Count Your Blessings – Quinoa Pomegranate Salad

The Holiday of Sukkos is called Zman Simchoseinu – The Time of Rejoicing.  We are commanded to rejoice for eight days, and to do it outside, open to elements. For the duration of this holiday, eight days, we dwell in the sukkah – a booth, or tent, erected outside. Some people actually sleep in the sukkah, but we only eat there. On the photo, you can see a miniature model of a sukkah, made for my husband by a Russian artist Eduard Kryman. It actually serves as a case to carry an Esrog (a ritual citron), which constitutes an important part of the observance. There is no roof other than palm branches which leaves us open to the elements the way we were during the forty years of wondering in the dessert.

sukot

To complete the set, we also need a lulav, which is a tall and straight palm branch tied together with some myrtle and willow branches. Together, the lulav and esrog are called The Four Species, and each one of the four has a special significance. Palm–because it is written (Psalms 92:13): ‘The righteous bloom like a date palm.’ Myrtle–because it is written (Zechariah 1:8): ‘And he stood among the myrtle-trees.’  Willow–because it is written (Psalms 68:5): ‘Extol Him who rides on the clouds [aravot], the Lord is His name.’ Esrog, otherwise called “the beautiful fruit,” or “the fruit of a goodly tree,” alludes to (Psalms 104: 1): ‘You are clothed in glory and majesty.’ (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/).

However, there is a much simpler, down to earth explanation of the Four Species symbolism. On a very basic level, they bind together the four types of people:

  • The lulav (palm) has taste but no smell, symbolizing those who study Torah but do not possess good deeds.
  • The hadass (myrtle) has a good smell but no taste, symbolizing those who possess good deeds but do not study Torah.
  • The aravah (willow) has neither taste nor smell, symbolizing those who lack both Torah and good deeds.
  • The esrog has both a good taste and a good smell, symbolizing those who have both Torah and good deeds.

Every day of Sukkos, we wave them in all directions, to affirm our belief in the Master of the Universe. We rejoice because we have complete faith that during the ten days of Awe, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we have been judged favorably, and we are looking forward to a sweet year full of blessings.

Before I get to the recipe, I want to stress two important factors:

  1. When we dwell in a sukkah, we are not only fulfilling one of the commandments, we are actually surrounded by it.
  2. During the entire Sukkos, we extend special blessings to all the people of the world.

pomegranate-heart-health-benefits

It is believed that a pomegranate contains 613 seeds, equal to the number of commandments. Kids are usually encouraged to count them, but I haven’t yet met a child who has been able to count all 613. Still, pomegranate is traditional both as sukkah decoration and as part of the food.

Qna Pom sld 3.jpg

For this salad, I have added yet another symbolic touch – yellow lentils. According to the description of the High Priest’s garments, his robe was decorated on the bottom by alternating pomegranates and golden bells. I wanted to achieve this effect, using the quinoa base as a canvas.

Qna Pom sld 1.jpg

Garlic is there for a little zing – a personality, if you will, and mint for freshness. I think , I’ve covered all bases, and all we need is seasoning.

Qna Pom sld 2.jpg

Playing it by ear, I dressed it with lemon juice and olive oil and seasoned with my favorite combination of cinnamon and cumin, as well as salt and freshly ground pepper.

qna-pom-sld

As we still have a few days of the holiday left, I am taking this opportunity to send my blessings to all of you, Beautiful People, for a sweet and wonderful year, full of joy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked)
  • 1 cup cooked yellow lentils (1/2 cup uncooked)
  • Seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, squeezed
  • A pinch of cumin
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE

Mix all ingredients and count your blessings – enjoy!

 

35 Comments Add yours

  1. Sounds delicious 😋. Thank you the cultural lesson as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, darling!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You deserve them! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Blushing all over the internet…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. spearfruit says:

    Great story and great looking recipe Dolly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Gary.

      Like

  3. A_Boleyn says:

    Thank you for sharing the cultural traditions and culinary basis of this meal. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. purpleslob says:

    Dolly, I love learning from you!! Is there a common name for the esrog? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one.
    On a different topic, what recipes do you have for persimmons??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, my favorite purple person!
      Esrog is an oversized lemon, with extremely thick skin and extremely bitter pith, but an incredible smell. It’s otherwize called citron, and you won’t find it anywhere, as it is only sold before this holiday in Jewish stores or by order. There is no other use for it.
      As to persimmons, I hate them with a passion, sorry to say!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. purpleslob says:

        Oh ok, that explains why I’ve never heard of esrog before!! I don’t like them either, and can’t find anyone who does!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There are inventive people who try to make esrog jam, but to me it’s still bitter.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Amaizing and delicious idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling, for a lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When I was in primary school, we would sometimes spend our bus fare on pomegranates and eat the seeds with a pin as we walked home. Thanks for the memory 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing, Derrick!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds great, looks much more greater. Thank you for the religious information too. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Michael! Your comments are always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much Dr. Dolly! Your recipes and also the history lessions are unique great. Best wishes, Michael

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Michael! Many blessings to you!

        Like

  8. randyjw says:

    Nice post, Dolly! Hope you’re having a happy holiday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hot and exhausting, but very happy, B”H. Many Brohot to you, dear Rachel!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. randyjw says:

        Thank you, Dolly; and the same to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Exotic! Oh Yes! What a superb dish!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, darling!

      Like

  10. kelleysdiy says:

    I love pomegranates! Thank you for sharing these recipes!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a profound lesson! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Anna, and many blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Outosego says:

    __

    Wonderful ! Thank you, dear !

    Flipped to the Delicious Bloggers Magazine : http://flip.it/W1VJFm

    __ I wish you are doing great.

    __

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Tali says:

    This salad sounds very Persian style with your choice of ingredients and flavors, except for the quinoa. I’m sure it tastes wonderful. Chag Sameach to you!

    Like

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, dear Tali! Chag Sameach to you and yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: • Esme Salon

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