This recipe combines a number of the symbolic Rosh Hashanah foods—called simanim—into a cohesive and exciting side dish. Carrots, leeks, black-eyed peas, dates and pomegranate seeds all find their place here. Add some fresh herbs and spices, and you have a definite crowd-pleaser on your hands.

On Rosh Hashanah, we try to eat sweet foods to symbolize our wish for a good, sweet year ahead. It is also customary to eat foods whose names in the vernacular allude to blessing and prosperity. For example, the Yiddish word for carrot, meren, also means “to multiply.”


  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 cups water (or however much your rice calls for)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks, whites only
  • 1 cup cooked black eyed peas
  • 4 dates
  • ⅛ tsp cumin
  • ⅛ tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp sumac
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Pomegranate seeds


  1. Shred the carrots (you do not need to peel them first, as long as you wash them well). Heat a wide pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shredded carrot and dry saute for a couple of minutes. Then add about a tablespoon of oil and some salt, and saute until just soft. Add the rice and mix around with the carrots. Pour in the water and cover the pot or pan. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer.
  2. When the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, remove from the heat, uncover, and let stand for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Taste, and add salt as needed.
  3. In a separate frying pan, saute the leeks in a tablespoon or so of oil, and some salt. When just soft (but not brown), add the black eyed peas and the dates. Cook for another few minutes, then add the cumin, coriander, sumac and some salt. Stir and let it sit over low heat while the spices become fragrant.
  4. Combine the saute mixture with the rice. Serve warm, and immediately before serving, garnish or mix through approximately 1 cup of chopped fresh herbs (parsley and mint) and a handful of pomegranate seeds.

Serves: 6