Quickie Pasta and Grain Salads

26 Jun 2008
.Please note: fresh fruit and vegetables need to be inspected for insect infestation. Please consult our guide

imageThis week’s column will focus on some really nice, simple and healthy side dishes that can be used any time of year, for Shabbos or weekday. These “sides” are an excellent alternative to more traditional kugels and lower in fat and calorie content. They are a great accompaniment to any meat, fish or dairy meals; and are especially nice for the third meal on those long summer Shabbat afternoons.

This first one my mother just invented a few weeks ago, while she was here visiting. She wanted to entertain my sisters and me, instead of having us do the work. This is what she came up with, and it’s so savory and delicious that my sister and brother in law felt as if they had just sat down to an expensive meal at an Italian restaurant…

Savory Spaghetti Garlic and Tomato Salad

5 to 6 servings



  1. Add water to a large pot, and bring to a boil. Into this water, also add some oil and salt before adding in all the spaghetti noodles.
  2. Cook as directed on the package.
  3. Drain immediately and rinse to cool and stop the cooking process, and keep the noodles from sticking. Set aside.
  4. While the noodles are cooking, add all that fresh garlic (yes, I know it’s a lot but it is really incredible this way) to the olive oil in a large pan. Start to saute it until it is beginning to turn golden. Add in the fresh herbs and saute another few minutes to release the flavor of the herbs. Add in the wine and cook this up on a medium-low flame so liquid starts to reduce.
  5. Keep stirring and watching the mixture all the time. When it is mostly reduced, add in the chopped tomatoes and cook another 15 minutes. Turn off the flame.
  6. Add this mixture to the prepared spaghetti noodles.
  7. Season with the salt and pepper and then toss together.
  8. It is best to leave the salad to sit about 30 minutes at room temp before serving.

Here’s another one my mother frequently likes to serve as a cold or room temperature side dish to holiday and festive meals…

Israeli Couscous Salad

6 servings

Let it steep in one cup boiled water and sit covered until all the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Fluff it with a fork, and continue…

Toss together with the bulgur.

Add in:

Toss together and refrigerate.

Looks beautiful and serves very nicely for several days.

Barley and Raisin Salad

4 servings

Most people think of barley only as cholent food, but this is a healthy and tasty way to incorporate this important grain in your Shabbos and holiday meals, even if you’re not having cholent.

1 cup barley, cooked up with 2½ to 3 cups of water until it is soft and edible (about 45 minutes to one hour). Drain whatever liquid is left over in this barley and place the barley in a plastic mixing bowl.

Add to this:

Toss and mix all ingredients together. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Sweet and Tangy Bulgur Fruit Salad

4 servings



  1. Let bulgur steep in one cup boiled water and let it sit covered until all the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil until clear. Turn off flame.
  3. Fluff the bulgur with the tines of a fork and add in the sautéed vegetables, fresh parsley and pepper.
  4. Directly before serving, add in the dried apricots, dates, slivered almonds and pine nuts.
  5. Toss and serve.


Until next time, Tamar Ansh

Tamar Ansh is an author, freelance recipe developer, and food columnist. Her articles have appeared in Jewish publications worldwide. She has published 4 books so far which include: Splitting the Sea (Targum Press), inspirational stories on finding one’s soul-mate; Let’s Say Amen!, an illustrated children’s book about the holiness of Amen (Feldheim Publishers); her first cookbook, A Taste of Tradition (Feldheim Publishers) which is both gluten free and kosher for Passover. Her most recent book is called A Taste of Challah (Feldheim Publishers, 2007). It is a photographic guide to baking and shaping beautiful challahs, and includes many other healthy and interesting bread types as well. Visit www.TasteofChallah.com to see all her books online, as well as other, not yet published, challah and bread recipes. She will be coming on a short book tour and speaking in two different places in the Tri-State area the week of March 4-9th! See her website for details and locations.

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