Rosh Hashanah, meaning “head of the year” in Hebrew, celebrates the Jewish New Year. This two-day holiday kicks off the High Holidays which culminate in Yom Kippur Oct. 4-5.
In 2022, Rosh Hashanah begins before sundown Sunday, Sept. 25, and ends after nightfall on Tuesday, Sept. 27, so it’s time to get your grocery list in order.
Every Rosh Hashanah table should be full of simanim, or symbolic foods that signify a good year to come.
Whether you’re hosting a family gathering for Rosh Hashanah or are in charge of bringing a dish, these recipes hold traditional significance and taste absolutely delicious to boot.
1. Apples and Honey Ruffle Milk Pie
Apples and honey are two foods no Rosh Hashanah gathering can do without. While you can start off your meal by dipping apples in honey before a special blessing for a sweet new year, we also think it’s worth ending your dinner with this crisp and comforting phyllo pie recipe from Sonya Sanford.
2. Carrot Soup
With all the rich dishes on your holiday table, adding a lighter soup provides the ideal balance. Carrots have multiple symbolic meanings that make them perfect for the Rosh Hashanah table.
Eating carrots can symbolize a request for merits and blessings to be increased, or a desire for God to nullify negative decrees against us. This recipe from Ronnie Fein incorporates warming spices including cinnamon, cloves, Aleppo pepper and ginger for a bold fall flavor.
3. Date and Pomegranate Cake
If you’re trying to incorporate more than one simanim food into a single dish, you need to try this date and pomegranate cake from Hélène Jawhara Piñer, author of “Sephardi: Cooking the History.”
Pomegranates hold particular significance on Rosh Hashanah as they’re traditionally used as a new fruit before the Shehecheyanu blessing. The fruit also represents knowledge and righteousness, because it’s said to have 613 seeds — the same number of commandments (mitzvot) in the Torah. Dates and pomegranates are also two of the Seven Species of Israel.
4. Simple Whole Sea Bream
When it comes to fresh fish dishes, simple is best. This easy recipe from Soultana Symeonidou uses lemon, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil to let the taste of whole sea bream shine through. Fish, with the head on, is often served on Rosh Hashanah (the head of the year) alongside a blessing from Deuteronomy: “May we be heads, not tails.”
5. Roasted Beet Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
This roasted beet salad recipe from Robin of The Mom Foodie blog incorporates beets, greens, and honey, three significant ingredients. Beets symbolize the hope that enemies will be removed in the new year, because the Hebrew word for remove (selek) is similar to the word for beet. Skip adding the nuts for Rosh Hashanah.
6. Swiss Chard Latkes
Like beets, greens can symbolize a departure of enemies or renewal for the new year. Swiss chard is common at Sephardic Rosh Hashanah gatherings. These Swiss chard kifteh (latkes) from Israeli chef and food writer Vered Guttman might be the most delicious way to eat your greens.
7. Olive-Stuffed Challah
What table would be complete without a loaf of challah in the center? This olive-stuffed version from Samantha Ferraro, flavored with fresh rosemary and flaky sea salt, is the perfect thing to bring to a Rosh Hashanah celebration.