Lighter Delicious Shavuot Recipes

May 17, 2012

8 min read


... and mini cheesecakes too!

Shavuot, the “dairy” holiday, is right around the corner. I’m so excited! Lots of Torah learning and lots of our family’s dairy favorites to enjoy. With six consecutive big Shabbat and Yom Tov meals, I’m trying to keep things on the lighter and healthier side (but definitely delicious!). Even my cheesecake dessert is lighter this year. Believe me when I tell you, your guests will thank you when they don’t have to be rolled home at the end of the each meal!

GFE: Great for the Gluten Free Eater

For more great Shabbat and Shavuot recipes go to

Tofu “Tastes Like Chicken” Marinara
(pareve or dairy)

Tofu “Tastes Like Chicken” Marinara Tofu “Tastes Like Chicken” Marinara

Wait!!! Please don’t skip this recipe because it has “Tofu” in it. If you’re “Tofu-phobic” this will be the recipe that makes you a fan …really! This is one of my go-to recipes when I find out I’m having last minute vegetarian-type Shabbat guests. It’s pretty fast to make, and the guests always are incredibly appreciative of the fact that they get a fabulous tasting dish and don’t have to eat only Challah at the meal. Tofu really does take on the flavors of the sauces, oils, or seasonings it’s covered with. In this recipe, the tofu is pan fried in healthy olive oil so it’s golden and crispy on the outside, then baked with your favorite sauce to infuse the sauce’s herbed flavors into the dish – while still maintaining the crispiness of the tofu. You can even top it with your favorite cheese for a “parmigiana” type recipe – perfect for Shavuot! It’s even great re-heated – bonus!

  • 2 pounds extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, or ½ cup liquid egg substitute
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • olive (or canola) oil for frying
  • 26 ounce jar pasta sauce (with mushrooms)
  • 8 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • non-stick vegetable spray

Cover a large cookie/baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Set aside.

Turn the tofu on its side and slice it into ½ inch thick slices. You should get around 8 “cutlets” per tofu block. Combine the bread crumbs and garlic in a shallow baking dish. Dip the tofu slices in egg, then in bread crumbs, repeating until all the slices are coated.

Coat the bottom of a large skillet with the oil. Heat the oil, then fry the breaded tofu slices until golden brown on each side. Place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the tofu slices are fried.

Cover the fried tofu slices with sauce and bake uncovered for 20 minutes (30 minutes if not using cheese). Top with cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Teriyaki Salmon Roll
with Shitake Mushrooms (GFE - pareve)

Teriyaki Salmon Roll with Shitake Mushrooms Teriyaki Salmon Roll with Shitake Mushrooms Teriyaki Salmon Roll with Shitake Mushrooms

Looking for a different, but elegant, way to serve salmon? This healthy salmon roll requires a little bit of extra labor from your friendly fish seller to butterfly the fish, or if you’re handy with a knife you can even do it yourself. It’s so unusual and tasty that the extra step is well worth the effort. With fragrant Asian flavors, healthy brown rice, and delicious shitake mushrooms, this dish is a beautiful appetizer or good-for-you-packed-with omega-3 main dish. With not a single fat laden puff pastry sheet in sight, you won’t even feel guilty eating that piece of cheesecake for dessert!

  • 3 pound salmon fillet, skinned and butterflied
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, cooked according to package directions in vegetable stock, cooled
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 10-16 ounce jar teriyaki sauce, divided (for the GFE use gluten-free teriyaki sauce)
  • ½ pound shitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 large green onions, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pound shitake mushrooms
  • Non-stick vegetable spray
  • Additional teriyaki sauce and soy sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 425 ° F. Cover a large, rimmed cookie/baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Set aside.

Heat the 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil and 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce in a large skillet or wok. Add ½ pound chopped shitake mushrooms, green onions and ginger. Sauté for 3 minutes over medium-high heat, until vegetables are coated and teriyaki sauce is mostly absorbed. In a large bowl combine the cooked rice and mushrooms. Set aside.

Place the salmon on a large cutting board. Open the salmon so it’s a long rectangle. Place the rice filling on the salmon, then roll the salmon lengthwise over the filling jelly roll style. Using a very sharp knife, cut the salmon into 1” wide rolls. Place the rolls in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Evenly distribute the remaining pound of shitake mushrooms on the salmon rolls, then spoon the remaining teriyaki sauce over the salmon rolls and mushrooms.

Bake for 30 minutes, spooning pan juices over the fish after 15 minutes, until golden brown and the fish is cooked through. This dish may be served warm or cold with additional teriyaki sauce and soy sauce for dipping.

Eggplant Lasagna (GFE - dairy)

Eggplant Lasagna Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant Lasagna is one of my family’s favorite recipes (Yay! We’re having Eggplant Lasagna for dinner!!). This lasagna substitutes baked unpeeled eggplant slices for lasagna noodles resulting in a lighter, healthier main dish (and I don’t have to make another vegetable! Yay again!).

  • 4-5 medium eggplants (around 5 pounds), washed and sliced into thin ½ inch slices
  • 16 ounces shredded part skim mozzarella cheese or pizza cheese
  • 2 26 ounce jars pasta sauce
  • non-stick vegetable spray
  • additional chopped vegetables or sliced mushrooms, optional

Preheat oven to 350° F, or 325° F convection mode ovens. Spray a 9x13 inch casserole or baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Line several cookie sheets with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Place the eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Spray the slices with non-stick vegetable spray. Bake for 30 minutes until slices are soft and slightly browned.

Spoon several tablespoons of sauce onto the bottom of the prepared casserole pan. Place a single layer of baked eggplant on the sauce, completely covering the bottom of the pan. Spoon a layer of sauce on the eggplant until lightly covered with sauce. If adding additional vegetables or mushrooms place a layer over the sauce. Sprinkle a layer of shredded cheese on the sauce or additional vegetables. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and cheese. Tightly cover and bake for 60 minutes. To brown the cheese, bake uncovered for the last 10 minutes. Serve warm with garlic bread or pasta.


1. For a less cheesy version omit the cheese in between the layers and only use the cheese on the top of the lasagna.

2. For a crispier version of this recipe, dip the eggplant slices in beaten egg, then coat with corn flake crumbs or bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on the baking sheets, spray with non-stick vegetable spray and bake as indicated above.

3. You can add broccoli, zucchini, shredded carrots, sliced onions or any of your other favorite vegetables to this dish. You can even add some cubed tofu in between the layers for another delicious version.

4. Another easy way to get additional vegetables into this lasagna is to use a pasta sauce that has them already built in, such as a garden vegetable sauce or mushroom marinara.

5. Spray non-stick vegetable spray on the foil you are covering the lasagna with. It will keep the cheese from sticking to the foil.

No Bake Mini Cheesecake Desserts
(Can be adapted for the GFE - dairy)

No Bake Mini Cheesecake DessertsThis light dairy dessert is perfect for after a huge meal – it’s a little creamy treat. The secret to keeping this delight light and airy is folding in pre-whipped ingredients: whipped topping and whipped cream cheese! With an actual cookie for a crust, you can even make it on Yom Tov or Shabbat – no mixer or food processor required! How easy is that?!

  • 8 ounces whipped topping (like Cool Whip), slightly defrosted
  • 16 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 24-36 Vanilla wafer cookies
  • toppings of your choice

Combine the whipped topping, cream cheese, sugar, extract, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Fold to thoroughly combine. Place a cookie into a small dessert cup or mini muffin cup. Pipe or spoon the filling over the cookie. Top with your favorite toppings.


1. To make this dessert for the GFE, substitute your favorite Gluten Free cookie as the crust.

2. You can use your favorite cookies for the crust: Mini Oreos, Mini Chocolate Chip cookies, or your favorite mini cookie cereal.

3. You can add your favorite extract to the filling to boost the flavor of this dessert and add variety. Consider strawberry, blueberry, lemon, or cocoa extracts. Top with your favorite complimentary fruit toppings, crushed cookies, chocolate syrup, caramel, crushed toffee candies, cookie crumbs, chocolate chips, or any other creative fun topping you can think of.

4. This dessert can even be made into a light and creamy pie. Simply spoon the filling into a ready-made graham cracker crust and top with your favorite topping. No one will know how easy it was to make…they will think you slaved in the kitchen for hours!

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