Rosh Hashana Simanim “Tapas”-Style Menu Plan

Rosh Hashana Simanim Tapas MenuOkay, you guys, I got a CRAZY idea in my head — but I’m super excited about it. I sure hope my family will love it and that it will become a new tradition!

For Rosh Hashana dinner the second night*, I’ve decided that instead of having a third heavy meal in a row, we’re going to lighten things up with a “tapas” bar, siman-style! We’ll even eat on little appetizer-sized plates.

I was inspired by a friend who recently told me that her family has a Rosh Hashana seder with all of the simanim. She said she was first introduced to the tradition by a Sephardi friend of hers, and loved it so much that they have adopted it.

For those who may be unfamiliar with this tradition, on Rosh Hashana, many families eat so-called auspicious foods {simanim}. These symbolic foods, most of which were mentioned in the Talmud or the Shulchan Aruch, are eaten at the beginning of the meal. Some families alternatively serve them in special dishes throughout the meal.

Each food is eaten after reciting a special prayer that starts with the phrase “May it be Your will” {yihe ratzon}. The prayers reflect our hope that G-d will confer upon us these many blessings for the year to come. The Hebrew (or in some cases Yiddish) word for the food is related to the words of the yihe ratzon, so as a “wordy”, I’ve always found the simanim especially enjoyable.

Here’s what I am planning to serve for each of the different simanim, along with the appropriate yehi ratzon blessing.

Apple challah ready for freezer

Challah dipped in Honey + Apples & Honey

These two are pretty straight-forward, but I will be making my apple-stuffed challah for sure, followed by apples dipped in honey. (Remember the year I had a honey tasting? We might do that again, too!)

Yehi Ratzon milfanecha ….she’tichadesh aleinu shana tova u’m’tuka (May it be Your will… that you renew us for a good and sweet year.)


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I’m very excited to try Minimalist Baker’s Savory Pumpkin Soup, including her kale sesame topping for those in my family who will taste it – since that also counts as the siman of fenugreek (below).

Yehi Ratzon milfanecha …. _sheyikaru’u lifanecha zechuyo’teinu (May it be Your will… that our merits shall be proclaimed before you)


…sheyikora g’zar de’nainu (May it be Your will… that the decree of our sentence be torn up.)

Spicy Carrot Chips by Overtime Cook

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In addition to having the sesame seeds in our soup, I will also be making mini carrot muffins. The Yiddish word for carrots is mehren, which can also mean to “increase”.

My friend Sarah makes amazing ones, so I’ve asked her to share her recipe with me. If I don’t get it in time, I plan to make Overtime Cook’s Spicy Carrot Chips instead (shared here).

Yehi Ratzon milfanecha …. she’yir’bu ze’chuyo’tainu (May it be Your will… that our merits increase)

Sauteed Leeks

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Leek or Cabbage

I love a simple pan of sauteed leeks, so this one should be very easy. This recipe from Jamie Oliver was shared in my Rosh Hashana Side Dish round-up.

Yehi Ratzon milfanecha ….she’yikar’tu son’ainu  (May it be Your will… that our enemies be decimated)

Roasted Beets by Ina Garten

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I’m actually not a huge beet-lover (I think they taste like dirt!), but my husband likes them so I will make a small pan of Ina Garten’s roasted beets (subbing in red wine vinegar for the raspberry vinegar). The Moroccan beet salad I shared here also sounds promising.

Yehi Ratzon milfanecha …. she’yistalku oy’vainu (May it be Your will… that our adversaries be removed) 


Pomegranate Lemonade Spritzers

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In addition to eating some straight-up pomegranate seeds (because why not?!), I’m also going to serve these pomegranate lemonade spritzers! They sound so fun and festive — and I think my kids will love them.

Yehi Ratzon milfanecha ….she’nirbeh ze’chu’yot k’rimon (May it be Your will… that our merits increase like the seeds of a pomegranate)

Gummy Fish

Fish Heads

Bless you if you can dig into a real fish head. I just can’t stomach it. Instead, we adopted the “tradition” of a dear friend: We buy fish gummy candies and the kids relish biting the heads off! Silly, yes, but it’s the best I can do!

Yehi Ratzon milfanecha ….she’ni’hiyeh l’rosh v’lo l’zanav (May it be Your will… that we be as the head and not as the tail)



I was planning to make my honey mustard salmon, since it’s always a favorite for my kids. But now I’m toying with the idea of making salmon balls with homemade mayo instead, since I think they would be more tapas-like.

Yehi Ratzon milfanecha ….she’nif’reh v’nir’beh ki’dagim (May it be Your will… that we be fruitful and multiply like fish)


Medjool Date Power BallsPhoto Credit


I’m actually contemplating making something dairy, like these Medjool Date poppers (with veggie chorizo), since our “meal” is going to otherwise be pareve. But I’ll probably default to making these date balls for desserts instead.

Yehi Ratzon milfanecha ….she’yitamu son’ainu (May it be Your will… that our enemies be consumed)

What do you think about my tapas-style “menu plan”? Do you have a simanim seder at your Rosh Hashana meal(s)?

Anyone else out there prefer a lighter, non-meat meal — at least once during yomtov?

What are your unique and special Rosh Hashana family traditions? I can’t wait to hear about them!  

*I know that most people eat their simanim the first night, but since some also have the custom of doing it the second night as well, we’re going for it! We’ll be out at friends the first night, so this special tapas bar/siman seder will be for family-only on the second night.

Need more Rosh Hashana menu planning inspiration? You might find what you’re looking for in one of these posts:

Delicious Rosh Hashana Side Dishes

Delicious Rosh Hashana Side Dishes

36 Apple Recipes for Rosh Hashana Collage36 Delicious Apple Recipes

Working on your round challot? Don’t forget about my easy peasy tutorial to weave a gorgeous four strand challah into the perfect round shape!


  1. Hmm… if you didn’t eat three or four heavy meals in the course of the two days of RH, would you be excused from fasting on Tzom Gedaliah?

  2. Barbara WEisblatt says

    put me on your newsletter

  3. Judith Ginsberg says

    trying to get inspired and this really helped, what a wonderful idea instead of eating too much two nights in a row

  4. Hi Mara! I can’t believe I’ve never signed up a! Looks yummy! Leshana tova!

  5. Maya Douglen says

    We do face cookies for heads.

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