Dishes for Rosh Hashanah and other High Holy Days

23 Recipes
Apple galette.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Celebrating during a pandemic: We will still eat apples and honey.


This year, those who celebrate the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will “attend” synagogue observances via internet broadcasts and forgo the large gatherings that characterize the season’s festive feasts. While some might engage in smaller, socially distant outdoor get-togethers within their quarantine bubbles, most will sit down to holiday meals with only their households.

So what’s a cook to do? Perhaps, if nothing else, breathe a sigh of relief. There won’t be the usual fun and fanfare, but there also will not be the endless planning, shopping, cooking, entertaining, dishwashing and late-night cleaning up.

Fewer guests gives you the time and energy to experiment with more ambitious cooking. Think of it as a low-risk opportunity to try something new.

On the heels of the quarantine sourdough craze, you can gussy up challah for the new year.

Apple and honey challah

Time1 hour 15 minutes
YieldsServes 10

Round challah with seven seeds

TimeActive work time: 35 minutes Total preparation time: 3 hours plus 1 hour cooling
YieldsServes 16

Spinach- and ricotta-stuffed challah

Time1 hour 20 minutes
YieldsMakes 2 loaves, 8 to 10 slices each

The Hebrew names of Rosh Hashanah’s symbolic foods are plays on words, each expressing a wish for the coming year. Often eaten one at a time as a Seder in a ritual order, these foods also can be cooked and eaten together.

Carrot and pomegranate soup

Time1 hour 45 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6

Pomegranates represent the wish that our good deeds may increase like the seeds of the fruit.

Serving the head of a fish symbolizes the wish that we may be as the head and not as the tail.

Beet and pomegranate salad

Time1 hour 20 minutes
YieldsServes 6

With beets, we wish that our enemies may be dispersed.

Roasted one-pan chicken with leeks and barley

Time1 hour 20 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Leeks fulfill the wish of enemies being decimated.

Carrots with honey, lemon zest and thyme

Time35 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Carrots represent the wish that our merits may increase.

Boozie's apple cake

Time1 hour 15 minutes
YieldsServes 12 to 16

Apple and honey sorbet with pomegranate sauce

Time40 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

Apples and honey symbolize the wish that we may be renewed for a good and sweet year.

For Yom Kippur eve, try this matzo ball soup with a twist.

Kismet’s Chard and Leek Matzo Ball Soup

Time2 hours
YieldsServes 8 to 10

Break the fast with seasonal salads and a dip to go with leftover challah. Finish with a stunning fig cake.

Beet and burrata salad

Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Five-spice carrot-cashew butter

Time40 minutes
YieldsServes 10 to 12 (2 cups)

Caramelized fig cake with lemon anglaise

Time1 hour 15 minutes
YieldsServes 8

Sukkot’s eight days of dining can feature the “seven species,” which are barley, grapes, pomegranates, dates, figs, wheat and olives. These foods are native to Israel and were brought to the temple as first fruits for harvest festivals during biblical times.

Cracked wheat mana’esh (flatbread with za’atar)

Time35 minutes
YieldsMakes 8 (6- to 7-inch) flatbreads

Greek winter squash and leek pie

Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 8

Canele's beet salad

Time1 hour 40 minutes
YieldsServes 2

Olives al forno

Time25 minutes
YieldsServes 8 to 10

Apple galette

Time1 hour 10 minutes
YieldsServes 10

You will probably have enough leftovers to see you through the final meals of Simchat Torah and Shemini Atzeret at the season’s end. Still, it’s always nice to have a new dish or two.

Fragrant chicken with figs

Time1 hour
YieldsServes 6

Barley thumbprints with honey and hazelnuts

Time50 minutes
YieldsMakes about 32 (2-inch) cookies.