Jewish food (particularly Ashkenazi) really gets a bad rap as being overwhelmingly fat laden, obesity-inducing dishes lacking fresh fruit and vegetables. But Jewish food is diverse, vibrant and even uses fresh, seasonal vegetables, herbs, colors and spices. Here are a few surprisingly healthy, traditional foods to enjoy with none of the (Jewish) guilt.
1. Traditional tzimmes from Martha Stewart is actually packed with sweet potatoes, carrots and dried fruit—fiber, veggies and fruit all in one sweet, delicious side dish.
2. Sauerkraut and pickles are delicious, but also serve an important dietary purpose: The good bacteria help your body digest more effectively. And almost every culture has its own version of fermented foods which aid in digestion (um, kimchi!).
3. Jewish penicillin, otherwise known as chicken soup, has garnered this nickname because chicken soup has actually been scientifically shown to help treat colds. In truth, chicken soup is the original bone broth.
4. Israeli salad is as about as delicious and fresh as it gets: chopped veggies, herbs and some lemon juice.
5. Not only is shakshuka uber-trendy right now, but it’s easy and good for you—vegetarian, made with lycopene-loaded tomatoes, roasted, peppers, eggs and often other veggies like kale, eggplant, mushrooms or spinach. And there are so many ways to make it.
6. Tahini, made from raw sesame seeds, is considered a good fat. Drizzle it on salads and veggies or bake into some brownies. Hey, that’s healthy, right??
7. Mujaderra is a delicious vegan dish ,packed with fiber and protein from the lentils and is also super easy to prepare.
Shannon Sarna is a contributing writer to Nosher and Jlife Magazine.