Four Favorite Classic Jewish Recipes Made Vegan

November 14th, 2021

RACHEL HERSHKOVITZ

DAY 1 OF A FIVE-PART SERIES: VEGAN JEWISH RECIPES CREATED FOR SHAMAYIM

Jewish people are a resourceful bunch.

As a diaspora people, we’re responsible for cuisine about as geographically and texturally varied as the Talmud is long. 

We adapt to new landscapes and draw inspiration from local cultures, or make do with what limited resources we have—all while working around our many dietary restrictions. 

But in spite of this vast history, each of us has our favorite dishes that we most closely associate with our Jewish identity. These are my favorites, but with a vegan twist.

Hi, my name is Rachel Hershkovitz and I create plant-based recipes and post them to Instagram @soy.gevalt.

Let me tell you a little bit about my vegan story…

I first went vegetarian in high school, following my mom’s footsteps after seeing factory farm footage. 

She always taught me that animals deserve to live free from pain, just as we do. 

I learned later about vegan living and agreed with its philosophy: if the goal is ending exploitation and cruelty to animals, why stop at ditching meat? 

I had a little trouble matching my diet to my ideals, however. But after a few failed attempts, I encountered some lasting inspiration while visiting Jerusalem four years ago. 
Spending time in a Yeshiva, I got to eat Rosh Hashanah dinner one night with an orthodox family who happened to be vegan, and unlike any stereotypes of vegans, they appeared to love and appreciate food more intensely than anyone I’d met!

From date honey with apples to salads with pomegranates, this family explained that every dish had some connection to the holiday and to the land itself. 

I learned that vegan cuisine isn’t defined by “lack” of anything. In many cases, it’s more vibrant and varied than animal foods! 

In creating these four recipes for Shamayim, I wanted to capture this same enthusiasm for plants this family inspired me to share and elevate the fare I miss most as a Jewish vegan. 

Here’s what’s coming up this week:

  • Smoked Parsnip “Whitefish” Salad 
  • Potato and Mushroom Kreplach 
  • Silken Tofu Shakshuka 
  • Pumpkin Spice Babka

I leaned into each vegan adjustment, celebrating vegetables and playing up complementary spices.

And in doing just that, I hope to honor who we are as people, too: creative, resourceful, and dynamic. 

Tune in tomorrow for our first recipe!

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