Rosh Hashanah is coming, which much like the beginning of the school year, marks a perfect transition into fall. While there are some fall flavors that have become classics in America, Rosh Hashanah has its own set of food traditions born from linguistic puns designed to offer a blessing for a good year.
A few of the traditional ingredients you’ll find at a Rosh Hashanah dinner table are pomegranate, carrots, and leeks. If they don’t scream “fall” to the American senses, that’s probably because many of these traditions stretch back to Israeli agricultural cycle. Even so, I crafted this kale salad as an ode to the end of the summer, as warm days give way to cool nights, reminding us that the days will only get colder from here, but with a natural sweetness that serves as a reminder of the beauty of autumn.
The secret to this salad is the caramelized leeks that form the basis of the dressing. The sweetness of the leeks adds a depth to the vinaigrette that maple syrup alone can’t quite compete with. For some textural contrast, there are crisp, savory strips of carrot bacon and juicy pomegranate seeds. You can serve this at your next Rosh Hashanah meal, or just enjoy it any night of the week.
Rosh Hashanah Kale Salad with Caramelized Leek Dressing and Carrot Bacon
- 6 medium carrots, peeled
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
- 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced into half-moons, excluding dark green tops
- ¼ + 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- juice of ½ a medium lemon
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- 1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped (a package of baby kale works too)
For the Carrot “Bacon”:
1. Mix the tamari, liquid smoke, and maple syrup in a medium-sized bowl. Add shaved carrots and toss with the tamari mixture, making sure it is every coated.
2. Marinate the carrot strips for about an hour, tossing every so often so they are evenly coated.
3. If using your oven, preheat to 250°F. Spread a baking tray with coconut oil, then evenly distribute carrot strips, pouring the excess marinade on top. Bake in the oven about an hour, until crisp and dry, taking care not to burn. If the carrots are browning too quickly, lower the oven temperature. If you have a dehydrator, you can follow the manufacturer’s instructions to dehydrate the carrots until they are crisp.
To Make the Vinaigrette:
4. In a large pan over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil, then the sliced leeks. Add in ½ a teaspoon of salt and stir so the salt is well distributed.
5. Over low heat, cook the leeks for about an hour until they have turned a deep golden color. The caramelized leeks will have shrunk considerably.
6. Now add the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil to the pan. Over very low heat, infuse the oil with the caramelized leeks for 3 to 4 minutes.
7. Pour the infused oil into a separate container, then add in the rest of the dressing ingredients.
To Assemble the Salad:
8. Place the kale into a large bowl. If you are using mature kale, you can add the dressing slightly in advance, taking care to massage the dressing into the leaves, until they are well coated, and have softened. If using baby kale, dress the salad right before serving, without massaging the leaves.
9. When ready to serve, top with the pomegranate seeds and the prepared carrot bacon.
This recipe was originally featured on Joy of Kosher in 2016.
If you’ve tried this recipe, let me know in the comments below!
For more festive vegan Rosh Hashanah recipes: