In celebration of the Jewish New Year, there are many symbolic foods that are shared at meals. To help bring a sweet New Year at Rosh Hashanah, sweet ingredients play a key role in the traditional foods brought to the table. Apples and challah to dip in honey are on almost every holiday table, as well as typical dishes such as tzimmes, my personal favorite, which are carrots and sweet potatoes stewed with prunes or dried fruits, or honey cakes. Another traditional food for Rosh Hashanah is the pomegranate. It is eaten, symbolizing our wish to have a year full of mitzvot and good deeds as a pomegranate is filled with luscious seeds. To celebrate the year 5773, I have incorporated some of these flavors and ingredients into a vibrant and nutrient dense salad.
Not only will the pomegranate symbolize our desire for good deeds, but it is loaded with antioxidants, B vitamins, potassium, and folic acid. They are a great vegan source of iron and the seeds are high in dietary fiber. They are also anti-inflammatory and have been proven to help fight cancer as well as cardiovascular disease.
Arugula is an excellent source of B vitamins (especially folate), and antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as vitamin K which helps our bodies absorb calcium. It is considered a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and kale and is loaded with phytochemicals that give it cancer preventing benefits.
Millet is high in niacin, phosphorus, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. It is also gluten-free and a strong source of protein. It is also high in magnesium which can help reduce headaches and migraines, and serotonin which can help calm mood.
The "apple a day" adage comes from the multitude of benefits derived from the perfect autumn fruit. They contain nutrients that are shown to help prevent bone loss, Alzheimer's, and cancers of the lungs, breasts, colon, and liver. The pectin in apples helps to lower cholesterol (LDL "bad cholesterol") and manage the body's need for insulin for those with diabetes.
These foods will not only provide symbolism to bring a sweet new year, but they will help you to begin it with good health. Happy New Year.
|Apple and Pomegranate Salad with Wild Arugula and Toasted Millet|
|This salad can be made lighter and rather simply without the millet (pictured above and below). If millet is not to your liking, it can be replaced with quinoa, couscous, or farro.|
|For all ingredients, please use those that are organic or grown without pesticides.|
|2||apples, such as honeycrisp, fuji, or gala, diced|
|1 cup||pomegranate seeds|
|1 cup||millet, prepared (directions below)|
|3 tablespoons||fresh mint, chiffonade|
|1||orange, zested and juiced|
|3 tablespoons||extra virgin olive oil|
|2 tablespoons||apple cider vinegar|
|sea salt or finishing salt|
|freshly ground black pepper|
|6-8 ounces||arugula, preferably wild|
|Prepare the millet. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium size skillet over high heat. Add 1 cup of millet and stir until it begins to turn golden. Add 2 cups of boiling water to the pan along with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook for about 20-25 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside allowing the grains to come to room temperature.|
|Prepare the dressing. Zest the orange into a large bowl. Once the orange has been zested, juice the orange into the same bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to the juice and zest. Use a whisk or a fork to blend.|
|Add the prepared apples, pomegranate seeds, and chiffonade (thinly sliced ribbons) of mint to the dressing and toss. The acid in the dressing will help slow the oxidization of the apples.|
|Add about 1 cup of the cooked millet to the fruits and toss. Taste and adjust any seasonings. Add the arugula and gently toss together. It is best to use your hands as they are more gently than tongs or salad tossers.|
|Serve in the bowl or on a platter at room temperature.|