Apple Pomegranate Charoses Salad
Though it’s down to the wire, and most menus are written up, I created this recipe erev Shabbos and had to share it with you. As I am writing this recipe, my family is enjoying the salad (and so am I!). The consensus is absolutely unanimous: the salad is truly delicious (and nutritious)!
While the sweet charoses at the Seder tempers the bitterness of the marror, just as the sweet of life tempers the difficult times, we are not supposed to eat too much of it. And yet, it’s so yummy, we always want just a little bit more…. So I thought, why not create a Charoses Salad that mimics the flavors of charoses but can be served at any yom tov meal, as a beautiful side dish?
In addition, the salad was created with foods that are symbolic of different inyanim related to Chag Ha’Pesach.
The apples and apple juice in the salad remind us of the emunah (faith) of the Bnos Yisrael, the Jewish women, who never gave up, even in the darkest times of the Egyptian enslavement. They had the fortitude, foresight, and courage to be with their husbands and continue on, creating the future generations of Kneses Yisrael. As the verse says of the Jewish women vis-a-vis their husbands: תַּחַת הַתַּפּוּחַ, עוֹרַרְתִּיךָ – Under the apple tree I awakened you (Shir Ha’Shirim 8:5). In hiding from the Egyptians, the women would conceive and then, there, they would birth under the apple trees. (For more on this beautiful pshat, see Shemos 38:8 with Rashi there).
The red wine in the salad reminds of the Jewish blood shed in Pharaonic Egypt (see Shemos 2:23 w/ Rashi there: Chazal teach that Pharaoh would slaughter Jewish babies and bathe in their blood), for we are commanded to always remember the past and what the enemy does to us. And yet, paradoxically, the sweetness in the wine reminds us that life is never entirely bitter, and the wine itself symbolizes our freedom; for the slave does not have wine to drink.
The celery reminds of us karpas, the morsel of vegetable we dip in salty water, to recall the tears of the Israelite slaves: וַיֵּאָנְחוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל מִן-הָעֲבֹדָה, וַיִּזְעָקוּ – And the Children of Israel groaned from the work, and they cried out (Shemos 2:23).
And finally, the honey, dates and pomegranate seeds – fruits of the Shivas ha’Minim (the 7 species of the Land of Israel, see Devarim 8:8) – remind us of the fifth lashon of geula, for which we pour the cup of Eliyahu ha’navi zachur la’tov: וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נָשָׂאתִי אֶת-יָדִי, לָתֵת אֹתָהּ לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב – And I will bring you to the Land that I swore to give it to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov (Shemos 6:8). For our Land is a wondrous, blessed land, אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר-הִוא זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ – A Land that is flowing with milk and honey (Bamidbar 14:8).
So, without further ado, here is the recipe for an easy to make (always a requirement), healthy but fabulous (also a must for my recipes), fun to create, serve and eat:
Apple Pomegranate Charoses Salad
2 Gala apples – peeled and diced
2 Granny Smith apples – peeled and diced
Toss diced apples with 2 Tbsp. lemon juice.
To the apples, add:
2 stalks celery, chopped
2/3 c. pomegranate seeds
1/3 c. generous chopped raw pecans or walnuts (do not substitute a hard nut, such as almonds)
1/2 c. generous chopped, pitted dates.
Dress the salad with: 3 Tbsp sweet pink wine, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbsp. apple juice, 2 Tbsp. honey.
Mix all together. Serve and enjoy!!
It would be a nice idea to serve the salad and to discuss with those around the table – כדי שישאלו התינוקות, so that the children will ask – what the different foods symbolize in relation to the Chag.
Keep in mind this is a great salad for any time of the year!
Wishing you, your families, your friends, and all of Klal Yisrael a most meaningful, uplifting, peaceful, nachas-filled and redeeming Chag kasher v’samayach!