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Healthy and Fresh Recipes

May 6, 2018 | by Paula Shoyer

Contemporary spins on old favorites, with fresh and seasonal ingredients, low in fats and sugars.

Choice recipes from Paula Shoyer’s The Healthy Jewish Kitchen: Fresh Contemporary Recipes for Every Occasion.


Parve, Gluten-free, Passover (without pure vanilla extract) Serves 12

I had heard the myth of chocolate cakes made with cooked quinoa and didn’t quite believe they’d actually be tasty. This cake is surprisingly moist and delicious—great for Passover and all year round.

PREP TIME: 20 minutes • BAKE TIME: 15 minutes to cook quinoa, 50 minutes to bake cake • ADVANCE PREP: May be made 3 days in advance or frozen • EQUIPMENT: Measuring cups and spoons, small saucepan with lid, 12-cup (2.8L) Bundt pan, food processor, medium microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, silicone spatula, wooden kebab skewer, wire cooling rack, large microwave-safe bowl, whisk


  • ¾ cup (130g) quinoa
  • 1½ cups (360ml) water
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • ¹⁄³ cup (80ml) orange juice (from 1 orange)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or other vanilla if for Passover)
  • ¾ cup (180ml) coconut oil
  • 1½ cups (300g) sugar
  • 1 cup (80g) dark unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces (55g) bittersweet chocolate
  • Fresh raspberries, for garnish (optional)


  • 5 ounces (140g) bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or other vanilla if for Passover)

Place the quinoa and water into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and cook the quinoa for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Set the pan aside. The quinoa may be made 1 day in advance.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Use cooking spray to grease a 12-cup (2.8L) Bundt pan. Sprinkle the potato starch over the greased pan and then shake the pan to remove any excess starch.

Place the quinoa in the bowl of a food processor. Add the orange juice, eggs, vanilla, oil, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and process until the mixture is very smooth.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, or place in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and put in a microwave for 45 seconds, stirring and then heating the chocolate for another 30 seconds, until it is melted. Add the chocolate to the quinoa batter and process until well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake it for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then remove it gently from the pan. Let it cool on a wire cooling rack.

To make the glaze, melt the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl in the microwave (see above) or over a double boiler. Add the oil and vanilla and whisk well. Let the glaze sit for 5 minutes and then whisk it again. Use a silicone spatula to spread the glaze all over the cake.


Parve, Gluten-free, Vegan, Passover (substitute for the rice vinegar) • Serves 6

This is a great salad or side dish to serve in the fall—perfect for Thanksgiving dinner or Sukkot lunch.

PREP TIME: 15 minutes • COOK TIME: 30 minutes • ADVANCE PREP: May be made 2 days in advance •

EQUIPMENT: Cutting board, knife, measuring cups and spoons, garlic press, jelly roll or roasting pan, silicone spatula, fork, large bowl, small bowl, whisk

  • 1½ pounds (700g) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons avocado, sunflower, or safflower oil, divided
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 red apple, unpeeled, chopped into ¾-inch (2-cm) pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the prepared Brussels sprouts on one side of a jelly roll or roasting pan and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil. Place the butternut squash cubes on the other side of the pan and toss with 2 teaspoons oil. Roast for 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. Let vegetables cool.

Place the roasted vegetables into a large serving bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the maple syrup, garlic, rice vinegar, allspice, cinnamon, and water. Pour over the vegetables and toss well. Add the apple pieces and toss again. Add salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Cleaning Brussels Sprouts

You should follow your own rabbinic authority for instructions for cleaning and inspecting Brussels sprouts. I trim off the ends and then remove and discard two layers of outer leaves. I then rinse the sprouts. To be extra careful to avoid bugs, after chopping the sprouts, soak them in water, drain them, and check the water to see if any dirt or bugs are present, and then repeat the process. Dry the sprouts well before proceeding with a recipe.


Meat, Gluten-Free, Passover Serves 4 to 6

Coq au vin, French for chicken with wine, is traditionally made with red wine and is a classic winter dish. This lighter version, made with white wine, can be enjoyed year round. If you can find kumquats, use them, as they give the dish a sharp orange flavor. If kumquats are out of season, use sliced oranges cut into small triangles (keep the peel on). I have also prepared this dish with varying qualities of white wine, always with good results.

PREP TIME: 20 minutes • COOK TIME: ½ hour • ADVANCE PREP: May be made 2 days in advance • EQUIPMENT: Measuring cups and spoons, cutting board, knife, large frying pan, tongs, 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) roasting pan, large spoon, aluminum foil, small saucepan

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 large shallots, halved and sliced thinly
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced into ¼-inch (6-mm) slices (see Tip, page 25)
  • 1 onion, cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) slices
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) white wine
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 10 kumquats, each sliced into 4 pieces, or 3¹⁄³-inch (8-mm) orange slices, peel intact, cut into 8 triangles
  • 8 to 10 ounces (225 to 280g) pearl onions

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large frying pan, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Using tongs, add the chicken in batches and brown it well on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Place the browned chicken into a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) roasting pan.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil to the frying pan. Place the shallots, leeks, and onions in the pan and cook them, scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, for about 6 to 8 minutes, until they start to brown. Add salt and pepper and stir.

Scoop the shallot, leek, and onion mixture out of the frying pan and place it under the chicken pieces in the roasting pan. Do not wash the frying pan. Scatter the garlic cloves around the chicken. Pour the wine on top. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs and sprinkle the tarragon over the chicken pieces. Place the kumquats or orange pieces on top of the chicken.

Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, add the pearl onions, boil them for 2 minutes, then drain off the water. When the onions are cool enough to handle, cut off their ends and squeeze them out of their skins. Heat the unwashed frying pan over medium heat and add the pearl onions. Cook them for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan often, so that the onions brown on all sides. Set the pan aside.

After the chicken has cooked for 1 hour, remove the foil, add the pearl onions and cook for another 30 minutes, uncovered, and serve.


Gluten-free, Vegan • Serves 6

This entire side dish is made on the grill, so cleanup is minimal. It is best made with fresh white corn, which we get in Maryland every summer. Serve it with the Steak with Everything Marinade (page 60) at a barbecue.

PREP TIME: 5 minutes • COOK TIME: 28 minutes • ADVANCE PREP: May be made 2 days in advance • EQUIPMENT: Measuring cups and spoons, cutting board, knife, food processor, silicone spatula, tongs, plastic wrap, plate or pan, large bowl

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups (80g) packed cilantro leaves, including some stems
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sunflower or safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¹⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved and seeds removed
  • 4 scallions, ends trimmed
  • 8 ears of fresh corn, husked
  • Kosher salt (optional)

Preheat the grill to medium-high, so the heat stays at 550°F (290°C).

Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the cilantro leaves and process until the leaves are in very tiny pieces. Scrape down the bowl and process again for a few more seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of the sunflower oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, and a little salt, and process until it is all mixed together.

Place all of the vegetables on the grill as follows:

Rub the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil on the red pepper halves and place them, skin side down, on the grill. Cook the peppers until they’re blackened, about 10 to 12 minutes. When they’re black, transfer them to a bowl, cover it with plastic, and let the peppers sit for at least 15 minutes.

Place the scallions on the grill and cook them until they’re charred, but not falling apart, about 4 to 5 minutes. Watch carefully.

Shmear half the pesto all over the ears of corn and cook them for 10 to 12 minutes, turning them every 3 to 4 minutes, until they’re charred on all sides. Transfer the corn to a plate or pan and let them cool until you can handle them.

Peel off the charred skin of the red pepper and discard. Cut pepper into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces. Place them in a large serving bowl. Cut the kernels off the cobs and add the kernels to the bowl. Slice the scallions into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces. Add the remaining pesto to the bowl and mix well. Taste the mixture and add a little kosher salt and black pepper, if needed.

Click here to order Paula Shoyer’s The Healthy Jewish Kitchen: Fresh Contemporary Recipes for Every Occasion.


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