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Cook It Kosher

You don't have to be a vegan to like this dish. You do have to like lentils.


I've incorporated zucchini into the sauce and then served it over traditional spaghetti, but as an alternative you could use shredded carrot in the sauce and then serve it over zucchini noodles ("zoodles").


If you don't like lentils, but would like to become more comfortable with them, try making a batch of regular meat bolognese and a half batch of this lentil bolognese, and then mix them together. It will add peppery notes to your bolognese without being too "lentily" for a beginner.


Ingredients

  • ¾ cup raw green lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced (use more if you prefer more heat)
  • 1 small zucchini (or half a large zucchini), grated
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup red wine (sweet or dry both work)
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (honey or coconut sugar are both fine too)
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1-2 tsp. kosher salt
  • black pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Place the lentils in a pot with at least 4 cups cold water. Cover tightly and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until lentils are cooked through but still firm, approximately 20-30 minutes. Check a few before you decide they are ready, since they don't all cook at the same pace. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cut the onion into very thin quarter rounds. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion until just beginning to turn brown.
  3. Add the crushed garlic and finely diced jalapeno pepper and cook for another few minutes while stirring to ensure the garlic doesn't stick and burn.
  4. Add the grated zucchini and stir until zucchini wilts and shrinks down.
  5. Add the tomato paste and cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the lentils, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Check salt and adjust to taste. Add a sprinkle of black pepper if you'd like. Green lentils have a strong peppery flavor, so you may not wish to add additional black pepper.
  8. Serve over spaghetti.
  9. Optional: Garnish with dairy or vegan parmesan. To make vegan parmesan, use ¾ cup raw cashews, 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast, ¼ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. kosher salt. Blitz together in a food processor or blender until texture resembles crumbs. Stores well in the fridge for weeks.

Serves: 8


It’s been a full five years since I started blogging here, and I’m celebrating with these simple but show-stopping, decadent chocolate truffles.


Chocolate truffles are basically a stiff ganache which is formed into balls and rolled in various toppings. Because the chocolate is front and center, make sure you use a good quality chocolate. Definitely stay away from anything “chocolate flavored”.



I’ve used coconut, cocoa powder, freeze dried raspberries, and finely ground pistachios. Chocolate-coconut is a classic combination, as is chocolate-raspberry. By using the freeze-dried raspberries (which I blitzed into a powder), the topping adds a remarkable tartness that works well with the richness of the chocolate. The coconut and the raspberry are definitely the ones I would most recommend.


With some simple boxes, these truffles can also make elegant gifts. Perhaps for a Chanukah party, or in a few months’ time for Purim.


Truffle Ingredients

  • 3 cups dark chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt

Toppings

  • Freeze-dried raspberries, blitzed into a powder in a food processor or blender
  • Cocoa powder
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Finely ground salted pistachios

Directions

  1. Pour the chocolate chips into a large bowl.
  2. Heat the cream over medium heat until just below boiling.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for five minutes.
  4. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla and salt and freeze for about two hours until firm. If the mixture is still too soft to roll into balls, freeze for another hour or two.
  5. Use a melon-baller or measuring spoon to scoop out evenly sized amounts of chocolate and roll into round balls.
  6. Dip the balls into the toppings, place on a plate or baking sheet in a single layer and return to freezer to firm up. Store in the fridge or freezer.
  7. It’s important to work quickly and efficiently so the mixture doesn’t warm up and become too soft work with. Try to roll the truffles quickly, and work in small batches if necessary, so that they get back into the fridge or freezer quickly.

Yields: 30-40 truffles

To make these seasonal soup toppers, all you need is some wonton wrappers and a dreidel-shaped cookie cutter. I've also sprinkled them lightly with a mixture of salt, garlic, smoked paprika, but it's not strictly necessary.


If you're hosting a Chanukah party, or just want to add some Chanukah excitement to dinner one night of the holiday, give these a whirl. They're easy and, yes, quick (unless you're making them in huge quantities).




Don't waste the remaining dough! Throw it in the frying pan and then toss with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and serve for dessert. See directions below.


Happy Chanukah!

Ingredients

  • wonton wrappers (or egg roll wrappers)
  • oil for frying
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • optional: 1 tsp. cinnamon mixed with ¼ cup sugar

Directions

  1. Use a dreidel cookie cutter to cut one dreidel from each wonton wrapper. If you can't get wonton wrappers, use egg roll wrappers and cut a few from each. Save the off-cuts.
  2. Toss the salt, garlic, and paprika together in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in a shallow frying pan over medium heat. Carefully place 2-3 dreidel cut outs in the oil. Fry on one side for 5-10 seconds, flip and fry for another 5-10. Remove. (If you put too many in the pan at once, you won't be able to flip them in time. They darken very quickly.)
  4. Sprinkle the dreidel croutons with a small amount of the spice mixture.
  5. Garnish each bowl of soup with a crouton or two.
  6. Optional: take the remaining dough from the wonton wrappers (the outside of each dreidel). Add more oil to the frying pan, heat, and then toss in handfuls of the dough. Use tongs to turn the dough so it is evenly golden, remove and immediately toss with the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Repeat until all excess dough has been used. Serve for dessert (with ice cream!).

It might seem odd to use feta cheese in a dessert recipe, but it pairs perfectly with the sticky sweet honey, and the pistachios provide crunch and additional depth of flavor.


Why doughnuts? After winning the war against the Syrians, the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. They entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Since the Temple’s golden menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the high priest. It was sufficient to light the menorah only for one day, but by a miracle of G d it continued to burn for eight days, till new oil was made available, which is why we celebrate Chanukah for eight days. Because of the miracle of the oil, it’s traditional to eat fried foods on Chanukah (like doughnuts and latkes).


Happy Chanukah!

Ingredients

  • 2¼ tsp. dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp. warm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. oil or melted butter
  • 3+ cups flour
  • Oil for frying
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup roughly chopped pistachios

Directions

  1. Place yeast, warm water and 1 tsp. sugar in bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Mix yeast mixture with the remaining sugar, oil, egg, salt, and soy/almond milk and 1 cup of flour on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in the rest of the flour until dough is no longer sticky. It should feel somewhat like a bread dough.
  4. Knead for 5 minutes, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rise approximately 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.
  5. Roll the dough into small balls. Lay the balls out on parchment paper and let rise 30-60 minutes.
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan or pot. Drop in a few doughnuts at a time. Flip each doughnut so each side can brown.
  7. Remove the doughnuts from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  8. Transfer the doughnuts to a serving platter. Drizzle generously with honey, and sprinkle with crumbled feta and chopped pistachios.

Allow me to clarify: there is nothing healthy about this recipe.


So don't eat it every day.

But do make it for a special occasion. Like Chanukah.

Because it's delicious. And it checks the "fried" box and the "cheese" box.

And just look at that oozy meltiness!


Why oil? After winning the war against the Syrians, the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. They entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Since the Temple’s golden menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the high priest. It was sufficient to light the menorah only for one day, but by a miracle of G‑d it continued to burn for eight days, till new oil was made available, which is why we celebrate Chanukah for eight days. Because of the miracle of the oil, it’s traditional to eat fried foods on Chanukah (like doughnuts and latkes).

It is also customary to eat dairy foods on Chanukah, in commemoration of the bravery of Yehudit. Click here to read the story of this brave woman whose daring courage led to a great Maccabee victory.


You'll want to serve these with something fresh and acidic to cut some of the richness. Maybe a leafy green salad with a sharp vinaigrette dressing, and/or an assortment of pickled vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 40 wonton wrappers
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • oil for frying

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded muenster cheese
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼tsp. black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all the filling ingredients together. Set aside.
  2. Lay out the wonton wrappers on a cutting board or sheet of parchment paper. Double layer the wrappers, so that you are using two at a time.
  3. Drop of a small spoonful of the ricotta filling into the center of each wonton wrapper. Dip your fingers in cold water and lightly wet the edges of the dough. Gently fold in half and seal well. (The water helps to seal them). Repeat until all are sealed.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl.
  5. In a second bowl mix and bread crumbs and spices.
  6. Dip each ravioli into the eggs and then into the crumbs. Place gently on a plate or sheet of parchment paper until ready to fry.
  7. Heat oil in a small pot or deep frying pan. Fry the ravioli on both sides until golden . Remove and place on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
  8. TIP: Stick a small piece of carrot in the oil. The carrot absorbs the burnt taste the oil sometimes gets. When the carrot looks dark ad shriveled, take it out and replace with a new one.
  9. Serve immediately with warm marinara sauce. (Then eat a salad. Or an apple.)

(P.S. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, save this recipe for Shavuot when frying won't turn your already-hot house into a raging furnace.)

Cook It Kosher features recipes from Chabad.org food blogger Miriam Szokovski, as well as guest bloggers and cookbook authors. Let us know if you’d like to contribute!
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