A Time for Celebration after Periods of Mourning
Light the bonfire, it’s time for Lag B’Omer! This minor holiday is observed in the Jewish community on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar (May 8th, 2023). Lag B’Omer, also spelled Lag BaOmer or Lag LaOmer, is a festive day that marks a break in the mourning period of the Omer, the time between Passover and Shavout.
What is Lag B’Omer?
The origins of Lag B'Omer can be traced back to ancient times. According to Jewish tradition, during the Omer period, a plague swept through the students of Rabbi Akiva, a famous Jewish scholar. It is believed that this plague was a punishment from God for their lack of respect towards one another. On Lag B'Omer, the plague came to an end, and the students of Rabbi Akiva were saved.
Lag B'Omer is celebrated in various ways by different Jewish communities around the world. Many communities hold processions, picnics, and other outdoor celebrations on this day. One of the most popular traditions is to light bonfires. The bonfires are meant to symbolize the light and wisdom that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai brought to the world through his teachings. Another popular Lag B'Omer custom is for children to play with bows and arrows, a tradition that is said to have originated with Rabbi Akiva's students who were known for their skill with the bow and arrow.
There are not specific foods associated with the celebration of Lag B’Omer, unlike other Jewish holidays. Different traditional meals vary from community to community. In Israel, it is common to eat grilled meat, particularly lamb, on Lag B'Omer. This tradition is said to have originated with the celebration of the end of the plague that affected the students of Rabbi Akiva, as they were once again able to enjoy eating meat after having abstained from it during their mourning period. Grilled meats and other picnic or barbecue foods are a fantastic way to make this year the most memorable observance of Lag B’Omer yet!
Grilled Lamb Pizza
Ready for something unexpected and crazy delicious? This surprisingly simple twist on a classic pizza is fancy without a fuss.
-1 Dare to Be Different Cauliflower Crust
-1 ½ lbs ground lamb
-Salt and pepper
-2 large cloves garlic, minced
-2 medium yellow onions
-3 tablespoons dairy-free butter
-1 large container arugula
- Slice your onions thinly. Add to a large, heavy-bottomed, wide pot. Melt the dairy-free butter, then add 1/3 of the onions and cook, stirring a bit, for 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Continue cooking, stirring every few minutes to avoid burning the onions, for 30-40 minutes, until the onions are a nice caramel shade. If they're browning around the edges or sticking as you go, reduce your heat a bit. Add a splash of water every now and then to keep the pan from becoming too dry, which would prevent the onions from caramelizing.
- While the onions are caramelizing, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add the ground lamb, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking, stirring to break up the meat, until cooked through. Drain the grease from the meat.
- Cook the Dare to Be Different Cauliflower Crusts according to the package instructions. Brush the crust with a bit of olive oil, then add caramelized onions and some of the lamb meat. Grill over medium low heat for a few minutes, until the edges are slightly browned.
- Finish the pizzas with the arugula tossed in olive oil and add a drizzle of honey.
Gnocchi Pesto Pasta Salad
What’s a picnic without a pasta salad? Cauliflower Gnocchi from Dare to Be Different is a great way to tweak this recipe from Katie Lee Biegel to make sure everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions, can enjoy a tasty pasta salad.
-1 package Dare to Be Different Cauliflower Gnocchi
-1 cup cut green beans
-1 cup frozen peas
-1 7-ounce prepared container of pesto
-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
-2 tablespoons grated parmesan
-Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt. Add the gnocchi and cook for 1 minute less than the package directions, or just until the gnocchi begins to rise to the top. Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi to a colander.
- Put the pot back on the heat and return the water to a boil. Add the green beans and peas and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and let cool.
- Combine the pesto and mayo in a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan and the cooled beans and peas. Season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in the gnocchi. Garnish with more Parmesan, if desired.