Cozy up to autumn’s best side

Cuz it’s not all about the brisket

Spaghetti Squash image

Spaghetti Squash, Caramelized Onions, Medjool Dates, Roasted Eggplant, and Pistachio Gremolata

Cozier than a flannel shirt, this side will pair with your favorite holiday brisket, chicken, or stand alone for a weekday veggie dinner.

Spaghetti squash is my new/old favorite squash. The flavor is understated but really comes alive when roasted to a caramel-colored, toasty brown. I love to serve the squash all fluffed up and stuffed back into its shell. How many vegetables come with their own serving dish? 

I use Japanese or Chinese eggplant as they are quick cooking, the skin is entirely edible (no peeling needed), and they are not bitter.

Pistachio Gremolata is the icing on the cake. Citrus juices and zest make flavors pop and pistachios add a bit of sweet-nutty crunch. Substitute pumpkin seeds if you have nut allergies.

Serves 6

1 large spaghetti squash

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

2 medium Japanese or Chinese eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise and then into ½ inch segments

2 medium red onions, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup pitted Medjool dates, coarsely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Pomegranate seeds

Garnish: Pomegranate seeds, Pistachio gremolata

Preheat oven to 400F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

  1. Cut a thin slice off one end of the squash. Stand squash up on cut end and slice squash, lengthwise, in half. Scoop out seeds and pulp. Drizzle cut side and cavity with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place cut side on parchment lined sheet pan and roast for 30-40 minutes until a knife can pierce the flash without resistance.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Drizzle eggplants with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on lined sheet pan for about 30 minutes until browned and flesh is tender.
  3. Heat a medium sauté pan, lightly coated with olive oil, over medium-high heat. Caramelize onions, stirring frequently, until dark brown and very soft and fragrant. Add garlic for the last minute of cooking and stir to combine.
  4. Using a fork, scrape squash to loosen flesh and to "string" it. Transfer squash to a mixing bowl; reserve shell.
  5. Add onions, eggplant, and dates to mixing bowl. Toss together. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Arrange squash in shell, mounding the mixture to look pretty. Store in fridge for up to 2 days before serving. Reheat in 300F oven, covered until piping hot. Garnish with Pistachio Gremolata.

Pistachio Gremolata

½ cup shelled, raw pistachios

2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane

½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped finely

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

3 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

  1. Toast pistachios in an ungreased sauté pan over medium heat until lightly toasted (be sure to watch the pan carefully as nuts burn easily).
  2. Chop toasted nuts and add to a mixing bowl with garlic, parsley, zests, juices, and olive oil.
  3. Store extra gremolata, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cauliflower, Za'atar, Muhummara, and Honey

Boring cauliflower is a thing of your past when it is thick cut, roasted to a toasty brown and paired with punchy Muhummara. This dish will be on your fave playlist through the fall and winter.

Serves 6

2 medium whole cauliflower, leaves removed and reserved

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons Za'atar

Sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Honey

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  1. Slice thick "steaks" (about 1 ½ inches thick). Arrange on parchment-lined sheet and generously drizzle with olive oil, za'atar, salt, and pepper.
  2. Roast for 30-40 minutes until browned and tender. Add reserved leaves for the last 5 minutes.

Muhamarra

I have been in love with this condiment since I wrote about it in my first book, Jewish Cooking for All Seasons (John Wiley and Sons). This schmear has the perfect smack of savory, sweet, and sour flavors all gathered in a gorgeous red dollop. Make extra Muhummara and store, covered in the fridge, for noshing in the sukkah .

8 ounces roasted red peppers, drained
⅓ cup walnuts, toasted, chopped finely
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted to a light golden brown
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon pomegranate molasses
2 teaspoons cumin
Big pinch of red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Garnish: chopped mint, pomegranate seeds, drizzle of pomegranate molasses

  1. In a food processor, puree red peppers until smooth. Add walnuts, garlic, breadcrumbs, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Process until smooth with some chunks remaining, wiping down bowl as needed. Drizzle in oil, then season to taste with salt.

Arrange Cauliflower on a serving platter. Dollop with Muhummarah and drizzle with honey. Garnish with fresh mint, additional za'atar, and pomegranate seeds.

Freekeh, Shawarma Spices, and Crispy Brussels Sprouts

You might have a break-up with quinoa after you try freekeh. Green (young) durum wheat is smoked and rubbed to bring out its full flavor. Quick cooking, high fiber, and loaded with vitamins with a toasty flavor. You will seriously question all other grains!

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment

Serves 6

1 ½ cups freekeh

2 ¾ cups water or chicken broth

1 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

2 cups brussels sprouts, sliced into quarters, lengthwise

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon shawarma spices

Sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Garnish: chopped parsley, chopped mint

  1. Cook freekeh, with water or broth, salt and pepper, partially covered in a medium saucepan until all water is absorbed and freekeh is tender with a slight chewiness.
  2. Toss brussels sprouts with spices, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  3. Arrange on lined baking sheet. Roast in oven, stirring occasionally until crispy and dark brown, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Toss Brussels sprouts with freekeh and adjust seasoning. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with parsley and mint.

Laura Frankel is a kosher chef and author. Previously, she was the Culinary Director for Jamie Geller's Test Kitchen and Kosher Network International. She is the founder of Shallots Restaurant in Chicago, Skokie, and New York, and served as Executive Chef for Wolfgang Puck.



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