Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration marking the Jewish New Year and beginning the High Holy Days, one of the most important periods in the Hebrew calendar. It is a time for reflection, religious observance, and coming together with friends and family to celebrate new beginnings. Culinary traditions form a central part of these gatherings, where feasts are forged from ingredients steeped in religious symbolism and dishes are carefully chosen for their promise of an auspicious year ahead.
If you want to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with dishes rooted in ritual and tradition, try one of these recipes from our expert authors or combine them to create a full menu.
The braided, pillowy-soft and glossy Challah bread is a mainstay for most Jewish High Holidays, but for Rosh Hashanah, there is an extra twist. To symbolise continuity and hope that the new year will be full and rounded, challah for this holiday will often be shaped into a circle, like in this recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Sweet and light, this bread is filled with a fragrant fig and orange zest, and makes for excellent French toast the next day.
From the book
Brisket is a popular choice in North American celebrations of Rosh Hashanah, often forming the centrepiece of a celebratory spread. Rich and layered with flavour, this low-effort recipe from Table Manners features brisket slow-roasted in cola. Delicious both served hot with mashed potatoes or as cold cuts if you have any leftovers.
From the book
In addition to religious symbolism, wordplay accounts for the inclusion of many of the ingredients enjoyed during Rosh Hashanah. In this traditional recipe from Ottolenghi, there is one particularly noteworthy example. The close resemblance of the Hebrew words yirbu, meaning ‘to increase’, and rubia, the word for beans, means these green vegetables are consumed to symbolise the wish for increased blessings in the coming year. In Yotam’s mixed bean salad, he spotlights this providential vegetable by lightly tossing it with baked red peppers and simple thin slices of garlic, capers and spices.
From the book
Of all of the ingredients synonymous with Rosh Hashanah, honey is perhaps the most ubiquitous. Symbolising the promise of a sweet year ahead, it is traditionally served with apple slices for dipping and baked into a plethora of other traditional desserts and bakes. One such delicacy is lekach, or honey cake, a dense, sweet cake for which there is no definitive recipe as different Jewish communities each have their own version. Or for another honey-based treat, why not try these teiglach, small pastries soaked in honey, from Claudia Roden’s expansive The Book of Jewish Food.