Dairy Dishes That Challenge Your Typical Holiday Meat Fare

May 7, 2013
Please note: fresh fruit and vegetables need to be inspected for insect infestation. Please consult our guide

I love Shavuot. It’s such a happy yuntif (festival)—full of Torah and flowers, learning and family. And it’s our chance to indulge in yummy milchig (dairy) meals that are as lavish and tantalizing as meat fests.  These  wonderful seasonal recipes will make your dairy meals a gourmet’s delight, and will even placate the meat-and-potatoes fans in your family.

Roasted Beets with Honeyed Pistachios

Roasted Beets

8 servings

Sweet roasted and topped with goat cheese crumbles, this beautiful side is both soft and crunchy.


  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Ready Time: 1 hour, 5 min


  • 8 medium beets, tops removed and cleaned
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled Natural & Kosher Goat Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons honey


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Wrap beets in foil and roast until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Cool to room temperature. Peel and cut into bite size chunks.
  3. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, vinegar, and mint and slowly add olive oil while whisking to combine.
  4. Arrange beets on a serving platter and sprinkle with pistachios and goat cheese. Drizzle with honey and then drizzle with dressing.

After a night of Torah learning, a fresh breakfast hits the spot. This is the time for à la minute fare. In the culinary arts (which always sounded to me like painting with ketchup), à la minute refers to a style of cooking where an item, or particularly its accompanying sauce, is prepared to order, rather than prepped in advance.  You can make elements of this breakfast à la minute, and prep some ahead of time, so you are not at the stove while everyone else is enjoying the yontif feast.  If you like the idea of à la minute. I have a whole menu of à la minute recipes on, and here is a taste:

Southwestern Frittata


8 servings

Slice and serve wedges out of this hearty pretty frittata—just divine with a dollop of sour cream and a touch of salsa.


  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Ready Time: 40 min


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large red potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced (about 1-pound)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 10 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a 12-inch, nonstick, ovenproof skillet (cover plastic handles with aluminum). Add potatoes and cook 10 minutes or until just tender. Add onions, peppers, and garlic and cook 5 minutes more, or until onions are translucent.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese. Pour over potatoes and onion and transfer to preheated oven. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until set in the middle.
  4. Loosen edges with a spatula and slide out onto a plate. Cut into 8 slices and serve with sour cream and salsa.

Mini Spanakopita


Yields 16 triangles

Spinach and feta wrapped in buttered phyllo dough—need I say more?


  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Ready Time: 50 min


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bag frozen spinach, defrosted and drained well (10-ounce bag)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 phyllo sheets, defrosted
  • ½ cup unsalted butter


  1. Heat oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic for 5 minutes or until translucent. Transfer to a large bowl and add spinach, feta, nutmeg, and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  2. Take one phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with the long side closest to you. Brush with melted butter. Top with another sheet and brush with more butter. Top with one more sheet and brush with butter. Cut stack crosswise into 8 strips.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  4. Put a heaping teaspoon of filling near one corner of a strip on the end closest to you. Fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding the strip, like a flag, maintaining the triangular shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a lightly greased large baking sheet and brush the top with butter. Repeat with remaining strips and filling.
  5. Repeat with remaining three phyllo sheets to make 16 triangles total.
  6. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.

TIP: Cutting Lengthwise vs. Crosswise

Cutting an ingredient “lengthwise” means to slice it the long way, the length of the ingredient from “pole to pole.” Cutting an ingredient “crosswise” is the exact opposite and means slicing across the short way.

Red Snapper with Asian Noodles

Yields 4 filets and 4 cups noodles

This is a fabulous, refreshing change from the ho-hum fish dinner. And it’s quick too. After you let the fish marinate in a slightly sweet, spicy and citrusy mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic powder, salt and cayenne, you bake it for 15 minutes – and there you have it. Serve with lo-mein noodles spiked with sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice and lightly pickled cukes.


  • Prep Time: 10 mins, Chill time 30 mins min
  • Cook Time: 15 mins min
  • Ready Time: 25 min


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 (6 to 8-oz.) red snapper filets, skin on
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 (9-oz.) packages Gefen lo-mein noodles, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds


  1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper and whisk.
  2. Pour over fish filets in a shallow baking dish and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or for up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Meanwhile, combine cucumbers and rice wine vinegar and marinate for 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove fish from marinade and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish is flakey and firm.
  6. While fish is baking, in a large bowl, combine cold noodles with sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice and sesame seeds and toss to coat. Drain cucumbers and add to noodles.
  7. Divide noodle mixture between 4 plates and top each with a snapper filet. Serve warm snapper with cold or room temperature noodles.

Dairy Pineapple Kugel/Dessert

I got this recipe from last year’s Joy of Kosher magazine spotlight on Toby Ash, our Balabusta Next Door. I just turned it up a notch with the addition of my favorite whipped cream cheese.  I am also giving you two for the price of one:  Use the same recipe to either create a nice large kugel or make them in individual ramekins or disposable tins.  After baking, turn them upside down for a Passover Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

These spunky dairy dishes can challenge any fleishig (meat) fare for holiday feasting.  Have a happy and tasty Shavuot!

Jamie Geller is the author of the best-selling Quick & Kosher cookbook series, creator of the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine and host of the popular Quick & Kosher cooking show online at and on-air on JLTV.  Join the world’s largest kosher food community on to discover 5,000 FREE kosher and Jewish recipes, inspiring menu ideas, how-to videos and more! Follow Jamie’s cooking adventures on Twitter @JoyofKosher and on

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.