Green and Serene Shabbat: A Vegetarian’s Guide to a Three-Course Sabbath Feast

A person serving a healthy Kosher dinner with a mix of sautéed green beans, carrots, and peppers on a plate, with dishes of bread, falafel, and dips on the table

Shabbat is the day of rest and celebration that begins on Friday before sunset and ends the following evening after night falls. Shabbat is one of the most important days in Jewish tradition, a time when friends and family gather to enjoy a delicious meal. Everyone who unites around the table must enjoy the meal. With vegetarianism becoming more popular, incorporating vegetarian options into the meal is a fabulous way to ensure this happens. Sarah’s Tent will provide a guide for preparing the ultimate three-course vegetarian Sabbath meal, from soup and salad to sweet desserts.

The Significance of Shabbat and Vegetarianism

Shabbat, or Sabbath, is the Jewish day of rest. It involves a break from work activities, lighting traditional candles, and three festive meals. The first meal is hosted on Friday evening, the second is traditionally a lunch meal on Saturday, and the third meal is saved for late Saturday afternoon.

For vegetarians, Shabbat meals might seem intimidating, since there are so many meals to plan. Those who adhere to a vegetarian lifestyle do so for a variety of reasons, including health, ethical, or environmental considerations. With a little bit of planning and some thoughtful grocery shopping, it’s not only possible but easy to plan a delicious, traditional Shabbat meal.

Planning Your Vegetarian Shabbat Menu

When planning a vegetarian Shabbat menu, consider other dietary preferences. If anyone at your table is dairy-free, vegan, or gluten-free, incorporate dishes that align with their lifestyle. It’s also a good idea to ask about food allergies ahead of time, so you can plan and tailor-make your meals accordingly. Using fresh, kosher produce is best. Seasonal ingredients will enhance every dish on the menu and offer more nutritional benefits than off-season produce.

Starter: Soup and Salad Recipes

Start your Shabbat feast with a light soup and salad. These tasty options will please every guest’s palate and get them primed for the rest of the meal. Serve these in pretty dishes for a charming touch.

Recipe 1: Classic Matzo Ball Soup

A delicious, traditional matzo ball soup is a staple at many a Shabbat feast. To make a vegetarian matzo ball soup, cook diced celery, onions, and carrots in a large stewpot until tender. Season the vegetables with salt, saffron, and black pepper. Cover the vegetables with water and bring to a boil. Once the stock has reduced by a third, add matzo balls. You can make your own or purchase a mix. Cook the matzo balls separately from the soup, adding them once the vegetables are tender and the flavors have combined.

Recipe 2: Fresh Garden Salad with Homemade Dressing.

Garden salad can be made with almost any fresh vegetables you have on hand. Using a base of romaine or mixed lettuces, add chopped veggies such as cucumbers, carrots, red onion, broccoli florets, and tomatoes. Choose flavorful add-ons like artichokes, crispy onions, and fresh herbs to garnish the salad, and serve it with homemade salad dressing on the side, so every guest can add dressing to taste.

Main Course: Hearty Vegetarian Dishes

Take your guests’ breath away with one of these stunning main courses. Complemented with fresh herbs and savory vegetables, these entrees will make your Shabbat feast one to remember.

Recipe 3: Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa and Vegetables

Stuffed bell peppers are hearty and satisfying. To make this vegetarian entree, roast halved bell peppers in a 425-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until tender. While the peppers are roasting, prepare a filling of cooked quinoa and diced, sauteed vegetables. You can use onion, shredded carrots, and zucchini for the filling, or any combination that sounds appealing. Once the peppers are fork-tender, drain off any liquid that has pooled in the peppers and stuff them generously with the quinoa/vegetable mixture. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 13 minutes and serve with fresh cilantro leaves sprinkled on top.

Recipe 4: Mushroom and Spinach Kugel

Mushroom and spinach kugel is full of fresh ingredients and rich flavors. To prepare this dish, saute onions and spinach in olive oil, over medium-low heat. While the vegetable saute, prepare a small pan by oiling it and placing a layer of egg noodles in the bottom. To the onions and spinach, add mushrooms and cook for about three minutes. Add to the pan. To create a third layer, mix egg, ricotta, sour cream, milk, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then spread over the vegetables in the pan. Poke a few small holes in the top of the casserole, and bake the kugel at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Dessert: Sweet Endings

No meal is complete without a delicious dessert. Both of these desserts are light and easy to digest, perfect after a substantial Shabbat feast.

Recipe 5: Baked Apples with Cinnamon and Nuts

Peel and slice apples. Place the slices in a quarter-gallon bag and add cinnamon, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Shake the bag to coat the slices. Once the apples are coated, wrap them in foil packets and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake the packets at 350 degrees or until the slices are fork-tender.

Recipe 6: Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse

This recipe is not only vegetarian but vegan as well! To prepare dairy-free chocolate mousse, refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight, or freeze it for about 10 minutes. Once it’s cold, transfer the contents to a bowl, using hand beaters or a stand mixer to whip the coconut milk until it’s smooth. Add cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and optional ingredients like coconut flakes to taste. Serve as soon as possible.

Setting the Shabbat Table

When serving a vegetarian Shabbat feast, complement the theme with green, serene table decor. Fresh flowers and greenery will set the scene, along with good china or tableware. You can add name tags at each plate to take things up a notch, and embroidered napkins for a special touch.

Additional Tips for a Successful Vegetarian Shabbat

It’s a lot of work to prepare one Shabbat meal, much less three. Enlist help when possible and prepare as many dishes ahead of time as you can. By prepping ahead of time, you can free up more time to spend with your guests before the meal. Encourage family participation in the meal as part of Shabbat, giving everyone a task to complete. Not only will you facilitate family bonding, but you’ll create less work for yourself in the process.

Visit Sarah’s Tent for Kosher Produce

Shabbat is a time of relaxation and family enjoyment. Discover these delicious vegetarian dishes and embrace new traditions with your loved ones! For all your kosher produce and Shabbat meal essentials, head to Sarah’s Tent Kosher Market. Our kosher market carries everything you need to create the Shabbat meal of your dreams.

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