Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, got off to a rocky start with the devastating loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Add to that the awful toll of COVID, and what is normally a time of hope, sweetness and shine doesn’t feel that way. I want to help you to reconnect with my pomegranate lentils recipe, bringing two of the holiday’s symbolic foods to your plate.
Round foods like pomegranates and lentils play a role at Rosh Hashanah. They represent wholeness, the eternal. Lentils are also one of the most sustainable crops to grow, and most sustainable for us, being high in fiber and protein. Pomegranates, symbolizing fertility, contain 613 seeds, the same number of blessings as there are in Judaism. They’re one of the seven sacred foods. Lentils and pomegranates are delicious, even more so together.
This easy, comforting and gentle dish makes a perfect way to break the Yom Kippur fast. Let it help you feel the joy and sweetness of the season any time.
RBG fought to the end. We can do no less. Let’s bring the shine and sweetness to this new year.
Pomegranate gets a berry boost with sumac and allspice, two spices that began life as berries, yes, even allspice. Sumac is tart but not acidic. It adds a little sparkle. Allspice is a Caribbean berry with warming notes. Both are beloved in Middle Eastern cuisine.
- 1 cup of lentils picked over for grit and pebbles, and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 1 small-to-medium onion sliced in half and then into thin half-moon slices
- drizzle of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sumac or juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- pinch red pepper flakes optional
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses *
- 1 handful of cilantro chopped
- 1 handful chopped spinach or other tender greens optional
- 1 handful fresh pomegranate seeds optional, but very nice
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Bring two cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the lentils, garlic cloves and bay leaves. When they return to boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Let lentils simmer for 30 minutes. The lentils should have plumped and absorbed all the water.
- Meanwhile, spread grape tomatoes and sliced onion on the baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened, and both the tomatoes and onions have a slight char.
- Combine the lentils, tomatoes and onion in a large bowl. Add sumac, cumin, allspice and pomegranate molasses. Give a gentle stir to combine. Add chopped cilantro, spinach or other optional green. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
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