Before the High Holidays last year, I reached out to community members for their favorite recipes to include in my Community Eats collection. I wasn’t surprised that kugel, an Ashkenazi Jewish baked pudding or casserole, was one of the most popular types of food submitted. While most of the recipes did use traditional ingredients like egg noodles or potato, I was interested to find that no recipe was exactly like the next.

Each kugel recipe used slightly different ingredients and twists, including dairy versions, sweet fruit-filled noodle kugels or savory versions loaded with vegetables. These favorite kugel recipes were shared for many years in homes around our community, and I hope they were enjoyed in new homes after the collection was available.

Kugel is a classic for a reason and many cooks serve their own version during the holidays. This year, I wanted to create a few of my own twists on the traditional kugel and serve up new flavors which bring a bit of excitement to the table. The three delicious recipes are new favorites in our home, and I can see myself making them more often than just during the High Holidays.

Pesto kugel

Pesto Kugel

I love pesto and this unique kugel highlights the basil and garlic flavors perfectly. This kugel could be served with a side salad, or easily be spotlighted as a main dish. It’s full of flavor and will fill you up, and it’s also something very unique in the world of kugels.

Ingredients:

12 ounces thin egg noodles

7 ounces pesto sauce

15 ounces ricotta cheese

2 eggs

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook and drain noodles per directions on package and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the pesto, ricotta and eggs and mix until fully combined.

Fold in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Add the cooked, room-temperature noodles and mix thoroughly.

Pour into the baking pan and bake for 40 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes before serving.

Kugel cupcakes

Potato, Zucchini Carrot Kugel Cupcakes

Part of the fun of this recipe is the use of muffin tins rather than the traditional casserole dish. The colors from the carrots and zucchini also make these kugel cupcakes extra fun to serve, and I’m sure you’ll get lots of compliments on the look as well as the taste.

I make these for many of the Jewish holidays throughout the year and really enjoy the added sweetness from the carrots and how nicely they complement the earthy flavors of the potato and zucchini.

Ingredients:

3 small to medium size potatoes, washed and peeled

2 small zucchini, washed (peel optional)

4 medium carrots, washed and peeled (use rainbow carrots for extra color)

¼ red onion

¼ cup oil

2 eggs

¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Grate the potato, zucchini, carrots and onion in a food processor or by hand. Let sit in a colander to drain excess liquids for about 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray two muffin pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, flour, sugar, onion powder and salt and pepper. Squeeze out any additional liquids from the grated vegetables and add to the mixture in the bowl.

Once thoroughly mixed, divide mixture into the muffin tins, and be sure not to overfill.

Bake for 40 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before taking out of the muffin tins and serving.

Ambrosia kugel

Ambrosia Kugel

Sweet noodle kugels are one of my favorite things about breaking the fast after Yom Kippur, but the flavors in this version are quite different than the ones I usually enjoy. I love how tropical this dish tastes and how nicely the coconut compliments the fruit. If you like ambrosia salad, I highly advise you to test out this kugel this holiday season. I think it will become a new favorite.

Ingredients:

1 pound wide

egg noodles

1 ½ cups cherries,

pitted

16 ounces crushed

pineapple, in juice

1 cup unsweetened

Greek yogurt

(*substitute dairy-free sour cream to make parve)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

¾ cup sugar

½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

Cook and drain noodles per directions on package and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the cherries, pineapple (with juice), yogurt and vanilla and mix until fully combined. Stir in the eggs and sugar, and then add in the cooked, room-temperature noodles.

Fold in the shredded coconut and pour contents into the baking pan.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving or keep in the fridge until ready to eat and serve the dish chilled. JN

Jennifer Starrett is an events and marketing consultant. Visit jewphx.com, for more of her recipes and blogs.