A "Something For Everyone" Rosh Hashanah Menu

Gefilte Fish for Rosh Hashana
Credit: Photostock Israel/Getty Images
Inviting a large crowd for Rosh Hashanah dinner means taking a variety of tastes and even dietary restrictions into consideration. Are there children who don't eat fish? Are there adults who want low-fat, low-carb dishes? Are there grandparents who need sugar-free choices? And what about vegetarians?
-- Giora Shimoni

Shimoni takes the guesswork out of menu planning with this selection of crowd-pleasing recipes for the Jewish New Year, so all your guests can find plenty to eat and enjoy.

Starters

  • Honey Wheat Raisin Challah (Pareve) -- This honey-sweetened round challah is studded with golden raisins and flavored a touch of vanilla (and an optional pinch of cardamom, if you like). Some of the refined flour is swapped out for white whole wheat, which adds texture and balances the sweetness of the plump golden raisins and honey.  It's a great choice if you're aiming for a sweet and healthy new year.  
  • Gefilte Fish (Pareve) -- If you've always wanted to make gefilte fish from scratch but weren't sure how, check out Giora Shimoni's photo-illustrated step-by-step instructions. You may never go back to the jarred stuff again.  
  • Rich Chicken Noodle Soup (Meat) and/or No-Chicken Matzo Ball Soup (Pareve, Passover) -- If you consider chicken soup a must, but don't want to go through the trouble of breaking down a chicken, check out this recipe for Rich Chicken Noodle Soup, which relies on chicken wings to infuse the broth with lots of flavor.

Salads

  • Fried Israeli Eggplant Salad -- You'll have to do a little deep frying to make this Israeli Eggplant and Red Pepper Salad, but the rest of the preparation so simple, and this versatile dish works as an appetizer, salad, or side.
  • Moroccan Sweet Beet Salad -- Beets are considered an auspicious food for Rosh Hashana, and this simple, sweet treatment makes a nice side. 
  • Sugared Almond Salad -- Salad greens, mandarin oranges, and red onion are tossed in a parsley vinaigrette and topped with sugared almond slices in this simple, crowd-pleasing salad. 

Main Dishes

  • Sweet and Savory Coca-Cola Brisket (Meat, Passover)  -- It may seem like an unconventional addition, but Coca-Cola is the secret to Giora Shimoni's "festive, fragrant" crowd-pleasing brisket, where it works as both a tenderizer and flavor-enhancer. 
  • Apricot Chicken (Meat) -- "So simple and so good!" Giora Shimoni says of this Apricot Chicken, a saucy family favorite. 
  • Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine with Couscous (Pareve) -- This vegan vegetable tagine is mildly spiced, so it works well for family meals. And it works as both a complete meal for vegetarians or as a complimentary side for the meat eaters at the table.

Sides

Desserts

  • Sugar Pumpkin Pie with Olive Oil Crust -- Pumpkins and other gourds are also symbolic foods for a good new year, so why not cap the meal with a seasonal pumpkin pie?
  • Apple and Dried Cherry Crisp -- Carry the apples-for-a-sweet-new-year theme through to dessert with this deliciously wholesome crisp. If you're cooking for a crowd, the recipe is easily doubled, and leftovers make a delicious breakfast!
  • Chai-Spiced Honey Cake  -- If dessert isn't complete without a beautiful bundt cake, try this moist and fragrantly spiced honey cake, with its lovely notes of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg.