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For Immediate Release: September 20, 2011
Contact: Mya Nelson, m.nelson@aicr.org, 202-328-7744 x3047

Experts Offer Healthy Twists on Rosh Hashanah Favorites


You don't need to take a holiday from health when you celebrate special events with traditional rich foods, experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) said today.

For example, many traditional dishes for the upcoming Jewish high holy days already include colorful cancer-fighting foods. With just a few adjustments, you can turn a holiday plate into a delicious, healthful feast. The experts noted that a meal chock-full of carrots, pomegranates and seasonal vegetables (accompanied by a small portion of meat) mimics AICR's New American Plate, a plant-based, cancer-protective way of eating.

Healthy and Flavorful Traditions

This year, AICR teamed up with New York City based registered dietitian Pnina Mohr to develop tasty, healthier versions of favorite Rosh Hashanah foods. "Many of my patients want to celebrate with traditional foods and are looking for solutions to help them stay on a healthy path during the holidays," said Mohr.

Mohr reworked traditional family favorite recipes with seasonal ingredients so they conform to AICR's recommendations for cancer prevention and the New American Plate way of eating.

Foods eaten on the evening of the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah – symbolize sweetness, blessings and abundance. Apple Noodle Kugel is a sweet or savory pudding that originated with Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe. This recipe includes whole-wheat noodles, a generous portion of apples and less sugar and fat than many traditional recipes. This dish is a sweet apple pudding containing no meat or milk (parve), according to Mohr.

Redesigned Recipes Reflect Holiday Customs

Caramelized Carrot and Orange Squash is based on Tzimmes, a side dish sometimes cooked with meat. The Yiddish word for carrots is "merren" which also means more – more children, more knowledge, giving more and performing more good deeds. In this redesign, its sweetness comes from roasting the vegetables, the dried fruits and a small amount of date syrup or dark honey.

Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad is a delicious dish for those who need gluten-free options. Pomegranate is a typical "new fruit" eaten on the holiday.

While these dishes are are a part of the Jewish tradition, they are a great addition to anyone's diet. Orange, red and other colors mean these dishes are rich in health promoting phytochemicals (plant chemicals), many of which show cancer-fighting abilities in lab studies. Beyond the health benefits, they are delicious.

According to Alice Bender, AICR's registered dietitian, "Our tasting panel was enthusiastic about every one of these recipes and we are pleased to be able to offer these healthier alternatives."

Mohr will be demonstrating these delicious recipes at the Columbus Circle Williams-Sonoma store in New York City on September 25 from 3:00 5:00 pm.

The recipes are also featured in this week's AICR's Health-e-Recipe, sent out to thousands of Americans.

You can find all three recipes and sign up for the weekly email at www.aicr.org.

Caramelized Carrots and Orange Squash

  • Caramelized Carrots and Orange Squash1/2 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup apple juice
  • 2 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally, 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, and cubed, 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 small acorn squash (about 1 lb), seeds removed, peeled, cubed, 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbsp. light olive oil
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. date syrup/honey (or dark honey)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup apricot halves cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Soak raisins in apple juice.

Line large baking sheet with two sheets of parchment paper.

In large bowl, mix vegetables, oil, syrup, cinnamon and add salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture on baking pan.

Bake until carrots (the longest to bake) are just soft then add raisins and apricots. Bake about 10 minutes longer, until carrots are soft enough for fork to prick through. Serve immediately or, if refrigerating for several hours or more, pour 1/3 cup apple juice over vegetables to keep moist before reheating.

Makes 10 servings.

Per serving: 188 calories, 4 g total fat (<1g saturated fat), 39 g carbohydrate,
3 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 70 mg sodium.



The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $95 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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