Meatless Meals During the Nine Days

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Preparing meatless meals during the Nine Days means no brisket, chicken or meatballs, except on Shabbat. However, you don’t need meat or poultry for a really great meal. Here are some scrumptious meatless dishes that are nourishing and satisfying, not to mention just plain delicious! Most of these recipes are plant-based to help hydrate your body before the fast of Tishah B’Av.

Eileen’s Butternut Corn Chowder
Yields 8 to 10 servings

Cookbook author Eileen Goltz is an expert in creating all sorts of pareve dishes, including this scrumptious, satisfying soup. You can make it pareve by using vegetable broth and cream or a non-dairy substitute. Soup is a wonderful way to stay hydrated in the days leading up to a fast.

2 to 3 leeks, washed and chopped (between 2 and 3 cups)*
2 carrots, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
10 cups vegetable broth
2 potatoes, diced small
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Dash of hot sauce
1 pound cooked butternut squash (you can also use pumpkin)
1/2 cup whipping cream or non-dairy substitute
2 cups fresh or frozen corn

In a large soup pot, sauté the leeks and carrots in the olive oil on medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, cloves and hot sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. In the bowl of a food processor, purée the squash for about 15 seconds. Add 1 cup of the hot broth and process until blended.

Pour the squash mixture into the soup and mix to combine. Whisk in the cream. When combined, add the corn to the chowder and mix to combine. Cook 4 to 5 more minutes until the corn is hot. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve immediately.

chefs secretsChef’s Secret

Corn is often sold by the half dozen. Use two ears of corn for this recipe (each ear of corn yields 1 cup corn kernels) and use the remaining ears of corn for the Grilled Corn, Red Pepper & Snap Pea Salad (below).

Planked Salmon
Adapted from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen (2007)
Yields 4 to 6 servings

Grilling on a cedar plank imparts a deliciously smoky flavor to the salmon and keeps it juicy. Marinating salmon in a lemon-garlic-dill mixture before planking enhances the flavor even more.

1 (8 x 12-inch, or larger) untreated cedar plank (about 1-inch thick)
1 salmon fillet, with skin (about 2 pounds/1 kilogram)
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (preferably fresh)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons minced)
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sliced lemon or lime, for garnish

Soak the cedar plank in cold water for 1 to 2 hours before grilling; use a couple of unopened cans or other heavy objects on top of the plank to keep it submerged. While the cedar plank soaks, season salmon with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, salt and pepper.

When fully soaked, remove the plank from the water and shake well to remove any excess liquid. Heat the plank on the grill’s grate over indirect medium heat until hot, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Carefully transfer the salmon to the preheated plank (it will be very hot!), placing the salmon skin-side down. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through. Rotating isn’t necessary. Keeping the grill lid closed will keep the salmon grilling at an even heat.

Spray the lemon slices lightly with cooking spray (or brush lightly with oil) and grill for about 2 minutes on each side.

When the salmon is done, carefully remove the hot plank from the grill and place on a heatproof surface. Slide a wide spatula between the skin and flesh of the salmon, then transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with grilled lemon slices and serve hot or cold.

Note: Keeps for up to 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Leftover salmon freezes well for up to 2 months.

chefs secretsChef’s Secrets

No-Plank Grilled Salmon: Preheat your gas or charcoal grill. Season salmon fillet as desired, oiling it lightly to prevent sticking. Place the fillet, flesh-side down, on the well-oiled grill. At the beginning, the fish will cling to the grate until it has cooked about 7 to 8 minutes. Turn the fish over carefully using a wide spatula and cook the second side 2 to 3 minutes longer or until the fish flakes. This is known as the 70/30 timing rule, which results in a beautiful presentation with great grill marks.

Is it Done Yet? Fish is done if it’s opaque yet still moist in the center. It should just flake when gently pressed with a fork. On an instant-read thermometer, the interior temperature should reach 145°F. If overcooked, fish will become dry.

A Grate Tip: If you cooked the fish with the skin on, just slide a flexible metal spatula between the flesh and skin, leaving the skin behind on the cooking grate or pan.

grilled corn

Grilled Corn, Red Pepper & Snap Pea Salad. Photo: Doug Gilletz

Grilled Corn, Red Pepper & Snap Pea Salad
Yields 6 to 8 servings

Easy-peasy! Daniella Silver, my coauthor for The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular (2015), introduced me to this spectacular presentation for sugar snap peas. They add a simple, yet elegant look to this gorgeous, protein-packed summer salad.

4 ears corn on the cob, peeled
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
Oil for brushing
8-ounce package sugar snap peas (1 1/2 cups)
1 can (19 ounces/540 milliters) red kidney beans, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Preheat the barbecue. Brush the corn and red peppers with oil. Grill on all sides, 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife. Cut bell peppers into long, narrow strips. Cut the snap peas in half lengthwise along the straight edge of the seam so the peas are exposed.

Combine the corn, peppers, kidney beans and snap peas in a large salad bowl. Add the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, pepper and basil. Toss together. Chill before serving.

Note: Leftovers keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator.


Israeli-Style Corn Salad: Instead of kidney beans, add halved cherry or grape tomatoes. If desired, add 1/2-cup thinly sliced red onion or green onions/scallions. Instead of peas, add 3 or 4 sliced baby cucumbers (do not peel).

Greek-Style Corn Salad: Substitute lemon juice for rice vinegar; use dill instead of basil. Top the salad with 1 cup crumbled feta cheese for an extra protein punch.

Daniella’s Cauliflower Au Gratin
Adapted from The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular (2015)
Yields 4 to 6 servings

This cheesy-good dish was considered a staple in Daniella Silver’s home when she was growing up. Since her little ones love it so much, she has maintained that tradition. The cauliflower is tender-crisp and slightly crunchy, thanks to panko crumbs and melted cheese.

1 large cauliflower, trimmed, cut into florets
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup panko crumbs (gluten-free or regular)
2 cups shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese (8 ounces/250 grams)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 10-inch round ceramic or glass quiche dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place cauliflower into a vegetable steamer. Steam for 12-15 minutes, or until tender-crisp.

Alternatively, place cauliflower in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain well; cool slightly.

Arrange florets in a single layer in prepared dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, panko crumbs and cheeses. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, until golden-brown and bubbling.

chefs secretsChef’s Secrets

  • For a pretty presentation, use a combination of cauliflower and broccoli florets.
  • A whole cauliflower takes 10-12 minutes, covered, to microwave on high power.
  • You can substitute a 20-ounce bag of frozen cauliflower florets for the whole cauliflower. No need to defrost before using.


Daniella’s Cauliflower Au Gratin Photo: EyeCandyTO

Daniella’s Cauliflower Au Gratin
Photo: EyeCandyTO

Eileen’s Quinoa Salad with Apples and Sweet Potatoes
Yields 6 servings

Cookbook author and food writer Eileen Goltz kindly shared this scrumptious salad from her recipe files. It’s a terrific light main course that is perfect with fresh fruit and hot cornbread or rolls. Quinoa is a great source of protein and is gluten-free.

 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes or butternut squash, peeled and cut into small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup additional olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 large apples cut into bite-sized pieces (peel if desired)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces salad greens

Preheat oven to 400°F.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes or butternut squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring once until softened but not mushy. Let cool.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package directions. Let cool. In a large bowl, combine the remaining olive oil with the vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked quinoa, sweet potatoes, apples, parsley, onion and salad greens. Mix to combine and serve.

Grilled Fruit in Foil
Yields 4 servings

Delicious over ice cream or frozen sorbet—or even on its own!

3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 cups sliced fresh peaches, nectarines and/or pears

Drizzle maple syrup over fruit. Wrap in heavy-duty foil, sealing well to make a package. Heat for 20 minutes on the dying embers of your BBQ.

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of ten cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, culinary consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer and editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada. For more information, visit her web site at

*Please consult the OU’s guidelines for checking fruits and vegetables.

This article was featured in the Summer 2015 issue of Jewish Action.
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