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Exciting Recipe Ideas for the Nine Days

July 19, 2017 | by Elizabeth Kurtz

Fish and vegetarian options that will make you feel like you’ve experienced international street food from all over the world.

Tired of teriyaki salmon during the Nine Days when you can’t eat meat? I’m excited about all the international food trends and using them as inspiration for my Nine Days menus. From fish to vegetarian options, these recipes are infused with wonderful herbs and spices that will make you feel like you’ve experienced international street food from all over the world.

Salmon Schwarma with Peppers, Onions, and a Tahini Sauce

Salmon Schwarma with Peppers, Onions, and a Tahini Sauce

Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning, recommended brand Montreal OR sumac
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 lbs. salmon, cut into pieces of your choice or a whole side
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
  • Parsley or dill, optional
  • olive oil, kosher salt and pepper
  • Toasted pita, optional

In a bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, chili powder, paprika and grill seasoning. And the lemon juice, the garlic and 4 tablespoons oil and stir until it is paste-like. Place salmon on a large baking sheet. Slather the mixture all over the salmon until it is well-coated. Set aside for 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake for 20 minutes.

In a large skillet heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers. Cook for 5 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Add lemon zest, cumin and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Make the sauce: In a bowl, combine the juice of the remaining half lemon, the tahini, yogurt, some salt and pepper and a small drizzle of olive oil. Add parsley, if using. Mix to combine.

To assemble, atop a toasted pita, place some of the salmon. Top with some of the pepper and onion mixture, and a good dollop of the yogurt-tahini sauce.

Simple Za'atar Salmon

Simple Za'atar Salmon

Serves 6

Can be cooked in the oven or over a hot grill on a cedar plant, as pictured.

  • 2-½ – 3 pounds salmon (I like the tail end), skin removed
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Za'atar spice (available at most grocery stores and Persian markets)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon sliced very thin

Rinse salmon and pat dry. Place salmon skin down on a low-sided pan, lined with foil. Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the salmon. Sprinkle Za'atar spice, salt and pepper over the salmon. Lay the lemon slices on top of the salmon. Bake for 20 minutes.

Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional

Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and lentils, and stir to coat. Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the lentils are tender and falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, combine the yogurt and lemon zest and juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the stew topped with a dollop of the yogurt and garnished with the parsley.

Tuna Poke Bowl

Tuna Poke Bowl

(It’s all the rage, jump on board and try it!)

Serves 6, can be made with sushi grade salmon too

Add any mix-ins that you like to this. I like arugula and kale, but many readers like the Hawaiian tradition of adding mango or papaya.

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sriracha sauce, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced scallion
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1-1/2 lb. sushi-grade tuna (or salmon), cut into 3/4-inch dice (see note below)
  • 2/3 cup shaved cucumber
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radish, sugar snap peas, mango, avocado, or other desired fruit
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • Toasted sesame seeds, optional

In a large bowl, whisk the oils, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, ginger, scallion, and zest. In a medium bowl, gently combine the tuna, cucumber, radish (or other mix-in), and scallions. Toss gently with 1/4 cup of the marinade. Serve immediately over white or brown rice, quinoa or farro. Top with toasted sesame seeds.

Note: Before you begin making the poke, put the raw fish in the freezer for about an hour to partially freeze it. You want the fish to be firm, but still soft enough to slice. The firmer texture allows for more sharply defined cuts.

Fish Tacos with Mexican-Slaw

Fish Tacos with Mexican-Slaw

Serves 6

  • 2 pounds sole, flounder, tilapia, red snapper
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Salsa, homemade or store bought
  • Guacamole, homemade or store bought

In a small bowl, mix chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.

Preheat a grill to high. Sprinkle the fish on both sides with the spice mixture. Drizzle with lime juice and oil. Grease grill racks very well (alternatively, cook fish in a very hot skillet about 3 minutes each side). Add fish to the grill and grill until marked and cooked through, 4 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a plate and break into bite-size pieces.

To serve: Warm the tortillas on the grill and fill with the fish, salsa, avocado and Mexi-slaw. Serve with lime wedges.

Mexican Cabbage Slaw

Serves 6

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey or 1 teaspoon light agave
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bag shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 ½ cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 ½ cups shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and julienned

In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, the salt, honey, cumin, chili powder, lime juice, zest and pepper.

In a medium bowl, toss the purple cabbage, green cabbage, carrots, red onion and bell pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix to combine. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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