Pre-Tisha B’Av Dairy Dishes From “The Silver Platter”

While the seuda hamafsekes (the final meal before the fast begins) consists of a piece of bread and an egg, eaten on the floor, a more substantial meal should be eaten first. Spaghetti squash, veggies and quinoa are delicious and healthy foods to load up on before the twenty-five hour fast.


dairy, Passover option, gluten-free option, freezes well, yields about 18

These delicious cheese balls are packed with flavor (and iron-rich greens, too!) and pair with just about everything. A cheesy alternative to toast, serve these with eggs for breakfast. They also make a hearty addition to tossed salads at lunch and are a delicious side dish for fish dinners.


1 (10 oz/300 g) pkg frozen spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed dry (see Norene’s Notes, below)
⅓ cup melted butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 eggs
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup unseasoned panko crumbs (gluten-free or regular)


Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine spinach with butter, onion, eggs, cheeses, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and panko. Mix well.

Roll mixture into 1½-inch balls; place onto prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, while oven is preheating.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and piping hot. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Norene’s Notes:

Thaw with Ease: A quick way to thaw frozen spinach is to microwave it in a glass bowl, covered, on high power, for 3 minutes.

Variation: Instead of mozzarella, use Swiss or Cheddar cheese. If you like these gooier, then double up on the grated cheese.

Passover Option: Use Passover panko, matzo meal, or cracker crumbs.

Freeze with Ease: Mix and shape in advance, then freeze in a single layer. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag. When needed, bake frozen, adding 3-4 minutes to the baking time.


dairy, Passover, gluten-free, do not freeze, yields 12 servings.

Sometimes you need a little “fun” in the kitchen. These little individual quinoa pizzas are the perfect dish to serve to your kids or company. Packed with nutrients and veggies!


3 cups lightly salted water
1½ cups white or red quinoa

1 jar (24 oz) marinara sauce (about 3 cups)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups pizza toppings (e.g., chopped mushrooms, bell peppers, onions)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish


Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add quinoa; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; let stand for 10 minutes, covered. Fluff quinoa with a fork. Transfer to a large serving bowl; let cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 8 medium ovenproof ramekins with nonstick cooking spray; place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Spread about 2 Tbsp marinara sauce into each ramekin. Spoon about ¼ cup cooked quinoa into each ramekin; spread evenly. Top with veggies and mozzarella cheese. Repeat once more, ending with cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Remove from oven; sprinkle with Parmesan and green onions.

Norene’s Notes:

No Ramekins? Layer ingredients in a 7 x 11-inch baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray, as directed above. Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Spoon onto individual serving plates.


dairy, gluten-free, do not freeeze, yields 6-8 servings

I created this simple roasted squash dish for Shavuot — it’s divine. As the sugars in the squash begin to caramelize, the oils in the warm pecans and salty feta cheese become perfect flavor counterpoints. Great for Chanukah as well.


1 butternut squash (about 3 lb/1.4 kg), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1½ cups pecan halves
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 cup crumbled feta cheese



Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread squash and pecans on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and maple syrup; toss to combine.

Bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes, or until squash is tender-crisp and pecans are a deep amber color.

Transfer to a serving platter; sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Norene’s Notes:

Microwave Magic: For easier cutting, slash squash in several places with a sharp knife. Place on a paper towel or plate; microwave on high for 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut squash in half at the neck, making two pieces: a round ball and an elongated piece. Cut the round bottom part in half; use an ice cream scoop to scoop out and discard seeds and stringy fiber. Peel both halves of the squash and cut it into chunks.


dairy, Passover, gluten-free, yields 6 servings

A simple comfort-food dish that’s layered with creamy mozzarella, Cheddar, and Parmesan, it’s easy to forget there’s actually no pasta in this lasagna at all! This is a great dairy-based dish to serve for company, yet is easy enough for weeknight suppers. Perfect for Passover!


1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 lb/1.4 kg)
2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
¼ lb/125 g mozzarella cheese, sliced
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds and pulp. Place squash, cut-side down, on prepared baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes, until tender.

Coat the bottom and sides of a 10-inch round glass or ceramic quiche dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Use a fork to separate squash strands. Place a layer of squash strands into prepared baking dish. Spoon on 1 cup of marinara sauce. Sprinkle with half the spinach and half the cheeses. Repeat with a second layer, ending with cheeses.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, until piping hot. Uncover; bake an additional 10 minutes, until golden.

Norene’s Notes:

Using your Noodle: For short strands, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. For long strands, cut it into 1-inch rings. Discard seeds and pulp. Place on baking sheet and bake, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes, until tender. Separate squash strands with a fork.

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