Since the High Holidays are early this year, the idea of a lighter meal may be more appealing than roasting chickens or braising briskets.

This repast is still plenty festive, delicious and traditional, but it has the benefit of shorter cooking times, which means less schvitzing for the cook.

This honey mustard salmon appeals to celebrants of all ages — kids love the sweetness, and everyone appreciates the symbolism of honey for an auspicious new year.

The couscous complements the dish nicely and, by including chickpeas, you provide a viable protein-rich main dish alternative for the vegetarians and vegans at the table.

The tzimmes salad is a riff on the traditional honey-roasted root veggies. By roasting the veggies ahead of time and serving them cold as part of a salad, you deliver a lighter, updated version of the traditional side.

Honey Roasted Salmon

This recipe couldn’t be simpler; you do the whole thing in the baking pan, so no dirty dishes.

I prefer the grainy Dijon-style mustard to give the sauce some texture, but you can use any type of mustard that you have on hand.

2 pounds salmon fillet

½ cup honey

¼ cup mustard

½ stick butter

Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 400 degree. Add the butter to a large baking dish and place it in the oven for 5 minutes until the butter melts.

Remove the pan from the oven, add the honey and mustard; mix the sauce. Place the salmon in the dish, skin side down.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spoon the sauce over the fish until it is thoroughly coated.

Return the pan to the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the fish is done.

Serves 6

Curried Couscous and Chickpeas

This dish is somewhat of a blank canvas. It stands just fine on its own, but can also serve as a bed for roasted meat or vegetables, fish, kebabs or even salad.

1 cup couscous

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter

Boil the broth and add the curry powder, salt and couscous. Stir. Remove the contents from the heat, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, add butter or oil, then fluff with a fork. Add the chickpeas and stir.

Serves 6

Tzimmes Salad

This is a unique, light and fresh presentation of a traditional dish.

If you want to stick to the norm, simply stop after the veggies are cooked and serve the tzimmes as it comes.

If you choose to proceed, the tzimmes’ drippings basically function as a salad dressing, so when you pour the veggies onto the greens, you probably won’t need to do much else.

Toss and taste; if you feel like it needs more flavor, you can add some salt, pepper and vinegar to the salad and toss again.

This may make more roasted veggies than you need for the salad— that’s a good thing.

Leftover veggies are a cook’s friend.

For the vegetables:

4 carrots

2 sweet potatoes

2 parsnips

2 potatoes

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup honey

Sprinkle of salt and pepper

For the salad:

1 package of your favorite baby greens (arugula, kale, spring mix, etc.)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Salt/pepper/oil if needed

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel the vegetables if desired and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Place the vegetables on a large, rimmed baking sheet and toss them with oil, salt and pepper.

Roast for 45 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through and beginning to brown. Cool the tzimmes, reserving all drippings, and set aside.

At this point, you can pause for a day or more, chilling the vegetables, and resume this recipe closer to the meal. If you don’t have time to chill them, you can serve this as a room temperature or warm salad.

Place the greens in a large salad bowl or platter and pour the tzimmes and the drippings on top. Add the vinegar.

Toss and taste; season with additional salt/pepper/oil if needed.

Serves 6 or more JN

This article was originally published in the Jewish Exponent, a Jewish News-affiliated publication.

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