Not all Jewish food is the heavy, hearty fare meant to sustain Eastern European ancestors through dark, cold winters. But Jews, of course, don't come from just Eastern Europe--many come from hot-weather climates and have a culinary canon that suits the heat. Here are some of the best Jewish foods to indulge in when the temperature soars.
The grande dame of Ashkenazi-favored soups, borscht is flexible: It can be served hot or cold; made with cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, celery root or potatoes; cooked with meat or without. To many, beets, which give the soup its characteristic reddish-pink color, are essential, though there are versions that forego the root vegetable. Although historically eaten as a warming winter soup, the cold soup version with a dollop of sour cream remains an iconic Ashkenazi food--and, with its bright color, it's Instagram-worthy enough for millennials.
Ubiquitous in the Middle East, this salad of finely chopped raw tomato, cucumber and onion is a refreshing option for scorching days. The classic combination can be jazzed up with bell peppers, herbs, lemon juice or olive oil and is served as a side salad, an accompaniment to falafel or shawarma, or part of a traditional Israeli breakfast.
Composed of parsley, bulgur, tomato, mint and onion--and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice--tabbouleh, generally served at room temperature, is supremely suited for the sweltering summer season. Originating in the Arab world, tabbouleh has caught on both in Israel and in the United States. Most recipes don't deviate too far from the standard, but it can be modernized by swapping out the bulgur for everyone's favorite superfood, quinoa.
The small but mighty chickpea (or garbanzo bean) is a key...