In preparation for the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, Moment Magazine offered an online presentation showcasing four of Chef Vered Guttman’s favorite recipes, Seven Species Salad, Feta and Roasted Eggplant Burekas Pie, Romanian Malai Cake, and No-Bake Israeli Cheesecake. This year, Jews will begin celebrating the holiday at sundown on May 28.
It is customary to eat foods made with dairy products and to also consume these Seven Species— wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. The Seven Species foods were harvested in Ancient Israel and eaten regularly by the country’s inhabitants. Jewish writers from biblical to modern times have connected these foods with mystical attributes.
Readers of Haaretz, Slate, Moment Magazine, The Forward, and The Washington Post may have come across some of Guttman’s Meditieranean inspired recipes. People living in the Washington, D.C. area may be familiar with her catering company, Cardamon & Mint, featuring Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food selections. Guttman also had the honor of cooking a White House Passover meal for President Obama and his guests.
During the pandemic, my attention is focused on nutrient dense food options. Unfortunately, three out of four of Guttman’s recipes did not fit into this category due to their high fat content. Not only was the Seven Species Salad the healthiest option but it was also colorful, delicious, and easy to prepare. I recommend trying this healthy food choice.
Like most accomplished chefs, she gathered her ingredients before starting to cook.
Here is a list of ingredients for the Seven Species Salad that serves four people.
- 1 cup wheat berries
- 6-8 dried figs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 cups chopped herbs, such as Italian parsley, cilantro, mint, tarragon, oregano 2 cups baby arugula
- 1⁄2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 6 sliced radishes
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1⁄2 cup toasted hazelnut, chopped
- 4 pitted dates, sliced
When I went to the store, wheat berries were not available. If you encounter the same issue, Guttman recommends the following substitutions: farro, spelt, kasha or freekeh. I was able to find farro which I cooked according to the package directions.
Guttman sautéed the sliced figs with butter and brown sugar in a non stick pan for 3-4 minutes. To reduce the amount of extra sugar, I skipped this step and simply added the cut up fig pieces near the end of preparation.
Guttman mentioned that the hazelnuts should be roasted in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. To even out the browning process, she suggested shaking the pan every few minutes.
Guttman chopped and sliced the fruits and vegetables with a large knife.
As I prepared the individual items, I placed the chopped and sliced fruits and vegetables on a few plates. I put the arugula and chopped herbs into the bowl and then added the ferro, red onion, radishes, and pomegranate. The lemon juice, olive oil, and salt/pepper were added right before the figs, hazelnuts and dates. I gently tossed the ingredients for this nutritious dish.
For a light and colorful vegetarian meal, I served it with a portion of yellow zucchini noodles sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
Thank you Chef Guttman for demonstrating this amazing recipe during a Moment Magazine online program. This nutritious salad is great for Shavuot as well as the rest of the year.
Do you have a favorite Shavuot recipe that you’d like to share?
When Sandy isn’t trekking or writing in the Colorado Rockies, she is traveling. She has visited more than 40 countries and lived as an international teacher in Bangalore, India. Sandy shares her lifestyle and travel experiences with international and domestic online sites and print media.
Her stories have appeared in Hemispheres, Destinations Magazine, KUHL’s Born in the Mountain blog, Grand Magazine, Wandering Educators, Golden Living, One Travel, Miles Away, Canadian Jewish News, Getting On Travel, Far and Wide, Colorado Parent, Traveler Confidential, Family Circle- Momster, and others.
Sandy’s award-winning book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, is a resource for people contemplating an expat lifestyle and living outside their comfort zone. To learn more about Sandy’s travel adventures, visit https://thetravelingbornsteins.com/