No Meat? No Problem!

Try these delicious pareve and dairy recipes for the nine days.

Photo: Baila Gluck

Yields 4 servings

Quesadillas are a fun spin on your average grilled cheese and a great way of adding some extra vegetables into the meal. Serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream on the side. Below are two variations for quesadillas, but feel free to just make plain cheese quesadillas if you have picky eaters at home.

2-4 teaspoons vegetable oil
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
8 ounces Monterey Jack or sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)

For corn and mushroom quesadillas:
1 small can corn, drained
6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)

For black bean and
red pepper quesadillas:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced 
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup canned black beans,
rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1. Prepare filling of choice. For corn and mushroom filling, combine all ingredients together. For black bean and red pepper filling, heat oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and red pepper; season with salt and cumin. Sauté until peppers are tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add beans and cilantro and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

2. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet until hot but not smoking, Place a tortilla in the bottom of the pan. Spread a layer of cheese over the tortilla; sprinkle about ¼ cup filling evenly over cheese. Cover with another tortilla.

3. Cook until underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a wide spatula, carefully flip and cook until the other side is golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas, adding more oil as needed. Cut into wedges (like pizza) and serve with guacamole (recipe below), salsa and sour cream on the side.

This recipe was featured in the Summer 2022 issue of Jewish Action.


Photo: Baila Gluck

Spinach-Feta Latkes
Yields about 14 large or 22 mini-latkes

Enjoy these Greek-inspired latkes during the nine days or any time of year!

1 pound (16 ounces) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1 cup grated onion (about 1 small or ½ of a large onion)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper (about ½ teaspoon or more to taste)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup packed crumbled feta cheese (about 8 ounces)
Canola oil, for frying

1. Combine spinach, onion, scallions, eggs, flour, dill, parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg in medium bowl. Mix well. Fold in crumbled feta cheese. (Mixture can be prepared up to three hours ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Stir to blend before continuing.)

2. Cover the bottom of a large nonstick skillet with oil, about 1/3 inch deep. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop spinach mixture into skillet by the heaping tablespoonful. Fry until pancakes are golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

3. Serve hot with sour cream or Chive Yogurt Sauce (see next recipe).

Naomi’s Note: Latkes can be kept warm uncovered in a 200°F oven, or re-heated uncovered for 15-20 minutes in a 350°F oven.

This recipe was featured in the Winter 2019 issue of Jewish Action.

Photo: Bayla Gluck

Minted Cantaloupe Soup

Yields 6-8 servings

Melons are a great mild base for fruit soup. I enjoy using honeydew for a slightly different but equally delicious flavor.

1 ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

½ cup orange juice    

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2


¼ cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

20 fresh mint leaves (from about 3-4 sprigs)

2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root

2-3 tablespoons honey, or more to taste

¼ cup white wine

Yogurt or heavy cream, for drizzling



Combine all ingredients (except yogurt) in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Chill well and serve garnished with a swirl of yogurt or cream (optional) and fresh mint.

Chef’s Note: Stir before serving. The ingredients separate a bit as they sit.

This recipe was featured in the Summer 2023 issue of Jewish Action.



Photo: Baila Gluck

Fried Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Reduction
Yields 16 skewers

Aged provolone cheese—a smoky semi-hard Italian cheese—is a perfect choice for frying in this flavorful starter. Other semi-firm cheeses, such as mozzarella, can also be used in this recipe. Look for small skewers to serve on—fanned out on a serving platter, they make a beautiful presentation.

Balsamic Reduction
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Fried Caprese
8 ounces aged provolone cheese or firm mozzarella, cubed
1/3 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko or coarse bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup canola oil
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch fresh basil leaves
16 short wooden or plastic skewers

1. Place vinegar and brown sugar in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture is reduced by more than half, about 20 minutes; mixture should have a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat, allow to cool. Transfer to a container or squeeze bottle to store.

2. Next, place flour, beaten egg and panko/bread crumbs each in separate bowls for dredging. Season crumbs with black pepper. Dredge cheese cubes in flour, then egg, then crumbs. Place breaded cubes on waxed paper in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm or until ready to fry. Slice the cherry tomatoes while waiting and set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat until oil is hot and shimmering. Fry cheese cubes until golden brown, turning once, about 1 minute per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool slightly.

4. To assemble the skewers, carefully thread a tomato half (cut side up), a baby basil leaf (or medium leaf folded over), cheese cube, another basil leaf and finish with another tomato half (cut side down). Drizzle with balsamic reduction immediately before serving.

This recipe was featured in the Winter 2019 issue of Jewish Action.



Photo: Baila Gluck

White Bean & Arugula Salad
Fresh herbs and lemon make this the perfect light summer meal with some good, crusty bread on the side. I love adding cooked salmon to this protein-rich salad if I have any on hand. If cooking the white beans, make a large batch early in the week and then it’s just assembly 1-2-3!

½ pound dried small white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern (or a 15-ounce can cooked beans)
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
(juice of 1 lemon)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ red onion, thinly shaved or minced
10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
5 mild radishes, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 cups baby arugula
salt and pepper to taste

1. If using dried beans, rinse and pick over. Cover with cold water and soak for 8 hours, or overnight. Drain beans and place in a pot with garlic clove, bay leaf and enough water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Drain them well and transfer to a large bowl (discarding the bay leaf and garlic clove).

2. If using canned beans, rinse and drain them and transfer to a large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to combine.
Set aside.

4. Add one third of the vinaigrette to the beans and toss; let stand for 15 minutes.

5. Add red onion, tomatoes, radishes, herbs and arugula. Pour the remaining dressing over the salad and toss lightly to coat. Season to taste with more salt, pepper or lemon juice, if needed. Serve immediately.

Salmon Variation: Add 6 ounces flaked grilled/roasted salmon to the salad; toss to combine.

This article was featured in the Summer 2022 issue of Jewish Action.


Naomi Ross is a cooking instructor and food writer based in Woodmere, New York. She teaches classes throughout the country and writes articles connecting delicious cooking and Jewish inspiration. Her first cookbook, The Giving Table, was recently released.

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