or late, the High Holidays are a busy time.

The school year has just begun, as have clubs and organizations that were on hiatus for the summer. The past year is ending with all its triumphs and regrets, while the specter of the future lies ahead.

With all that going on, I dive into menu planning for Rosh Hashanah. My main course is a given — brisket and roasted chicken. But deciding what to serve with them is strategic.

The most practical side dishes are ones that ease congestion in the kitchen and avoid last-minute stress. Whether they’re served hot or cold, I always prepare side dishes in advance. No matter what, I don’t want to be peeling carrots and chopping herbs as my guests arrive.

I like recipes that call for seasonal produce. The Jewish New Year comes at the crossroads between late summer vegetables, such as tomatoes and corn, and the parsnips, turnips and sweet potatoes so prevalent in the fall. There are plenty of colorful veggies to select for side dishes.

But more importantly, the presentation on the table should exude lively and fresh, even if these perky veggies spent a couple of days nestled in the refrigerator before their debut. Once they are brought to room temperature and briefly reheated, no one would believe I didn’t whip them up on the spot.

As dinnertime approaches, my only concern is the main course because the side dishes are ready to go.

Sautéed Corn, Tomatoes and Summer Squash | Pareve

Serves six to eight

  • 1 ear of corn
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more, if needed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 shallot, diced fine
  • ¼ teaspoon rosemary needles, crushed
  • 3 Italian plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large summer squash, diced
  • ⅛ cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
  • Kosher salt to taste

You can use a leftover ear of steamed corn instead of starting from scratch. If using raw corn, pull off and discard the outer leaves. Pour 2 inches of water into a pot, submerge the corn and cover the pot. Bring to a hard boil for 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the flame.

Pull out the corn with tongs. Cool it to room temperature. Stand the corn vertically over a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut off the kernels. Reserve. (This can be done a day in advance.)

In a medium-sized skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Sauté the garlic, shallot and rosemary until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sauté until they give off some sauce, about 3 minutes. Add the summer squash, wine and salt.

Cover the pot and simmer over a low flame until the summer squash wilts, about 10-15 minutes. Add the corn and stir. Cover the pot for 3 minutes. This can be served immediately.

To make ahead: Cool to room temperature. Move the vegetables into an attractive, microwave-safe serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days. Before serving, bring to room temperature. Discard the plastic wrap and microwave for 1-2 minutes, until warmed through. Or reheat the vegetables in a skillet.

Panko Roasted Zucchini | Pareve

Serves six to eight

  • Nonstick vegetable spray
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • 3 zucchini, sliced thin
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (Emeril’s and Iron Chef brands are kosher)

Coat a 7-by-11-inch baking pan, such as Pyrex, with nonstick spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Squeeze the garlic cloves through a garlic press. Place them in a small saucepan with the olive oil. Heat them briefly over a medium-low flame until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Do not sizzle or heat for too long as garlic scorches easily. Remove the garlic from the flame and reserve.

Line up half of the zucchini in rows in the prepared pan. Sprinkle them lightly with salt. Spoon on half of the garlic-olive oil mixture. Cover with a second layer of zucchini. Spoon on the remaining garlic-olive oil mixture. Cover the top layer with panko. Sprinkle on a bit more salt.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the panko turns golden brown, the zucchini is softened and cooked through and the casserole sizzles. It can be served immediately.

To make ahead: Cool the casserole to room temperature. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to three days. Before serving, return it to room temperature and heat it in a 350-degree oven until the casserole bubbles and the panko regains crunchiness. Serve immediately.

A Medley of Autumn Vegetables | Pareve

Serves six

  • Nonstick vegetable spray

    Autumn vegetables | Sarsmis/Thinkstock
  • 6 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 turnips
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 beets
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil, or more, if needed
  • Kosher salt to taste

Coat a 10-by-15-inch baking pan, such as Pyrex, with nonstick spray. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potato, onions and beets. The beets will gush with red liquid. Rinse everything under cold water. Drain the vegetables on paper towels. Cut everything into 1-inch chunks. Move the vegetables to the prepared pan. Drizzle the vinegar and olive oil over the vegetables. Turn them with a spoon to coat every surface. Sprinkle on salt.

Roast the vegetables in the oven for 45-50 minutes, turning every few minutes, until they are cooked through and browning. Add more oil if the vegetables start to stick. The vegetables can be served immediately.

To make ahead: Cool the vegetables to room temperature, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, return the vegetables to room temperature and move them to an attractive serving dish or platter. The vegetables can be served at room temperature or placed in a microwave oven for 1-2 minutes, until heated through.

Marinated Vegetable Salad | Pareve

Serves six to eight

  • 1 bunch radishes, about 12
  • 1 cucumber
  • ½ pound string beans
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 teaspoons dill, minced
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • ⅛ cup red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder

As you prepare the vegetables, move them to a large bowl.

Radishes: Rinse under cold water. Remove the stems and ends, then slice thin.

Cucumber: Peel. Cut in half vertically. Remove the seeds. Cut into slices and then cut slices in half.

String beans: Remove the ends. Cut each bean horizontally into three or four pieces.

Cherry tomatoes: Cut in half.

Pepper: Cut around the stem and discard it. Rinse under cold water to flush out the seeds. Drain on paper towels and then dice.

Scallions: Cut off the roots and coarse green spears at the other end and discard them. Slice thin the white part and a little of the green.

Add the dill, oil, vinegar, salt and garlic powder. Using two spoons, toss to coat. This can be served immediately but is better the next day.

To make ahead: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. An hour before serving, remove from the refrigerator and place the salad in an attractive bowl. Toss again and serve.


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